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When a King Failed to Trust God

Key References: 1 Samuel 28:3-25; Patriarchs and Prophets, chaps. 66, 67, pp. 675-689; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 4, pp. 51-53; Our Beliefs, nos. 26, 7, 8

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“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again wll they have a part in anything that happens under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6).

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We worship God, who gives us the victory over Satan’s deceptions.

Have there ever been times in your life you were not sure what you should do? Where did you seek help? One thing for sure, it doesn’t help to talk to someone who has already died. The Bible tells us the dead don’t know anything.

Three cloaked figures strode silently across the plain of Jezreel. The moon lit their path as they climbed the mountain ridge to the place where the witch of Endor was in hiding.

She thought her hiding place was secure, yet these men had found her. As soon as she saw one of them, a tall, commanding figure, she knew that this was no ordinary soldier standing before her. “What do you want?” she asked.

“Consult a spirit for me,” the tall one said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

“Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” she asked.

“As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this,” King Saul said reassuringly.

“Whom shall I bring up for you?” asked the witch.

“Bring up Samuel,” the king replied.

When the woman saw the spirit that resembled in appearance the prophet Samuel, she recognized King Saul. “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” she exclaimed, greatly afraid.

“Don’t be afraid,” King Saul answered.

Then he asked the witch to describe to him the appearance of the spirit she had seen.

The witch gave an accurate description of prophet Samuel. The demon Satan had sent to impersonate Samuel looked like Samuel. He spoke like Samuel. His gestures even resembled those of the prophet.

“Why have you disturbed me?” the spirit asked.

“I am in great distress,” Saul answered.

“The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

“Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

As the words sank deep in Saul’s heart, he fell facedown on the damp floor. His attendants lifted him from the floor and tried to revitalize him. The woman urged him to eat but Saul refused.

Only after persistent and repeated calls from his servants did Saul stand up and agree to eat. The witch butchered a fatted calf, baked bread, and served the food to her guests. King Saul and his men left before daybreak (see 1 Samuel 28:3-25).

By consulting the witch of Endor, Saul sealed his doom. Rather than turn to God in humility and repentance, Saul made the choice to consult Satan. He had separated himself from God, his only source of strength. Now Saul could no longer inspire his troops with courage for the battle. He could no longer lead his men to look to God as their helper.

Imagine how different Saul’s royal dominion could have been if he would only have asked God for wisdom to rule His people, Israel, and to give him the victory over their enemies. Saul’s sad end is a powerful reminder of the consequences that follow our actions. God has created us with the freedom to choose between good and evil. Our choices today will determine our success or failure in life. Therefore, choose God, that you may experience happiness and peace already on this earth and someday soon in His heavenly kingdom.