1 Samuel 28-29 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine. And we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Turn in your Bibles to the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 28 tonight. And for those of you who are new to Wednesday night's-- most of your faces I recognize so you know this. But the church is founded on this midweek study. It's how we started about 40 years ago, in a little apartment complex and then a theater and then different buildings till we got to this thing, this place, and fixed it up and meet in it.
But it has been our aim to take the whole church through the whole Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, and to do it in a relaxed format, not typically a preaching format, or just a teaching format. And so the method is pretty straightforward. You read the chapters ahead of time that we're going to study. So presumably you've already read these two chapters that we're going to look at tonight, by God's grace, two chapters.
And then next week, your homework is the last two chapters of 1 Samuel, chapters 30 and 31. You then become familiar with the material. And then when we sit to write it like this is a church, you're familiar with it. You may have come with questions. You might have some of them answered. You might have some insights of your own that you'll share with others afterwards.
But that way we will eventually make it through all of the scripture, every book. And we've done that now in those 40 years. Some of us together have done it several times all the way through, verse by verse.
What we happened to be reading tonight is the Old Testament. After the Old Testament, book of 1 Samuel. Next time we're going to be in-- not next week, but the week after-- 1 Corinthians, chapter 1. We'll go take a New Testament book. But we are in a section of scripture that was the Bible at the time of Christ.
When Jesus was around and the Book of Acts was going on, they weren't reading 1 Corinthians or the Book of Romans. It wasn't out yet. But their Bible, their scripture, their manuscript was the Old Testament. And so when you wanted to look up and prove something or find out what God's will is, it was these sets of texts.
And the life of David that is highlighted in this book is of particular interest to those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ, who is given the title the Son of David because he was from that lineage. So we find it extremely interesting. At least, it is for me. I trust it is for you.
But we are in chapter 28. Now, the last four chapters of this book bring us to a battle scene between two superpowers in the Middle East, the nation of Israel and a group known as the Philistines, which we have noticed time and time again in this book. And I'm going to make reference to something that I shared with you, I believe, in our second or third study in 1 Samuel.
I gave you the origin of the Philistines. I know you know this. But just for the sake of refreshing your memory, the Philistines were a group of people that were from the west. They were from the Aegean Islands, the islands in the Aegean Sea, west of the Mediterranean, the area of Greece.
They then migrated into Asia Minor. And they decided to kind of look at and hopefully even take over other areas in the Mediterranean coastline. So they left Asia Minor. They went to Egypt. And Egypt, they discovered, was a more super power than even they were. So they had no luck in trying to take over Egypt.
Now, at first, the Philistines were a very peaceful group of people. But they turned more militaristic as time went on. And they just started invading places. So because they couldn't takeover Egypt-- that was a failure-- they moved up the Mediterranean coast to the southern part of Israel.
And as I told you before, and I know by now you know, they took over five cities where they had little city-state strongholds, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, Gaza, and Ekron. Those were the five cities of the Philistines. But at this time, the time that we are reading, they had penetrated far into Israel, further than ever before. They're way up north in the area of the southern Galilee, in the area of the Valley of Jezreel. And that's where these last four chapters take place, in this battle between the Philistines and the children of Israel.
The question is-- and you may not even ask the question, but students of history would ask the question-- what made the Philistines at this time think that they could move from the southern enclave that they had down toward Judah and move up deep into the land up in the north? And we can only guess, because we're not told why. But here's my guess. They knew that Saul's leadership was weak. They saw him as a weak leader, which he was.
They also knew that David's archenemy, which should have been the Philistines, if it wasn't, that his archenemy was actually his son-in-law and that he was hell bent on trying to exterminate the life of David. He would hunt him down. So they knew he was distracted.
So they saw that and saw this that this is the perfect time for us to invade and take over the entire land because Saul is a weak leader, and David, his son-in-law, has defected to the Philistine camp. That's where we left off last time. He goes over to Achish, the King of Gath, the Philistine stronghold, kind of turns himself in and says, I am your servant.
As much as David had done that, David wasn't really honest. He really was lying. He was he was playing the part of, yay, man, let me hang out in Philistine country. I love you guys. We're besties. And I'll serve you, and I'll do what you want me to do.
But all the while, he was given this whole city down south called Ziglag, which became Israelite territory later on when he becomes king. But he takes that little stronghold and goes out on a little raiding parties. And he tells Achish, the King of Gath, hey, I'm invading your enemies, the Israelites.
And so it's so far away he doesn't even check on him. He said, oh, good. Man, you're awesome, David. But David wasn't attacking the Israelites. He was attacking the Canaanites. And he was taking care of these little enemy tribes, that if he could just kind of quell them and take them over and douse any kind of uprising, when he would become the King of Israel, he wouldn't have to worry about them.
