Eyes flitting back and forth, the old man stepped gingerly through the grove. Every few moments he found himself trying to scratch away the itch that seemed to afflict him wherever the rough fabric touched his skin. "How can peasants become accustomed to such coarse cloth?" he wondered. He spat with disgust. Why would he stoop to these lengths just to get an answer to the question plaguing his thoughts? He was the king, was he not?!
Finally, he saw the cottage among a tight knot of sycamore trees up ahead. Wisps of smoke curled out of the crude, clay chimney. She was home! With his two bodyguards, he paused behind one especially large tree. He couldn't be seen here. He himself have declared that women like her should be executed. They waited, perfectly still, as the gathering dusk overtook the sky above. The shadows deepened until all they could see was the tiny flicker of a candle from cracks in her old house. Finally, satisfied, he stepped out into the opening and went to the door.
"What do you want?" The wary gleam in her sharp eyes spoke of her constant fear. The sight of the three men was sufficient to raise her internal alarm to near panic. People rarely found their way to her and most wanted to be far away from her grove before darkness fell.
The old king, satisfied that she didn't recognize him, conjured up a pleading tone: "I need to speak with the medium," he whined. "Is that you?"
Fearing a trap, her heart pounded as she answered slowly. "A medium? Why would you need one of those foul creatures?"
“I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”
“Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.” (1 Samuel 28:8-10 NLT)
On the night before his death, King Saul stepped willfully into the lowest pit he could imagine, hoping to save what God had decreed would be taken from him. The Lord had promised him that his heirs would rule throughout the generations if only Saul would seek and obey Him. Saul did neither. In fact, it was his failure to humbly ask God for his needs and wait upon Him for answers that doomed the monarch. It is the choicest irony then, that Saul spent the last night of his life asking a woman to conjure up the spirit of dead Samuel to give him the answers he could no longer get from God Himself.
In the New Testament, Paul wrote, "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6 NLT) Had Saul lived by that wisdom, his family would be remembered with honor rather than humiliation...
...which leads to the question: How are you doing with this command? Are you taking your needs to God, trusting Him to supply according to His wisdom and love for you? Or are you, like Saul, impatiently jumping in to do it yourself when you don't get the answer you want when you want it? The name for such trusting prayer is supplication. We will dig into it this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. Can't be there? Catch the podcast here.