One time, in Old Testament Bible times (1 Samuel 28), King Saul went to a medium to find out what he should do and he went in a disguise. In a disguise. To a medium. To find out what he should do. As king. In a disguise. To a medium.
Saul was going to a medium because the Philistines wanted to fight (as per usual) and God didn’t answer Saul right away how he wanted so Saul took matters into his own hands.
I bet there is a book or a study written about all of the times people gave up on God because He didn’t answer right away the way that they wanted and so they took matters into their own hands and then everything sucked. If I wrote the book (huh, maybe I will) it would be called “Ishmaeling It Up” with no colon because I don’t like the way nonfiction books always have colons and then everything the book is about. Just read the summary/back cover like everyone else nonfiction readers.
Anyway, Saul was probably like, “Hey God, can you tell me in a dream tonight what I should do?” and then God didn’t and so Saul was like, “Fine!” *arms crossed, foot stomped* “I’ll go see a medium!” There were probably some more steps in there but commentators say that Saul’s heart probably wasn’t really in it, because if it were, he would have waited a bit on God’s reply before going to a medium, so my interpretation is close.
Interesting thing to note here – Saul had essentially banned all of the mediums and necromancers from his land. So he made it illegal to go see a medium. And then he went to see one. So to clarify and recap, Saul is going to see a medium, who he hopes will be able to give him supernatural wisdom and direction by calling up the prophet Samuel, who has died, so that Samuel can tell Saul what to do. And he (Saul) goes in a disguise.
So he either isn’t that bright or he doesn’t actually believe that this medium has any supernatural sight vision powers, because I imagine that any medium worth her salt would be able to see through a disguise. Especially a disguise worn by the king. Who outlawed her profession. And is now coming to her. In a disguise.
It seems that the medium didn’t realize Saul’s identity until Samuel actually did come before them, and Samuel is like, “What!” and Saul is like, “Help!” And Samuel says, (and this one is a direct quote), “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done to you as He spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 28:16-18)
Aha! So now we get down to it. The reason the Lord did not answer Saul was that HE SAID HE WASN’T GONNA if Saul didn’t obey Him, which he didn’t do.
Okay so the Old Testament can be really easy to dismiss because it’s sometimes hard to understand and difficult to relate to and seems old fashioned and we have Jesus now and genealogies, am I right? It’s also really easy to dump on the Old Testament folks, especially those dumb dumb Israelites, because hindsight is 20/20 and we are on the outside looking in and it all seems so obvious to us. BUT.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament is the God of right now today and the Word was in the beginning and everything everywhere in every verse in every Bible points to Jesus.
AND. WE ARE those dumb dumb Israelites and WE ARE Saul and WE ARE Abraham telling the same self-serving lie twice and hoping for different results. Who among us hasn’t doubted right after God did something amazing for us? Who among us hasn’t stressed about money even though God has never ever let us go hungry or homeless? Who among us hasn’t grown impatient with God and taken things into our own hands?
Saul is #relatable and so are the Israelites and we can’t deny it if we self-assess for more than two seconds. Which means that we can learn from them, instead of judging them. So let’s see. We can learn here from Saul’s foray with the medium that God does what He says He is going to do. The Old Testament is still applicable not just because every single story points to our great need for a Savior King Messiah Jesus, but also because the Old Testament is full of “if/then” statements. God says, over and over again in different ways, “If you obey me, then you will have a blessed life. If you disobey, then your life will suck.” In so many words.
So, now, we look at God’s Word, we look at God’s Creation, we look at God in each other, we look at God in ourselves (in our dreams, in our plans, in our secret alone thoughts and hopes, and in our conversations with ourselves) and we discern what God is asking us to do. Then we do it. We do it scared and we do it unsure and we do it unprepared. Because the alternative is going to a medium in a disguise or telling the same self-serving lie twice or throwing a fit in the desert because “I don’t want that for breakfast we had that yesterday wah.”
If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention the Israelites or the Old Testament or any of these churchy words, take a look at this video, which is only FIVE MINUTES long, for an overview of the entire Bible.