So he had quite a strategy going on. But he was not upright. He was lying. He was in enemy territory. And I don't think he should have been. After all, he's the guy who wrote so many great Psalms about trusting God. And he told Saul, I'm not going to touch the Lord's anointed. And yet he's afraid, so afraid that he goes into Philistine country. I don't think it was a great move.
Chapter 28, verse 1 says, "now, it happened. In those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for war to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David--" now, again, just a note of clarification, Achish is not a first name. It is a title. Just like when you read the name pharaoh, that wasn't his first name. Mom didn't call her son pharaoh. Pharaoh was the Egyptian title for ruler or king.
Achish was the Philistine name for a ruler. So whatever his name was, he was the Achish, the ruler, the leader of the Philistine stronghold. So when you read Achish, that's what we're talking about. So Achish, the king, Philistine king, said to David, "you assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men."
Now, David, I know you're an Israelite. And I know that Saul's your father-in-law. But we're ready to stage a war with him, and you probably already know that you're going to be in the army fighting against your father-in-law. We're going to battle. You know that.
And David said Achish, "surely you know what your servant can do." He's playing the part to the hilt. And Achish said to David, "therefore I will make you one of my chief guardians forever." David now is promoted to being one of the bodyguards of the Philistine king.
Now, he's in a pickle. He's in a corner. Because when he does go to battle against Saul, if that ever happens, he's going to be torn in his loyalties, right? Because he believed that he shouldn't touch Saul because Saul is the Lord's anointed. So he already refrained twice putting him to death when he had the chance.
In a battle, what will he do? I'm sure he's just acting the part, in hopes that something will happen. God will pull through so he won't have to make that tough choice, which is exactly what does happen. So he says, I'm going to make you one of my chief guardians forever.
Now, when David said to Achish, surely, you know what your servant can do, I see that as having two possible meanings. Meaning number one, well, you know what your servant can do to help you. Possible meaning number two, you know what your servant can do to double cross you. It could be that in the battle, I will turn against you, and I will thus bring victory to Israel. So either way you interpret it, David is-- his back is against the wall.
Now, that's how the chapter begins. But the scene now shifts to what is going on with the King of Israel, King Saul. Now, Samuel had died. We saw that in chapter 25. There was a one-verse statement about his death, an obituary that was one verse.
"Now, Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him." So that's past tense, buried him in Rama, in his own city. "And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land." So this was a good move. This was one of his better domestic policies, domestic affairs policies.
He put all of the mediums, all of the people that practice necromancy, that contacted the dead-- if you know your Bible, you know that in Exodus 22, Leviticus chapter 18-- I mean Deuteronomy chapter 18 and Leviticus 19, there are four different scriptures altogether in the law that forbade-- absolutely forbade-- reading of the stars, horoscopes, contacting the dead, searching with the spiritists or a medium for the future. And at one point, presumably when Saul was first the king and for those first few months when his heart was right with God, that he made this decision, all of these mediums are to be cast out of Israel. So he made that policy. It's setting you up for what happens.
"Then the Philistines gathered together and came and encamped at Shunem." This is way up north. "So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa." That is a mountain, Mount Gilboa. "When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly."
So many people that I have interacted with in my Christian experience who or unbelievers, they don't take the devil, they don't take Satan seriously. And when I say, well, Satan this or the devil this, they give you that smirk, like, oh, yeah, you're one of those people. You believe in an actual real entity called the devil because most people do not. They see it as it's fictitious. It's a symbol of evil, at best.
So they make fun of it. They make caricatures. There's even a balloon in the Balloon Fiesta, the red devil balloon. Interesting shape. But it's interesting that that is one of the shapes. It's also interesting that I got caught in wires the other day, just interesting thing that I noticed.
Caught in a snare. God gives take spiritism, demons, demonology, and especially Satan very seriously. Jesus confronted Satan directly. Dwight L. Moody said, I know the devil is real. I've done business with him on many occasion.
Saul put them out of the land. But now he, too, is going to take them seriously. By the way, we know this story. This is the story where Saul seeks advice from a witch, a witch at Endor. And you think, well that's an old practice. That doesn't really exist today.
Do you know Newsweek magazine-- I read an article this week. Newsweek magazine reported that there are 1.5 million practicing witches in the United States alone-- 1.5 million practicing, that in many cases, there are more practicing witches than are people in entire mainline denominations, some of them. And the number is on the rise. And the article said, chiefly it is on the rise due to the rejection of mainline Christianity by younger people. People who were raised in evangelical churches, people who are taught to love the Lord reject and go to the other side. They take the pendulum swing all the way So that today there are 1.5 million practicing witches, and the number, the article said, is rapidly on the rise.
