Was the “Spirit of Samuel”, in 1 Samuel 28 from God or from the devil? by Kevin E. Jesmer 8-30-14

Was the “Spirit of Samuel”, in 1 Samuel 28 from God or from the devil?  by  Kevin E. Jesmer  8-30-14

witch of endore

In 1 Samuel 28:8-25 a medium succeeded in conjuring up, what appeared to be the spirit of Samuel. The spirit that appeared was very convincing. It appeared like Samuel so much that Saul fell to the ground. Look at verse 14b, “… Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground..”  Again, Saul was desperate. He wanted to find a way out of this. Saul respected Samuel so much, that when this spirit appeared, he became very humble, falling down and prostrating himself. This meant full submission and humility. This was like someone saying, “I give up. I will do anything, just tell me what do and save me!” Sadly it was too much, too late however. Saul should have had the same attitude towards God and the servant of God, Samuel, years ago.


This “spirit of Samuel” was very angry. 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 turned away 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 shared his desperate heart, revealing his great distress. He was fully aware of the spiritual reality.


The spirit rebuked Saul and predicted his defeat and death. Look at verses 16-19, “Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away 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 hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.” He told him that the Lord would give the kingdom to David and that all of this tragedy came about because Saul did not obey the Lord. (See the message on 1 Samuel 28a)


The medium shrieked at the appearance of Samuel. Somehow Samuel’s appearance revealed to her that she was dealing with a power far greater than she had ever known. Whether this manifestation from God or was it from the devil? Either source would cause this medium to shriek. The question many people have is, “Did Samuel really come back from the dead at the medium’s call?” and, “Is this spirit from God or from the devil?”


There is a case that the image of this “spirit of Samuel” was not from God. Contacting the dead or communicating with persons or spirits from the past is not pleasing to the Lord. Galatians 5:19-21 reads, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (NIV) If such a practice is not pleasing to God, how can God work through such a practice? Fresh water and salt water cannot flow from the same source.


It is not in keeping with God’s character. To continually confront a person with the truth of his/her sin and remind them over and over again of their condemnation, not offering any way out of their predicament, is not how God operates. Yes, Saul’s fate had been sealed, but God wouldn’t pummel someone with that fact. The “spirit of Samuel”’s words were not showing one ray of hope. Even if God determined the fate of Saul, it would be more humane to not respond and remain silent, then to keep condemning Saul.


But some may ask how could this spirit be from the devil if he is speaking the truth? This is the confusing part. If it was not the “spirit of Samuel”, nor God speaking, then it was some evil spirit using the truth to serve its own evil purpose. This may very well be the devil speaking. The devil knows the truth. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (1 Cor 11:14) He could be using the truth to continue to crush Saul’s spirit to cause him as much emotional pain and suffering as possible. And it worked. Look at 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 night.” (NIV) The devil is like this. He will pummel us until we are whimpering in the corner in the fetal position, useless to God and to anyone. Not only useless, but also causing others to despair around us. Saul was crushed to this point.


Without a Mighty Savior, named Jesus Christ, this is where Satan would like to drive each and every one of us if he had a chance…full length on the ground, filled with fear, strength gone…day and night. But thank God for our Savior Jesus Christ. He saves us from fear, through faith in the resurrection. Hebrews 2:14-15 tell us, “14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”  Jesus protects us from the devil’s pummeling and changes all things for good for his glory. (Romans 8:28)


If I had to make a decision as to whether this spirit of Samuel, conjured up by the medium, was from God or from the devil, I would have to say it was from the devil. Contacting the dead or communicating with persons or spirits from the past is not pleasing to God. It is not in keeping with God’s character to continually confront a person with the truth of his/her sin and remind them over and over again of their condemnation and not offer any way out of their predicament. It is more likely this was some evil spirit, or the devil speaking, using the truth to serve it’s own evil purpose to discourage Saul and his men to the point of death. What do you think?

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