During his 40 year reign as king over Israel, King Saul had removed (killed) all the witches and wizards throughout the land (I Samuel 28:3). He also removed anyone that dealt with “familiar spirits”.
But Saul had a dilemma. At the end of his life, the Philistines invaded the land and were ready for battle. Saul’s army was vastly outnumbered. By all appearances, there was no way that Saul even stood a chance against the massive numbers of the Philistines gathered against them.
Saul compromised himself against his Lord. You see, Saul prayed but found that God didn’t answer. In his desperation, and not wanting to find out why God didn’t answer, he asked his leaders to find him a “woman with a familiar spirit.” This was a complete reversal of his previous policy. He didn’t even think to ask if another prophet were around. Surprisingly, they knew where to find such a woman.
Saul went in disguised to the witch at night. He asked her to contact Samuel the prophet, who was dead. Through her crystal ball (or similar instrument), she contacted Samuel. When the real Samuel appeared (I Samuel 28:12), the woman was completely shocked. She knew this wasn’t her familiar spirit – a demon. Instead, God permitted Samuel, though a spirit, to once again tell Saul it’ll be over within 24 hours.
While alive, Samuel had prophesied that the kingdom was taken away from Saul; that is, that God saw him as no longer worthy to reign over God’s people. He was still permitted to be king for a time, but now Samuel announces that it will be over shortly and Saul will be dead: “Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines” (I Samuel 28:19). Out of fear of Saul, who was trying to find and kill him, King David had been living among the Philistines. He had befriended a local king named Achish, and was not in a position where he could or would help Saul. As prophesied, Saul died that next day by falling on his own sword.
1 Samuel 31:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. 31:2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons. 31:3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. 31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 31:5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 31:6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
God’s Plain Plan for His People
In looking at this Biblical event, I need to emphasize that God completely forbade His people from having any contact with witches, any form of witchcraft, and anything to do with Satan’s devices. Among the details, contact with the dead (necromancy) was also completely forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:11).
Because God was zealous for His people and wanted to bless them, He forbade them from contacting the enemy – Satan and his servants. Satan’s servants, idols, and other tools were to be destroyed so that the hearts of His people would be single toward God. His command was very clear: “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer” (Deuteronomy 18:10,11).
God’s Reason for a Clear Distinction
God’s purpose for their separation from Satan’s servants was simple. He wanted to bless His people immensely so that other nations would want to serve Him, too. But He was not going to bless a compromising congregation that thought they could serve God and devils, too. In the same passage above – Deut. 18, God tells Israel that the land became defiled by the previous inhabitants because of sin and serving idols, and engaging in whatever kind of sex they wanted: (vs. 24) “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you.”
God’s Plan Is the Same Today for His Children
Believers today have had the privilege of having “tasted” Christ, and they have found that He is nothing but good. Believers also know that they were once slaves to Satan and sin, and that he never really satisfied anything but the flesh. We know we have been delivered from those things we once used to relish. Now we can see that Satan only offers counterfeit riches, paste jewels, and fool’s gold. None of it will last into eternity!
God tells His children to stay away completely from Satan’s tools and attractions because they will only prevent Him from giving you His best plan. It’s true that His plan isn’t what may seem good to the world – but it will enable you to walk with the Creator and be blessed here and in eternity. Christians today need to realize that God wants to bless us more than we could ever want to be blessed. Sin and self-will prevent those blessings. Fraternizing with the known enemy of God in any way is foolish! Doing things God’s way always is best, and compromise prevents that blessing.
The Key to God’s Blessing
Here is a key to God’s blessing. It is found in Psalm 1:1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
This important key in these verses actually has two parts to it. First, there needs to be a distancing from those who do not follow the Lord. It is not total, because we are still to be witnesses to them. But the child of God should not be influenced by those of the world to follow worldly ways. How do worldly people influence Christians wrongly? Let me list some: worldly books – cheap novels, magazines, pornography, etc.; TV programs and movies that glorify Satan or demons and belittle preachers and Christians; false science – evolution; card games with demonic creatures and occult symbols; the Ouija board; TV personalities (no matter how rich they are) giving advice contrary to God’s Word, and many more. Let me also add movies that glorify witchcraft – think Harry Potter, etc.
Staying away from worldly people is not enough. The next two verses in Psalm 1are also important: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” They reveal that we must stay often in God’s Word if we are going to be blessed. It is our Guidebook, our truth, our armor, our source of faith, and much more.
Remember God’s Warning Against the Evil One
Remember too, that Satan is a liar. He is always a liar, and he hates God’s people. He also hates God, too, and if he can hurt God’s cause by getting Christians to compromise with known sin – you can be sure he will do it! When you do, he will also laugh at your powerlessness to defeat him, or to get real answers to prayer.
The Decision to Be Made
So, my friend Christian – Which side are you on? If you are a Christian, act like one, dress like one, go to church so your neighbors know which side you’re on, and refuse to serve Satan any longer! Also, you want to be sure that Satan and his horde of demons also knows where you stand. Remember what our Lord told us in Galatians 6:7: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Thank God that He gives us strength by His Spirit, and discernment from His Word! We know that no temptation is too strong – by His grace! When we sin – He is ever faithful to forgive us if we are willing to confess it and forsake it – I John 1:9. Let us go on, then, to please Him more perfectly.