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.
1 Samuel 28:5-6
Lord God, I pray in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, that you would use me as a tool to share the message you would have for us this day. I ask that you give us insight into your word and that you be glorified above all things.
I read this passage and my thoughts automatically began to bounce all over the place, but I’m trying for sound, linear, cohesiveness here. Pray for a miracle (I think I’m beginning to understand why many pastors have a three point sermon, it keeps them on track).
There are two possible ways I could go with this scripture; Saul’s fear and God’s refusal to answer. But I’m sure if I dig deeper we’ll find that both possibilities really lead back to one thing: Saul’s disobedience to God. 1 Sam 15
I have a tendency to try to go deep and end up rabbit trailing. This time I’m going for simple.
Saul inquired of the Lord. He obviously asked God to answer him through dreams. When that didn’t work he decided to cast lots (Urim), and when that didn’t work he turned to the prophets. When all of those things failed to work, Saul went against his own standards and sought out a medium. Something to note here, Saul had previously banded all mediums from Israel, but Saul disguised himself and requested the woman speak to the prophet Samuel who had died.
Saul was afraid. His fear caused him to think unclearly. He wanted an answer and he wanted it the way he wanted it and when he wanted it.
You might wonder why God refused to answer Saul. For that answer we need to go back to the beginning of 1 Samuel 15.
“Thus said the Lord of Hosts: I am exacting the penalty for what Amalek did to Israel, for the assault he made upon them on the road, on their way up from Egypt. Now go, attack Amalek, and destroy all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
It’s a straight forward command from the Lord to the first King of Israel. And you might think that Saul did not have the stomach for such violence, but that was not the case. Saul chose to destroy the people of Amalek. All that is but their king Agag. And to add insult to injury, Saul and his men “spared the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs–everything that was good.”
I will not pretend to understand the reasons why God would ask Saul to destroy all, even the infants and sucklings, as a mother it makes me sad. What I do know is, God had his reasons and he told Moses back in Exodus 17 to “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
It was shortly after this that God told Samuel He regretted making Saul king. From what I see, Saul had his eyes on the Lord, and then he was anointed King of Israel. Saul no longer cared about God. After reading the rest of Saul’s history it is obvious he only cared about instant gratification, and when that could not be found he often suffered from fits of rage. Not once, at least as far as I recall, did Saul humble himself before God and ask forgiveness.
It should have been no surprise when God had abandoned Saul, especially when Saul had long before turned from God.
Not surprisingly, I found a bit of familiarity within the passages. There are times when I make requests of God, in my impatience, I’ll ask for them to come in dreams when the answers don’t seem immediately evident, and then I seek out counsel (I’ve learned over the years to seek wise counsel), and yes, I’ve even casted lots. Not that those things are wrong. God often has and still does speak to His people through dreams. Casting of lots was something set up during the time of Moses and maybe even earlier. Seeking counsel has never been wrong when it is sought from a Godly source, but we should remember that all men are fallible, only God is infallible.
So, if you’re inquiring of the Lord and it doesn’t seem as if He is answering just keep waiting.