So they're at Mount Gilboa. And verse 5 is important to make a note of. "Saul saw the army of the Philistines. He was greatly afraid. And his heart trembled greatly." The word for trembled greatly happens to be the exact same Hebrew word for Mount Sinai quaking in Exodus chapter 19 at the giving of the law, when the mountain quaked, and the people down from the mountain, the people of Israel, were greatly panicking and afraid. They thought, this is the end of the world.
Saul was afraid. And he was quaking like Mount Sinai quaked. He should have quakes at the law of God. But he was quaking at this army that was poised against him.
Now, how did he get into this mess? He's looking at these Philistines who are ready to attack him. How did these Philistines gain so much power, to begin with? Saul should have asked himself that question. The reason the Philistine became the enemy it became is because Saul was fighting the wrong enemy.
He was fighting David. He was distracted with David. I got to kill him. I got to put him out of my life, put me out of my misery by killing him. So because he's fighting the wrong enemy, the real enemy rises up to destroy him.
Do you see the parallel? When you fight the wrong enemy, the real enemy will rise up to destroy you. Satan does that. He's like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. How does he devour? Well, the Bible says we're not ignorant of his devices, or at least we shouldn't be. Too often we are.
One of the ways he does that is he gets us sidetracked into issues that really aren't big. Deal but we find ourselves battling other believers, these little skirmishes that really have nothing to do with the overall cosmic battle between good and evil, right and wrong, heaven and hell. Just, that person said something bad about me, and now I'm going to use up my energy, rent them space in my head, use up energy to figure out a way to take them down.
While you are doing that, the real enemy studies you and rises up against you. He trembled. He was greatly afraid. "And when Saul inquired of the Lord--" he had put God out of his life. But suddenly he becomes very spiritual. Trials have a way of doing that. Pain has a way of doing that. Enemies have a way of doing that.
His life is threatened. So, oh, God. He prays. Saul inquired of the Lord. It says, "the Lord did not answer him." There's radio silence. He prays. Crickets, no response. "The Lord didn't answer him either by dreams."
Frequently the Lord did speak through dreams to Joseph in the Old Testament; Joseph, in the New Testament, the foster Father of Jesus. Also, he spoke to unbelievers not just believers through dreams-- Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, et cetera. But God did speak through dreams. Be careful that you don't interpret all your dreams as messages from God.
My wife can have these crazy dreams. And she'll come to me, and she'll say, OK, now interpret it for me. And here's my interpretation. That was last night's pizza.
Sometimes there's really-- dreams are crazy. Sometimes they don't make sense. But sometimes the Lord can get our attention in a dream because maybe we're too busy during our conscious life, and we're not listening to Him. So in that off-guard state, the Lord can speak.
But the Lord didn't speak to Saul in dreams or by Urim You know what the Urim was. There were two stones that were on the ephod of the high priest, the Urim and the Thummim. It means lights and perfection. It is believed that one was a white stone, one was a black stone. One meant yes. One meant no.
And those were used to discern the will of God. By the way, that practice of the white and black stone used in ancient Israel became passed down, even in more modern times, where in clubs, people were voted in or out by a white ball or a, listen, black ball. So you've heard the term, the person was blackballed. He wasn't accepted. It comes from the rejection by putting in a black marble or a black ball, casting your vote against somebody. But it originally comes from the Urim and the Thummim, a little FYI.
So the Lord didn't answer him by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. Now, it just said that the Prophet Samuel is dead. So all of the means by which the king might ascertain the will of God or have an avenue to garner divine guidance had dried up. Partially, they dried up because of Saul.
Saul didn't listen to the Prophet Samuel when he spoke. The priests, who had the Urim and Thummim at Nob, he killed 85 of them by the Doeg, the Edomite, we remember a few chapters back. So he killed 85 priests. The Prophet Samuel is dead. And God isn't speaking.
So "Samuel said to his servants, find me a woman who is a medium." Now, it had to tell you that this is the same guy that kicked the mediums out of the land to really understand the importance of this request. "Find me a medium, a woman who is a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her. And his servant said to him, well, in fact, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor."
Endor was 17 miles away from the camp of the children of Israel at the foot of Mount Gilboa. If you have been with us or you plan to go to Israel, you stand on a mountain up by Nazareth called Mount Precipice. If you've been with us, you know that mountain.
And you look over the Valley of Jezreel. And if you look straight ahead, you can see in the distance Mount Gilboa. And you can see in the foreground on the left Mount Moreh and a little village right on the shoulder of that hill. That is an Arab village built on Endor, the ancient city of Endor. So you can see all of that history in that one scene.
