7/7/13. 1 Samuel 28:15-25. GOD’S MERCY EXTENDS TO THE BROKEN – my devotional

7/7/13. 1 Samuel 28:15-25. GOD’S MERCY EXTENDS TO THE BROKEN – my devotional

witch of endor

1 Samuel 28:15-25                                                                                          Kevin Jesmer

Key verse 28:17                                                                                              7/7/13

“The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors–to David.” (NIV)

     Dear Lord, thank you for showing me today in the Sunday worship service that the relationship between the old and new testament is like a flower. The seed grows and the stem sprouts and grows and then the flower come forth. The flower is Christ and the body of Christ, the church. The old testament  Israel is like the stem. Thank you for the very vivid and truthful analogy. I thank you for all the things that you are doing for the sending of missionaries to NW Ontario. Please help to place some of our people on the ground there and start a missionary movement among us. Please grant your word in my heart today. I pray in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

Part 1: No Where Left To Turn To (15-19)

Saul confesses the stress that was churning in his heart. Look at verse 15, “Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”  “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

Saul had turned away from the Lord and now he was in a whole heap of trouble. He had no one to turn to. He knew that he had done wrong by turning away from the Lord and now God turned away from him.  In verse 15b said, ““I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”  I can not even imagine the inner turmoil that he was going through.

What does a person do when they ignore God? Who do they turn to in their time of need? Some may think they can rely on their own strength and intellect. But what do you do when even this breaks down and you have nothing left. I see this in some students. They burn their bridges with their families. They can’t study and they have exhausted all of their student loans. Some even become homeless and indebt. Believe me, such a scenario is being repeated all across America. I would not like to be in the situation that Saul found himself in. I would always like to be in the right relationship with God so that I can call on his name and know that he hears me and cares and will intervene according to his will.

Saul hoped that he would be able to get some wise counsel from someone, even from what he thought was the spirit of his former spiritual mentor, Samuel. But he was mistaken. The “spirit” of Samuel turned out to be very angry. Look at verse 16-19, “ Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”  This reveals why God had turned away from Saul. What this image of Samuel was saying was true. The Lord had predicted Saul’s death and that the kingdom would be given to David. It was because Saul did not obey the Lord. He would not get any words of comfort nor of wisdom from this image of Samuel, only confirmation of his own sins and his own broken relationship with the Lord. He would be reminded of his own miserable end as well as the miserable end of his sons. How devastating the news! Saul was completely crushed. We learn here that if we turn to anything in this world for comfort and guidance other than Christ, we will be gravely disappointed and crushed.

We can also learn that obedience to the Lord is very important. But what does it mean to obey the Lord. Is it about, “don’t drink and don’t smoke?” No. It is not about increasing amounts of legalism. It is about obeying the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. The most important thing to obey is to repent of our sins and put our faith, hope and trust in the Lord and live by faith. This has to do with the attitude of our heart. It has to do with our relationship with God and with especially with faith. It is not about increasing amounts of legalism. If we don’t obey the spirit of the law, there is a real possibility of becoming a victim of fear, seeking guidance from evil spirits and being destroyed like Saul. Not by God, but because of our pride and rejection of God. It is just a consequence of our sin.

Part 2:  God Continually Extends His Hand Of Mercy  (20-25)

Sin leaves us despaired, fearful and paralyzed. Look what sin did to Saul in verse 20, ““Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night.”  Saul fell on his face paralyzed by fear all day and night. He came to see the extent of his sin and how far he had drifted away from God. And there he lay, a victim of his sinful self.

We tend to think that sin is harmless and even desirable. But sin is like sugar sweetened poison that slowly drains us of all strength and life leaving us paralyzed. When I was freely giving into my sin, (that is before meeting Jesus) I was having fun for a few years. But later on I found myself despaired and spending much of my time laying down in sorrow. In the last two years I was holding onto my sin of living my own legalistic religious life. I was getting into a joyless life of endless self discipline and dragging my family members into my “laugh-less” and joyless lifestyle. When God was beginning to dismantle the framework of the house I was building for myself, I was lying down in tears praying for God to take me away early. I know what the power of sin can do to me. I think that Saul was suffering a lot more than I was. He was tasting “weeping and gnashing” of teeth in his own heart.

We can be our own worst enemies actually. Saul had created all of this for himself. He could not blame God when he went on for decades disobeying the Lord. Isn’t that the way it is? We keep on doing what we feel like and when our world falls apart we blame God. We should simply confess our iniquity and come to the Lord for forgiveness, grace and healing. And Christ, in his love will heal our hearts and bless us with many spiritual blessings. I wonder what would happen if Saul would have repented and turned his heart to the Lord? Would he be restored? Maybe.

But God had mercy on him even in the midst of his unrepentance. Look at verses 21-25, “21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.” 23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch. 24 The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.”  The people urged him to eat. The woman did not have to serve Saul. He had persecuted the mediums. He forced her to do something that would threaten her life. But yet she served him. She even served him the best that she had, “the fattened calf”. She turned out to be more generous and graceful than even one who was one of God’s people, Israel. They were patient.  How is it that non Christians are sometimes acting more Christian than actual Christians? God’s mercy may even be revealed through the godless and those whom we have been persecuting.

God’s mercy is revealed through people when we are at our lowest points in life. Sure he comforts us by his Spirit. But he also sends people into our lives. There were many people God sent into my life over these last two years of spiritual turmoil who serve me with counseling and prayer. I would not be standing if it were not for their love and concern and wise words. I pray that I may be a source of encouragement to others around me so that God may comfort their hearts through me.

Lord, please help me to see myself as I am, a sinner in need of the Savior. Draw me by cords of love.

One Word : God’s love never ends


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