One of the strangest stories in the Old Testament is about a witch, a king, and a ghost. Saul was the king of Israel when this event occurred. He began his reign as a good king but steadily became more impatient and more headstrong as time went by. God rejected him as king eventually because he refused to follow His Will.
Just before his last battle, Saul was so anxious that he went to a witch, a medium, to seek advice from the prophet Samuel who had already died. This was strictly against God’s laws. The medium successfully called Samuel from the dead. I don’t think she was actually capable of doing this normally. Witches and mediums are frauds who use parlor tricks and observation to make their predictions seem supernatural.
God allowed Samuel to speak to Saul in this instance from beyond the grave. Saul wanted to know how the battle would go the next day. God had always used Samuel to give Saul guidance. With Samuel gone and Saul’s relationship with God fractured, he didn’t know what to do. Samuel’s counsel did nothing to ease Saul’s mind. Samuel told Saul that he would die in the battle the next day. This is exactly what happened. Saul was killed and David became king in his place.
Saul didn’t have enough faith to wait on or follow God. Saul wanted to take everything into his own hands, to manipulate events and circumstances to his own advantage rather than allowing God to work out His will in His own way.
I know I do this too. I am impatient with God often. When things don’t happen the way I think they should, it’s frustrating and tempting to do things my own way rather than waiting on God’s plan to unfold.
We are not to sit around waiting for God to do everything for us. He expects us to be responsible for ourselves and He expects us to work hard to provide for ourselves. He wants us to plan for our future so we can be secure in our retirement.
We are not to be so anxious about the future, though, that we don’t rely on His provenance and grace. Saul’s mistake was not trusting God. He did not have enough faith to obey God’s clear guidance for life.
God wants us to trust that His way is best for our lives and to follow Him. There are times we will not understand God’s plan. We will wonder why certain things are happening to us. Our response is to trust God during those times we just can’t understand His ways. God loves us and is always on our side. We can trust that He will always work out what is best for us even if we don’t completely understand Him.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]