I Samuel 28-29; Chronicles 9; Acts 19

Do you read your horoscope every day? And are you excited to see what your fortune cookie has to say about your future? Maybe you think it fun to play a Ouija Board with friends. Many people believe that consulting the stars, the angels, the dead, or nature is a way to tap into revelation beyond our understanding. Magic and mysticism are as ancient as civilization. Harmless, perhaps, if you do not believe in God or His Son Jesus Christ, but dangerous to us who do. I’ve read that the study of Jewish mysticism is reserved only for Jewish male scholars, married, and over 40 to undertake. Psychosis, apostasy, or even unnatural death awaits the immature handling of Kabbalah. So I think I will tread lightly with my humble commentary on the following Scriptures!

I Samuel 28: “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim [priestly inquiry with stones), or by the prophets.” It is evident from this passage that God had communicated with Saul. All legitimate ways to seek God’s will. Yet these devices were given for the king who was in relationship with God. Thus, when Saul was rejected by God as Israel’s king, Saul’s questions went unanswered. In desperation, Saul disregarded Levitical Law and paid a medium to conduct a seance to hear from the dead prophet, Samuel. It gives me chills to read that she succeeded. Even more frightening is what Samuel had to say to Saul: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?”  Saul and his sons died the next day and the army of Israel fell to the Philistines.

How different Saul’s story is from David’s.  David, slayer of giants, conqueror in battle, yet forced to hide from Saul’s jealousy and murderous wrath, had reason to fear the future. David was living among the Philistines, feigning loyalty, and was in need of divine rescue at the same time as Saul. However, David had no priest’s Urim to consult, no dreams about his circumstance, and Samuel who had also been David’s prophet (I Chronicles 9:22 ) was still in the grave. Unlike Saul who time after time took matters into his own hands, David waited. God’s timely answer was the rejection by the Philistines to accept David as part of their forces against Saul and Israel. This provided escape from the battle, protection of David’s men, and prevention of David or his men from harming Saul whom David deemed God’s anointed.

We see a similar contrast of those who know the Messiah and those who don’t. Sweat rags used by the Apostle Paul were said to produce miracles of healing for many. Paul’s ministry caused the multitudes to glorify God and believe in Jesus Christ. Thinking this to be a means of gaining social power, however, itinerant Jewish exorcists tried  speaking the name of Jesus Christ over demons in a possessed man, only to be wounded and sent running out of the house naked (Acts 19:11-19).

Even without delving into a study on Biblical mysticism, it is obvious to me that to know and be known by God, to believe in and be saved by Jesus Christ, and to be given authority over the spiritual and natural elements cannot be imitated by non-believers. No amount of conjuring or rituals can exorcise demons. No consulting the necromancer, the medium, the astrologist, or luck itself will pull down the blessings of God, and only Yahweh has the answers we seek to life, love, and fortune.  Listen to Him!

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