Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hypocrisy!

Today we read the tragic end of Saul's downhill slide.

It began with willful disobedience, hypocrisy and lying.

When confronted he did not repent, but made excuses.

The Lord left him, and sent him a tormenting spirit in His place. Saul never did repent, but he did continue to be religious right to the end.

So can you live without the Spirit of God, yet maintain a posture of religiosity and self righteous pomposity? HECK YEAH! Happens all the time.

Here is the story.

3 Samuel was now dead. All Israel had mourned his death and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul had long since cleaned out all those who held séances with the dead."

So Saul had obeyed the command to have no witches or seers or necromancers in Israel.

Once again the Philistines are on the attack.

4 -5 "The Philistines had mustered their troops and camped at Shunem. Saul had assembled all Israel and camped at Gilboa. But when Saul saw the Philistine troops, he shook in his boots, scared to death.
6 Saul prayed to God, but God didn't answer—neither by dream nor by sign nor by prophet."

Saul is still religious. He wants and needs God's favor. At the very least, God's direction.

7 "So Saul ordered his officials, "Find me someone who can call up spirits so I may go and seek counsel from those spirits."
His servants said, "There's a witch at Endor."

Of course, his response should have been, "What? A witch? She needs to be killed. And how do YOU GUYS know she is there? Haven't I given orders that there be NO witches in the land, according to God's very specific instructions.?

That SHOULD HAVE BEEN his response. But it wasn't.

8 "Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes. Then, taking two men with him, he went under the cover of night to the woman and said, "I want you to consult a ghost for me. Call up the person I name."
9 The woman said, "Just hold on now! You know what Saul did, how he swept the country clean of mediums. Why are you trying to trap me and get me killed?"
10 Saul swore solemnly, "As God lives, you won't get in any trouble for this."
11 The woman said, "So whom do you want me to bring up?"
"Samuel. Bring me Samuel."

So Saul blatantly disobeyed God by doing this. I guess his justification would be "desperate times call for desperate measures..." As far as I know, this is the only time in the Bible that an ACTUAL dead person came up in response to a witch. Usually it is a demon who impersonates the dead person. It appears obvious the Samuel HIMSELF actually came up from the dead.
12 "When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly to Saul, "Why did you lie to me? You're Saul!"
13 The king told her, "You have nothing to fear ...but what do you see?"
"I see a spirit ascending from the underground."
14 "And what does he look like?" Saul asked.
"An old man ascending, robed like a priest."
Saul knew it was Samuel. He fell down, face to the ground, and worshiped.
15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by calling me up?"
"Because I'm in deep trouble," said Saul. "The Philistines are making war against me and God has deserted me—he doesn't answer me any more, either by prophet or by dream. And so I'm calling on you to tell me what to do."

He is still religious. He is still unrepentant. Samuel lays into him...

16 -19 "Why ask me?" said Samuel. "God has turned away from you and is now on the side of your neighbor. God has done exactly what he told you through me—ripped the kingdom right out of your hands and given it to your neighbor. It's because you did not obey God, refused to carry out his seething judgment on Amalek, that God does to you what he is doing today. Worse yet, God is turning Israel, along with you, over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. And, yes, indeed, God is giving Israel's army up to the Philistines."
20 -22 Saul dropped to the ground, felled like a tree, terrified by Samuel's words. There wasn't an ounce of strength left in him—he'd eaten nothing all day and all night. The woman, realizing that he was in deep shock, said to him, "Listen to me. I did what you asked me to do, put my life in your hands in doing it, carried out your instructions to the letter. It's your turn to do what I tell you: Let me give you some food. Eat it. It will give you strength so you can get on your way." 23 -25 He refused. "I'm not eating anything."


Big battle. Army of Israel is slaughtered. Saul and his three sons are all killed.

End of Saul, his hypocrisy, his dynasty.

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