So they say, well, there's is a medium at Endor. So it's in it funny that he says, I want all the mediums out of the land, so they did it, but they know where they are. They're still hanging around. And his men happened to know that this person is still around and did nothing about it.
So "Saul disguised himself, put on other clothes, and he went and two men with him. And they came to the woman." Hard to believe that this is the same Saul that we started reading about in the earlier chapters, the Saul that God allowed to become the first King of Israel, the Saul of whom it is written, "the Lord was with him," the Saul of whom it is said, "and God gave him a new heart," that Saul. The man with a new heart now goes back to the old heart, the one of whom it is written, the Holy Spirit came upon him. The Spirit of God enabled him to prophesy with other prophets so that people said, is Saul also among the prophets:
It's hard to believe it's the same person. But it is indeed the same person. He prays. He tries to call out to God. God is silent. Why is God silent? Well, David said this in the Psalms later on, "if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." If I hold on to sin in my life, the Lord will not hear me. Why? Because God has given you a statement, turn from that sin.
Why should God say anything more to you if you haven't obeyed the very first thing He's told you? Isn't it interesting that people say, I want guidance from God. So they get guidance from God. They don't obey it. And then later on they get themselves into a mess. I want guidance from God.
Well, God might be saying, go back and get an A on the first test I gave you, obedience 101. Pass that class before I take you over here. So God has nothing more to say to this man. The last time God spoke to Saul, by the way, was through the Prophet Samuel. Do remember what that message was?
It's when Saul grabbed Samuel's robe and tore it. And Samuel used that to turn to Saul and say, so the Lord will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to somebody who's better than you, your neighbor, who happens to be King David, eventually. It's the last time God spoke to him. God's been silent.
Now he seeks God. God has nothing more to say to him. So Saul disguised himself. Why did he disguise himself? Well, two reasons, number one-- well, really number one, one reason, so that-- well, two reasons.
Number one, so that the Philistines wouldn't recognize him. Number two, so that the medium wouldn't recognize him because he wanted a straight answer. He wanted a straight answer from here. And if she sees it's Saul-- you're the dude that expelled people like me, but I'm still here. So I'm technically in trouble. So to disguise himself from Philistines and from her, he disguised himself and put on other clothes. And "he went with two men with him, and they came to the woman by night."
Now, why did he come at night? Two reasons-- so the Philistines wouldn't see him and also because there was this superstitious belief that the spirits are more active at night than they are during the day. That was an ancient superstitious belief. If you want to contact the dead, it's best to do it after sunset, that the place of the grave, known in Hebrew as Sheol, was a place of watery existence, not a place of reward and punishment like we know hell, but just this place where the spirits rest, but almost they rest restlessly, if you will.
And they could be enacted once again. They could be called up once again. It's all superstition. Of course, this is not biblical. So he went at night. That's the time that the spirits speak.
And he said, "please conduct a seance for me and bring up for me the one that I shall name to you." So he's not seeking the Lord. He is just seeking to know his future. It's as foolish as somebody saying, I'm going to read the horoscope. I want to find out what's going to happen to me this week. Just curious. See what they say about me. Maybe it'll come true. He just really wanted to know the future.
And the woman said to him, look, you know what Saul has done. She's talking to Saul. "You know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why, then, do, you lay a snare for my life to cause me to die? And Saul swore to her--" interesting, again-- "by Yahweh," by the Lord. He has to make his disguise seem like it's working.
"As the Lord lives, as Yahweh lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, bring up Samuel for me. Now, once again, let all this sink in, who this is. This is the first king of the monotheistic kingdom of Israel. This is King Saul, the one who removed witchcraft from the land.
Isn't it interesting that though he removed the witchcraft from the land, he didn't remove witchcraft from his life? You can take the person out of the world, but you can't always take the world out of the person. Very much a part of Saul, the superstitious belief, not believing in revelation by the law of Moses. But he's very, very tenuous in his spiritual beliefs.
So I do want to make that application. You can take the person out of the world. But so often, the world is still in our hearts. It's like a pig. You can wash a pig. You can perfume a pig. You put clothes on a pig.
I had a friend who had a pet pig. I'd go over to their house, and the little pig would run around by your feet. I just thought, this just is not right.
Well, this is our pet pig. Get a dog.
Because at the end of the day, no matter what you do to the pig, it's still a pig. And for it not to be a pig it needs a new nature. It has a pig nature. Saul has the nature of Saul, the nature of the world, the nature of the flesh. He hasn't really truly been transformed, or he's not living in the transformation that was his at the very beginning. He was not walking in that.
There was a booklet that was written many years ago-- and I've made reference to it for years-- called My Heart, Christ's Home. The author's Robert Boyd Munger. When I say it was written a long time ago, it was written, like, in the late '40s, early '50s. But sometimes you get these old books or booklets that are as good and relevant as any-- I mean, after all, we're reading a book that's a few thousand years old.
So it doesn't have to be new. What's the latest new book out? I don't care what it is. I want to know if it has substance or not. But this little booklet does have substance, and it's based upon that text in Ephesians, "let Christ dwell in your hearts ritually by faith," or literally, make Himself at home in your heart.
And so he takes this analogy of Jesus coming into your life. You invite him in. Your life is the house. He comes in, and He's there to redecorate. So He goes into the dining room, gives you new appetite. He goes into your recreation room, gives you new things to look at, takes away the old garbage that you've been looking at. He just transforms your life, room by room.
But then one day, he said, I came home, and there was Jesus on my front porch with His arms folded. And I came to the front door. I said, Jesus, what are you doing out here? And He said, I'm not going to go inside because there's a stench coming from somewhere in this house. And until you deal with it, you and I aren't going to be able to hang out. I'm going to move my bed to the back porch and sleep there.
We're going to be a little more distant I won't be as close to you as we once were. So immediately, the author said, I knew what He was talking about. I had this little place upstairs, this little closet. There was a door that closed it. It was just sort of my own little private stash of life that I wanted to do what I wanted to do and practice this little stand I wanted to practice.
So he said, we went upstairs, and Jesus pointed at the door and said, it's in there, and it reeks. It stinks. And the man bowed his head. And he goes, I don't have the strength to open it. I don't have the strength to clean it out. And Jesus smiled and said, I know you don't. But I do. I'll take you. I'll take that as you are, as it is, and I will transform even that.
And it's just a beautiful story, My Heart, Christ's Home, by Robert Moyd Bunger-- Munger-- Robert Boyd Munger is the name. It's a great little book, probably get it online, download it for nothing. It'll be a inspirational read.
So verse 12, "when the woman saw Samuel--" so she goes into the seance. She works her little necromancy medium magic. It says, "when the woman saw Samuel, she cried out," like, [GASPS] it worked! Shows you she was scamming everybody the whole time. "She cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul saying, why have you deceived me? For you are Saul."
The apparition that she saw probably ratted on him. Hey, hi, it's Samuel. That's King Saul talking to you. She said, you're Saul. "And the king said to her, do not be afraid. What did you see? And the woman said to Saul, I saw a spirit ascending out of the Earth." And so he said to her, "what is his form? And she said, an old man coming up. And he is covered with a mantle." That is a robe.
Remember he had a robe, the robe that Saul tore. He has a mantle. "And Saul perceived that it was Samuel. And he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. Now, Samuel said to Saul, why have you disturbed me by bringing me up? And Saul answered, I'm deeply distressed, for the Philistines make war against me. And God has departed from me."
What an admission that is, what a horrible admission, to have to say, God has left me. God has departed from me. "God has departed from me and does not answer me any more, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do."
Now, this is a troublesome story. And there are several ways to look at it. There have been several explanations of this. Explanation number one, this was purely psychological. This never really happened. She did something to make him think that he saw Samuel. It was all in his mind.
The problem with that explanation is he didn't see anything. There's no revelation that King Saul saw Samuel. She saw Samuel. So if it's a hallucination, it's hers, not his, because she sees something. And the king says, what did you see? She goes, I saw an old man. And it was Samuel. So I don't buy that as an explanation, the psychological explanation.
Some say it's a spiritual explanation, that it was a demon spirit impersonating Samuel. I don't think that is the explanation because the speech, the message that comes from this entity, happens to be true, happens to be an indictment, God's judgment upon King Saul. So I don't read about demons speaking truth and judging people according to God's righteous standard of judgment.
So I don't think it's a psychological explanation. I don't think it's a spiritual explanation. Some see it as a professional exercise, or it's a professional explanation, that it was some kind of parlor trick that she performed just to make this whole thing up. I don't buy that either because she herself was surprised when it happened like, whoa, this really worked. There's this dude. I can see him.
The fourth explanation is the best. It actually happened, that the Lord, for His purposes, allowed this woman to see an apparition of Samuel, who had passed away, to bring this message. This happens to be the view of the Jewish rabbis, almost all of the conservative rabbis, the commentators of the Old Testament going way back. And I guess it would be comparable to the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration when they spoke with Jesus, though they were dead and had long been dead.
