“Then the woman said, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ He [king Saul] said, ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’ … Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ Saul answered, ‘I am in great distress; for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams; therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.’ And Samuel said, ‘Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy?'” (1 Samuel 28:11,15-16)
You’d almost get the impression, by a passage like 1 Samuel 28 (above), that an evil person like king Saul had the “power” to “disturb” the spirit of a man of God like Samuel, who had gone to heaven. Here this spirit medium tries to communicate with a dead person (though Samuel was, and still is, of course, quite living!) — something which God commanded should NEVER be done! “There shall not be found among you … a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
Thus doing this is wrong in God’s eyes. It is evil. It is witchcraft. And if you play with fire, you’ll get burned! If anything, I think that this is the real message of a passage like 1 Samuel 28 — king Saul was playing with fire. He was rebelling against the Lord. And the Lord got him.
Saul did not bring up Samuel. He had no power to do that.
What God did, was play the substitute for Samuel.
God does that, sometimes, you know.
He’ll even use a donkey to speak on his behalf. And nowhere does the Scripture say that the one that was speaking was really God –but it was!
“Then the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28)
Did the donkey have any intelligence to be able to say these things? No! Absolutely not. The donkey was just a mouthpiece. To the outside world (i.e. Balaam), it appeared as though the donkey was speaking. The donkey was speaking. But God was the “voice behind the donkey”. Just like in cartoons, there is a “voice behind the character”. In this case, the character was the donkey, but the voice was God’s!
Don’t be deceived. Saul, or that spirit medium (as they call them), had no power to bring anyone up — righteous or unrighteous. A person just doesn’t have that power. No, but what happens in these cases is that, when people “try” to communicate with the dead, an evil spirit will gladly “feign” the person who they are trying to bring up. Since many spirits have a vast knowledge of you, and your ancestors (since they communicate with each other and have been around a long time), they will gladly “stand in the gap” as it were, and pretend to be one of your long gone ancestors.
In this case, the spirit medium attempts to “bring up” Samuel. Remember, this is sorcery. It is evil. It is wrong. And … it is deception. Not only does the spirit medium deceive people, the spirit medium is also a very deceived person, thinking that they have “power” that they do not have. Satan will always make you think you are more powerful than you really are, so that you think you do not need God. The end result is that you are lured into hell — forever — where you cease to have any power whatsoever. So choose God’s way!
No, but what happened in this case is that God used the occasion to pronounce judgment against Saul. The man that “appeared” to be brought up was Samuel. But that was deception. Remember … please … that the Scriptures explicitly say that God will give people over to “a depraved mind” when they wallow in it (Romans 1:19-32). There comes a time when God does not bother to correct people … they have gone too far — don’t ever get there! Such was the case with Saul. God had “given him over to a depraved mind” and it was too late. Now, he only had judgment to “look forward” to (if one can look forward to it).
God had no responsibility to “shine light” upon Saul at this time. He didn’t have to explain himself. The image of Samuel came up all right! But who gives visions and dreams? Not man. And surely not Samuel, who was in heaven! It could come from a demon, or it could come from God. This time, it came from God. God gave the image of Samuel, but, like the case of Balaam’s donkey, God himself was the voice behind the image. Ah … blessed Lord … who speaks to people in a myriad of ways … yes, through donkeys, and, if a person willfully rebels against him, through other means as well!
So be forwarned. God is not mocked!
Judgment is pronounced against Saul, according to the words of “Samuel” in 1 Samuel 28:15-19, and Saul dies the next day.
“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26)