Bible Insights

The Medium of Endor

Not Everything That’s Spiritual is Good

Here’s the situation. The prophet Samuel is dead. God has abandoned King Saul, and the once-promising ruler is losing his grip on power. Saul prays, but God doesn’t respond.

None of the ways Saul has heard from God in the past are working now. In desperation, he seeks a medium.

In his better days as God’s king, Saul expelled all the mediums and spiritualists from the country. Now he wants one. It’s his last option for supernatural guidance.

His aids tell him there is a medium in Endor. Some versions of the Bible call her a witch.

In disguise, Saul seeks her out. She is cautious, fearing execution if her skills become known. He persists, promising her safety. After some persuasion, she relents. Saul asks her to conjure up the spirit of Samuel. She does.

Then she realizes who Saul is—the king who outlawed and ousted everyone in her line of work. She screams at Saul because of his deception, but he urges her to proceed and serve as a link to connect him with Samuel.

For Samuel’s part, he’s not pleased at having his existence in the afterlife disturbed. He’s likely happy there and wants to remain there, not be sucked back toward the physical realm.

Samuel confirms it’s too late for Saul. God has left him for good. Furthermore, Samuel says the next day Saul and his sons will die in battle. The nation will be lost.

Saul is distraught, losing what little hope he has left. The medium of Endor urges him to eat, and she prepares a meal for him.

Saul eats and then leaves. The next day, Saul and his three sons die—his boys in battle and Saul by suicide.

Not all that’s spiritual is good. The medium of Endor is one such example. When our prayers seem to go nowhere, do we keep our focus on God or seek unwise alternatives?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 26-28, and today’s post is on 1 Samuel 28:3–25.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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