But they showed up with Jesus, speaking, and the disciples were allowed to see it. It's a one off. It doesn't happen all the time. But the Lord allowed this for a particular reason.
Verse 16, "then Samuel said--" after he goes, look, I've exhausted all my resources. I've tried to call on God. God's not talking to me, so I'm calling you back from the dead. So look what he says. "Samuel said, why, then, did you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?" If God isn't speaking to you, then I have nothing to say to you.
If God has rejected you, you think I'm going to give you good news, the prophet of God? It's like, what, are you that dumb? "And the Lord has done for himself as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor," namely David, "because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, nor execute his fierce wrath upon the upon Amalek," back in chapter 15.
"Therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me." That doesn't mean they'll be in heaven. It just means they'll be dead. Y'all will be dead tomorrow. You got 24 hours to live.
"The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines." Now, just something else I can't resist. Isn't it interesting that the one in authority makes a law, passes laws, no mediums, no spiritists in the land, yet he himself violates the law that he produces. This is always the temptation of people who are in authority, to make laws but then to not abide by the laws that they pass.
You have to do this. You must comply. It's a mandate. You must--
Y'all have to wear masks. I don't, however, when I am at a fancy restaurant with my buddies. Or the mayor of San Francisco, you have to wear masks, but I don't when I'm at a special dance, in close contact with everybody. We're exempt because, after all, we're leaders. It's for you but not for me.
Then immediately, verse 20, after this message, "Saul fell full length on the ground and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eat no food all day and all night. And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled and said to him, look, your maid servant has obeyed your voice. And I have put my life in my hands. And he did the words which you spoke to me now. Therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maid servant and let me set a piece of bread before you and eat, that you may have strength when you go in your way."
But he refused. And he said, I will not eat. He lost his appetite. His servants, together with the woman, urged him. "And he heeded their voice, and he rose up from the ground and sat on the bed." The woman had a fatted calf in the house. So you can't just microwave things back then.
"She hastened to kill it. She took flour and kneaded it, baked unleavened bread," because it would take too long to let it rise. "She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night."
A little unusual that she insisted that he go have a meal. It's almost like, you need your strength. You're going to die. You have to face your own death with vigor and strength and be healthy. But she insisted on that.
And the only thing I can figure out is that for a king to die in somebody's house and not to attend to no needs could be perceived as grounds for capital punishment. I think she just feared for her life. It's like, not on my watch. Not in my house you're not going to die. You're going to eat some food. I'm going to carb load you, and I'm going to give you protein. Then you're on your way. She didn't want him dying there. That's what I'm thinking.
But I can't resist looking at the last part of verse 25, last verse in the chapter. It says, "he went away that night." He came at night. He left at night. Now, I don't want to make too much of it. I want to make a comparison.
So go to 1 Samuel chapter 9. And I want you to notice how Saul began. Let's compare how Saul began with how Saul ended. We know we ended at night. Let's see how he began. Chapter 9, verse 26, "they arose early. It was about the dawning of the day." You just make a note of that. "That Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house saying, get up, that I may send you on your way. And Saul arose."
Both of them went outside, he and Samuel. Now, as they were going to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, "tell the servant to go on ahead of us." And he went on, "but you stand here a while that I may announce to you the word of God." He took a flask of oil, and he anointed him as the king.
He began his ministry in the dawning of the day. He ended when it was night. Now, that is literal. But I also see that as a metaphor. I also see that as analogy.
Disobedience in the past brought darkness in the present and will bring death and destruction in the end. In the next couple chapters, his life will end. He'll die on Mount Gilboa. He'll die in that battle within 24 hours. Disobedience in the past brings darkness in the present, death and destruction in the future.
So Saul had a good start, had a horrible finish. Do you know that having a good start is no guarantee of a good finish? One of the things that we should all be praying about and looking-- and praying for is, Lord, help me finish well. Let me finish well.
When I go out of my ministry or go out of my life, I want to do it right. I want to die well. I want to finish well. I want to end this journey well because having a good start is no guarantee of a good finish. He certainly had a horrible one.
By the way, something I didn't make notice of, Saul had a question for Samuel. that he never got answered. He wanted to know what's going to happen to him. He wanted to know the future. Remember, back in verse 15, "therefore I've called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do."
Did Samuel ever tell him what to do? Nothing. You know why? Because there was nothing he could do. His fate was sealed. It was already too late. His fate was sealed.
Listen, yours is not. His was sealed. Yours is not. As long as you have breath in your lungs and you are on this side of the eternal curtain, you make choices. And God will give you a second chance and a 5,260,418th chance as well. He'll give you those chances, but make decisions that you will end well.
