April 4, 2007
I Samuel 28-31
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- And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.
- And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.
- Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
- And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
- And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.
- And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
- Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.
- And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
- And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
- And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
- Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
- And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
- And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
- And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
- And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
- Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
- And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
- Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.
- 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.
- Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.
- And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.
- Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
- But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.
- And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
- And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
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- Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.
- And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.
- Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?
- And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
- Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
- Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.
- Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.
- And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?
- And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
- Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.
- So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
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- And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
- And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
- So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
- Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
- And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
- And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
- And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
- And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.
- So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
- But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.
- And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water;
- And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.
- And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.
- We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
- And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.
- And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
- And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
- And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
- And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.
- And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil.
- And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.
- Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.
- Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.
- For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
- And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
- And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
- To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,
- And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,
- And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,
- And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chor-ashan, and to them which were in Athach,
- And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.
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- Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
- And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, Saul's sons.
- And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
- 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.
- And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
- So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
- And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
- And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
- And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people.
- And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.
- And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;
- All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.
- And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
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Thought for the day:
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I Samuel 28 reveals just how serious a mess Saul had gotten himself into. Because of his refusal to fully obey God earlier in his reign, God promised that the throne was going to be taken away from him. As he continually rebelled against God, the Lord slowly moved away from him. For the past several chapters Saul has foolishly been chasing after the wrong enemy. Rather than pursuing David, the one whom God had chosen to be king and the one who had never done Saul wrong, he should have been preparing to fight the real enemy, which was the Philistines. What good teaching there is here for us. First of all, whatever God promises, whether it be good or evil, is going to take place. Second, when we waste our time in the wrong areas, we weaken ourselves for service in the right areas. All the time and effort that Saul spent on David was time and effort that was unavailable for defeating the Philistines. We often forget who the real enemy is - Satan himself. I am not suggesting that we should compromise Biblical truth in order to get along with our brothers in Christ, but I would suggest that if we spent the time fighting the Devil that we spent fighting among ourselves, we would accomplish far more. Families are fussing at each other, church members are fussing at each other, and one church is fussing at another church. It's no wonder that Christianity seems to be losing the battle for the hearts and souls of men. The independent, fundamental, New Testament Baptist church down the street is not the enemy of my church. My saved spouse is not my enemy. My fellow church member is not my enemy. Satan is the enemy, and I must focus my energies on him.
Now Saul is in a difficult spot, and he needs God's help to get out of it. The problem is that God is no longer interested in helping Saul.
I Samuel 28:6 states,
"And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not."
See, God had been available to Saul early in his reign. God wanted to bless Saul, and give him and Israel great victories. But Saul was not interested in what God wanted.
James 4:8 reminds us,
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."
If I refuse to draw nigh, then why should He make the move? After all, He has done everything by creating me, sustaining me, and saving me. All He asks is for me to draw near.
Proverbs 1:24-30 shows the danger of refusing to draw near:
"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof."
Saul has been living this life for most of his time as king, and now God refuses to answer his prayers. What a warning for us! We dare not reject the leadership of God, for if we do, the day may come when His leadership is no longer available to us. The Bible tells us to
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near"(
This certainly implies that there can come a time when the Lord is no longer near, and can no longer be found. To avoid this disaster, we must seek and follow the Lord today.
One last comment is appropriate. Look how far Saul has sunk in his sin. Having thrown the fortune tellers and mediums out of Israel (which was the right thing to do), he now goes and consults with one. I'm sure he never dreamed that he would do this, yet his rejection of God's leadership has ultimately placed him in this foolish and ungodly position. Twenty-four hours later, he and his sons were dead, and Israel was defeated. Sin extracts a cruel penalty from those who play with it. Be careful.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery