1 Samuel 28: Out of Bounds

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” -1 Samuel 28:3-7

When all else fails…? We generally fill in the blank with “the tough get going.” In other words, the cultural idea is that the tough get tougher. Spiritually, this certainly true when it comes to prayer. When prayer doesn’t seem to work, we are called to pray anyway. We don’t quit.

King Saul discovered the hard way the problems that can arise when you give up on prayer. When God did not respond as quickly or in the way that he wished, he chose to consult with his day’s equivalent of a fortune teller. He hoped her insights would provide an answer to what he should do during the upcoming military battle with the Philistines. Instead, God intervened, really sent Samuel to confront Saul, and gave him an answer he didn’t like.

In the end, history records Saul as a king gone bad. He had been anointed by God as king through the prophet and judge Samuel. He had the physical qualities of a great leader.

But he didn’t last spiritually.

He went “out of bounds” as they would call it in football. You can run any direction you like with a football during a play as long as you stay on the field. The moment you step out of bounds, the play is over. The same was true for Saul. Once he left prayer and resorted to consulting spirits, he had already lost.

God calls us to pursue him, not spirits. We are called to pray, not participate in fortune telling. Only then can we expect God to answer, in his time, right on time, just on time.

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Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.


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