Well, let's finish up the last section because it's only 11 verses. I think we can manage in 11 minutes if I hurry up. We now shift, in this chapter, back to the battlefield. We should always remember in our Christian life we're always on a battlefield.
Whatever little things we do, whatever little sidelines we have, what other scenes are in our lives, we're always on a battlefield. Christianity is not a playground where we throw tantrums. It's a battleground where Satan throws arrows. It's very, very real. There's always a battlefield.
"Then the Philistines gathered together and all their armies at Aphek, and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel." If they're at Mount Gilboa and they're by a fountain by that mountain, anybody know what that is called? It says the Founding of Jezreel. Anybody know what the other name is for that? The Spring of Harod. I'm getting blank stares here.
So the Well of Harod is where Gideon and his men were tested, the 300. We covered that this past weekend, that the little spring where they drank from the water, either lapped like dogs or got on all fours. It's the same spring. It's the same geography. It's the same place just different time period. But that's where they're located.
"And the lords of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds, by thousands. But David and his men passed in review at the rear with Achish." So they're the last ones to pass in review, David and his 600 warriors. The reason they're last is because David got a promotion. He's a bodyguard, so he's with the king as they're passing through. Then he finally makes his around.
"The princes of the Philistines said, what are these Hebrews doing here? And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, is this not David, the servant of Saul of the King of Israel, who has been with me these days or these years? And to this day, I have found no fault in him since he defected to me."
I know who this is. I'm well aware. But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him. So the princes of the Philistines said to him, "make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him," back down to Ziglag.
"Do not let him go with us to the battle, less in the battle he become our adversary. For with what could he reconcile himself to his master, if not with the heads of these men? Is not this David of whom they sang to one another and danced saying, Saul has slain his thousands and David has tens of thousands?"
Don't you know this song? Haven't you been listening to the radio? It's on Radio Philistia every day, top 10. I mean, even they knew that song that was sung after the battle with the Philistines, David and Goliath. What they are accusing David of-- and I don't disagree with him-- is that David could be an opportunist king. He could get in the battle, and he's acting loyal to you now. But in the heat of the battle he's going to turn on you and deliver you to your enemy.
Blood is thicker than water. After all, remember, he's the dude not only who's slaying his tens of thousands. He was the one who said, I won't touch the Lord's anointed. Maybe they had heard that report as well. But the red flag was up. They wanted the king to reject him.
"Then Achish called David and said to him, surely, as the Lord lives, you've been upright, and you're going out and you're coming in with me in the army, is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless, the lords--" these other leaders-- "do not favor you. Therefore return now and go in peace that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines."
We get insight into their government. The Philistines' government was a series of city-states, independent commanders that formed a willing coalition with each other. But obviously, like sort of a Congress, they operated on majority vote. So even though the king said, I want this guy to go to war, they outvoted him. It was the checks and balances. It's healthy in a government.
And so David said to Achish, "but what have I done? And to this day, what have you found in your servant, as long as I have been with you that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord, the king?" Now, again, I just have to give you my two cents worth.
I read two possible explanations into, "look I've been with you. Can I go with you that I might fight against the enemies of my lord, the king?" Now, Achish thought, oh, he's talking about me. But if you know David, David used this language to refer to King Saul, my lord, the king. He called my lord, the king-- my lord, the king.
It could be that David was thinking, I'm going to feign loyalty to Achish, but I'm going to use this battle to deliver it to Saul. And then we'll be reconciled. The Philistines caught wind of that. What would reconcile them more than giving King Saul your heads?
So when he said, "the enemies of my lord, the king," he could have in his mind-- and many commentators believe he was actually thinking of King Saul. But Achish answered and said to David, "I know that you are good in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless the princes of the Philistines have said you shall not go with us to the battle."
Let me throw something fun out at you. David was vindicated by his enemy, the Philistine King Achish, three times. Three times the king said, I find no fault in him. I find no fault in him. I find no fault in him. Just throw it in, here's my two cents worth. In the New Testament, the son of David, Jesus Christ, the greater son of David, is also vindicated three times by an enemy potentate, Pontius Pilate. I find no fault in this man. I find no fault in this man. I find no fault in this man, three times.
But after the third time, it says in the Gospel of Luke, "but the voices of the chief priests and of the people prevailed." And so he gave in to their wishes, just like here. The voices of the Philistine's Lord, prevailed, and he gave in to their wishes. Just fun to make-- it might mean nothing. You could throw it out. But I just thought I'd throw it in.
"Now, therefore rise early in the morning with your master's servants who have come with you. And as soon as you are up early in the morning and have light, then depart." Get out of here. You're not going to battle. "So David and his men rose early to depart in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel."
