Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Witch of Endor - It Wasn't Me, I Swear.

1 Samuel 28:9-10 But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?" Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this."

Why is it when you ask a little kid if they've done something wrong, they immediately tell you they haven't? Even though you already know they did. My youngest daughter will deny ev
erything the first time. But when I look her in the eye, ask her again with that serious tone - she comes clean. I guess it's our human nature to avoid a disaster that we perceive may happen if we give an honest answer. However, God requires it. I think, if we look at this realistically, I would rather suffer the consequences of telling the truth - than the strain on my relationship with God from not telling the truth.

Since the woman of Endor had no relationship with God, lying was not a big issue for her. She was lying to save her life. She was in hiding and knew that if someone turned her in - she would be killed. She had to be careful. Here's the irony: Saul promised her "by the Lord" that he wouldn't have her killed. By the Lord???? It's like hearing an atheist say "I swear to God" - really? How can you seek out the things the devil has lured you to and in the same breath use God to justify it?

It's the bar-hopping, unfaithful co-worker that tells you they love Jesus. How can you seek out the things of satan and still claim to have a relationship with God. We all back-slide, but the importance of having a relationship with God is seeing our error and avoiding that temptation. Saul got caught up in this and the example he could've been for the witch of Endor was lost.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Witch of Endor - Is it a Masquerade?

1 Samuel 28:8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name."

Have you ever heard the saying, "nothing good ever happens after midnight"? I suppose in the dark of the night, when very few others are around - people tend to do things they probably shouldn't do because they think no one is watching. . . Someone is always watching.

All the mediums and spiritists in the land would not welcome Saul into their home, because they knew he would punish them if he found out they were still practicing. Saul knew this and so he waited until evening - dressed up like someone other than himself - grabbed a couple of buddies - headed to Endor and asked the witch to do her 'magic'.

Something I tell my kids is that "if you can't do it in front of me or your dad, then you probably shouldn't be doing it". As adults, the question we should ask is "if you don't want God to see you doing it, then you shouldn't be doing it" - the hard truth is - God does see you doing it. No matter what it is - are you embarrassed? ashamed? It doesn't matter if no one else is around, or if you're behind a computer screen where no one knows your identity - God knows who you are and what you're doing. Don't let satan make you think that living outside the authority of God is ever an option.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Witch of Endor - It's October....

1 Samuel 28:3-7 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said.

A little history for this - Samuel was a man of God, respected and sought after. Because the act of seeking out the dead was something God said not to do, all spiritists and mediums were sent out of the land. Now - Samuel has died and Saul is left with an army, the Philistine army, gearing up to attack.

Saul was in a predicament, so he called out to God. This makes me think of those movies where the main character comes into a situation that seems hopeless and he starts making deals with God. "If you get me out of this, I'll go to church every week" or "If you bring my son back, I'll start tithing" - when he hasn't uttered a word to God the entire movie. Now in the movies, they usually have the good ending where everything works out just fine - but for Saul, there was no light that suddenly got brighter, no voice speaking to him from out of nowhere, no dreams from the past or future - Saul got nothing. God remained silent.

This is where Saul made his mistake. If you are crying out to God and don't feel like you're getting a response - be assured, it's not because He's not there or doesn't hear you. This is the time where you need to look at your life and find out what is hindering the relationship between you and God. If you truly can't figure out what it is, ask God to show you what you need to work on. This is not what Saul did. Saul didn't have the time or patience to respect and appreciate a relationship with God - so he tries the other angle - the witch of Endor.

Our communication with God is vital to a strong walk in the Christian faith. When we are not getting the answers we want from God, are we seeking Him out, or are we searching for other solutions? It may not be as ghastly as reading horoscopes or playing with a ouija board. It can be as simple as taking the advice of a non-believing co-worker instead of waiting on God. It can be turning to food for comfort instead of waiting for comfort from God. It can be allowing our own wants to override what God wants for us. This is a good scripture on the importance of having a continual striving for a relationship with God.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jabez - Are you a Cookie Monster for God?

1 Chronicles 4:10d - And God granted his request.

This is the last part of the prayer of Jabez. It is the outcome of the prayer of Jabez. It's not very climactic. In fact, it's completely 'matter of fact'. It's as simple as 2 + 2 = 4 ; Man of faith asked = God of all granted. So why did he have to ask in the first place?

As I studied the prayer of Jabez, how he asked for things and God simply gave them to him - and pondered whether it was a one time occurrence and only meant for Jabez, an analogy came to mind. Many times, I will go to the store and while buying groceries, I will pick up something for the kids. Maybe some cookies or snack cakes, I might even get them some special drink and put it in the refrigerator - simply because I love them. Now when I get home, and put all the groceries away and then get busy doing everything else, I will probably completely forget that I even bought those items for the kids. However, if one of the children comes up to me and says, "Hey Mom, Can I have a couple of cookies" - I will then say - "Yes, I got those for you".

Now God doesn't forget, but I do think He has things for us and He's just waiting for us to ask Him for it. Does that mean whatever we ask for it will be given to us, since God has it waiting? Even though I have cookies for the kids, if they ask me to eat them a half an hour before dinner, I'm going to say "no". But that doesn't mean 'no' forever, it just means they'll have to ask later when it's not going to hinder them by spoiling their appetite. However, like the cartoon, when we start to go after things ourselves that God has said 'no' to, disaster can strike.

God loves His children. Jabez was a faithful and honorable man, one who knew the power of the Almighty. One who wanted to serve God and have a personal relationship with Him. His prayer is truly an example of God's unconditional love for us.