The battle is taking place in a battlefield known by later on-- Napoleon Bonaparte-- as the most natural battlefield he had ever seen in his life, the Valley of Jezreel. Many battles had been fought. Many battles would be fought. And one of very particular note will be fought in the future, though it's given a different title. It's called the Battle of Armageddon.
The Battle of Armageddon, Har Megiddo-- Megiddo is one of the towns in the Valley of Jezreel. So it's called the Valley of Jezreel. It's also called the Valley of Ezdralon. It's also called the Valley of Megiddo, or the Valley of Armageddon, same valley. That is where an ultimate battle in end times history will be staged and mainly take place.
So again, it's just fun to tie these things all in together. It says the Philistines went up to Jezreel. We did it, two chapters.
Two chapters in two minutes to spare. And then next week we'll cover the last two chapters of the book. So that's your homework. You read those chapters. You get them under your belt. You meditate on it this week. Then we'll come together as a church, and we'll read it together and make highlights.
Father, thank you for the eternal truths that we find here recorded. I'm especially thinking of the one how Samuel had nothing to say to Saul because You had nothing to say to Saul, because Saul's fate had already been undertaken. It was sealed.
The judgment had been passed. There was nothing that would stop it. All he announced is within 24 hours he would be dead. Lord, we don't know when our last breath will be. But until then, we have an opportunity.
Our fate hangs in the balances. Our choices can be made this side of eternity that can make all the difference for us in eternity. And I just pray for anybody who might be here, maybe invited by a friend, maybe just strolled in because they were curious, maybe even have been raised in a church environment or had a set of parents or grandparents that taught them truths, but they have never personally committed their lives to Christ. They've never allowed You to wash them of their sin, to give them the gift of eternal life.
Or some perhaps are here who have wandered away, walked away. They're not walking with You today. They're living in a state out of fellowship with God. I pray that You would draw them back to You, to a place of usability, a place of vibrance, a place of enjoying life, spiritual life, abundant life, something Jesus promised would be ours.
Before we leave tonight, you have that opportunity. Our heads are bowed. Our eyes were closed. Only you, as you look inside, know your spiritual condition. I don't. No one else. Does only you do. And it's time for you in this place to be honest before God. If you're not walking with Him, if you're not in fellowship with Him, or if you're not a saved individual, it's time for you to make that admission and to make a decision to turn away from your past and turn your future over to Him.
If you are willing to do that, if you're willing to make that choice, if you're willing to surrender your life to Jesus, I want you to raise your hand up in the air. Hold it up so I can notice you. Then I'll have you put your hand down, and I'll pray for you. God bless you, sir to my left, right up here in the middle and toward the back in the middle, on my right toward the back.
Anybody else? Raise that hand. You're not here by accident. God drew you here for this. Anybody in the family room? Just raise your hand up. Or balcony? Anybody else, just raise that hand up?
Father, for those who did raise their hands, I noticed them. You notice them. You know the heart. We pray, Lord, that You would bring transformation, pray, Father, that they would understand what it is to be forgiven, and pray, Lord, they will walk with You. Give them the strength to do that.
Right where you are sitting, if you raised your hand, I want you to-- no, better yet, let's all stand up. I'm going to have you just stand to your feet. I'm going to ask you to do something if you raised your hand. Please don't take this as a form of embarrassment. We're to do this to encourage you because we think you are making the most important decision you could ever make in your life.
If you raised your hand just a moment ago, I want you to get up now, find an aisle, and stand right up here. I'm going to lead you in a word of prayer, to give your life back to Christ or to receive Him for the first time. If you raised your hand, come. Let us encourage you by our applause.
God bless you, sir. I saw hands over here and over there and in the middle toward the back. Come on forward. Come on. Come on. Come stand right up here. God bless you guys. Yes. Come stand right up here in the front, all the way to the front.
Anybody else? This is an opportunity for you. You may have more opportunities like this in the future. You may never have an opportunity like this ever again. You don't know. But tonight you have an opportunity. And if you're not sure, be sure.
You get up right now and come. Just get up and come and stand right here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. You're going to walk out of here knowing that you're forgiven. But you've got to make that decision. You get up and come. Anybody else?
Those of you who have come, I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now. I want you to say these words out loud. Say, Lord, I give you my life. I admit I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe He died on a cross for me, that He shed his blood for me, and that He rose again for me.
I turn from my sin. I turn my life over to Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to live for You every day. In Jesus's name, amen.
Yes! Congratulations! Good thinking. Pastor Antonio, would you follow Pastor Antonio and a couple of our friends right over here? I just want to give you something, spend a couple of moments with you guys. God bless you.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series Expound.