1 Samuel 28:1-25 – Is Satan Real? You Bet Your Sweet Dreams He Is!

Posted: April 17, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
Tags: , , , ,

1 Samuel 28:1-25
Saul Consults a Medium

Are there really demons? Is there really a Satan? These are questions that we don’t want the answers to in modern society. We think of Satan and demons as creations of the church to keep us in line and that such things were never real. First, in order to do that, we must discredit the Bible. We must see it as old fashioned and flawed. Once we have that convinced in people’s minds, then, we can attack its doctrines as flawed and then eliminate them. Once we have people convinced of that, we can then begin to pick and choose what of the Bible and the doctrines developed from God’s Word that we want to believe. One of the main doctrines that we want to eliminate in our “just be a good person” world is the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell for our sins. That then makes Jesus unnecessary as a Savior. He is just a self-help guru who only wants the best for you. You can choose to follow or not to follow with no impact because in the end there is no hell. If you get rid of hell and Jesus is just a nice guy with good advice for clean living, then, it follows that there are no demons and there is no Satan. It makes up good stuff for movies that scare the pants off ya but, in the end, it’s not real, right? Since there is no Satan and there are no demons. We eviscerate the Bible to just one of many options to have obtain life help from. We can dabble in anything we want to dabble in because none of it is real. All of this talk of God, Jesus, Satan, demons and all that stuff is just folklore. We can pick and choose from Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, New Age because there is no consequence to what we should believe and not believe.

If there is no Satan, no demons, no hell, then there is no real evil. Then, there is no harm in playing games that consult the dead, because hey some religions do that. Seeking guidance from ancestors was the basis of some religions, right? It’s all OK because there’s no Satan, no demons, no hell, no real evil. Even allowing our kids to listen to satanic rock music and becoming obsessed with the occult and evil practices is OK, right? Because in the end there is no Satan, no demons, no hell, right?

The Bible tells us that Satan is real. The Bible tells us that demons are real. Jesus dealt with demons on more than one occasion as recorded in the gospels. You cannot believe in Jesus even as just a self-help guru without discounting his statements and actions against demons. In the letters to the churches, the apostles tell us that there are spiritual battles going on around us daily between the angels and demons. When we discount the Bible, we are free to believe and not believe whatever we want. Seeking information from ouiji boards, from psychics, praying to the dead has no impact, right? The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that we are to stay away from it. You may discount the Old Testament as no longer applicable to us but Jesus said that He to fulfill the law and not to abolish it. Sure, the situational specific instructions to the Israelites of the law are not applicable to us but the moral laws and the spirit of the law from the Old Testament is still valid for us and validates our specific and real need for Jesus. So, the restrictions against seeking advice from anything other than God is real and valid.

I will admit that over the years since I became a Christ follower that I have had a hard time in my modern sensibilities truly believing in the existence of evil spirits or demons. I had always steered away from Ouija boards, tarot cards, fortune tellers and things like that because I didn’t want to take a chance but didn’t really know whether such things were real or not. However, as I have grown in my faith over the years since my salvation in December 2001, I have begun to believe more and more in their existence because the Bible tells us that they are real. The Bible tells us that there are indeed spiritual battles going on around us. I fully believe that Jesus cast out demons from people during His earthly ministry. Media reports of mass killers dabbling in death metal music and the occult seem to confirm the existence of demonic influences, demon oppression and even outright possession.

Recently, I had an experience with its existence that is as real to me now as it was when it happened to me two weeks ago. While we were in North Carolina for the funeral for my father in law, we stayed with my brother in law and his wife. They live in this really, really nice subdivision in Huntersville, NC, a northern suburb of Charlotte. My brother in law’s wife and my stepdaughter told of nightmares that they had had while sleeping or taking a nap in the upstairs guest bedroom of my brother in law’s house. I just blew it off as coincidence and laughed when my brother in law’s wife said that the previous owner of the house had their teenage boy whose room in the house was that room. The neighbors had told them that the teenage boy was into the Goth thing and was really into occult stuff and that dark music often referred to as death metal. The afternoon after the funeral we had family and friends at my brother in law’s house. Between family and friends there were about 25 people there for the meal and fellowship afterwards. They have a big house but with that many people it was crowded. I decided to get away from it all and take a nap after the big meal. I went upstairs to the upstairs guest bedroom. Low and behold while sleeping in there I began dreaming. And from the beginning of the dream, I had this ominous feeling like in that Stephen King movie, “It”, where everything turned into something else. While dreaming a teenage boy with his back to me turned around and it was this evil spirt of darkness under the hoody and I could not see a face just blackness and the hands of the boy grabbed me and his hands turned into this greenish skin color and with ugly long fingernails and the voice inside the hoody said to be in a gravel-ly voice that “I will tell you the REAL truth!”. For some reason, in my fear, I gather the energy to stick my face into the hoody and scream, “the REAL truth is in the name of Jesus Christ!” and I immediately woke up in a cold sweat.

Maybe it was a dream drawn from the power of suggestion from two other people. Maybe it was just a dream induced by something I ate. Maybe, maybe. Maybe. But it to me was verification of the existence of latent evil spirits drawn in by the previous owner’s son who lived in that room. We can invite the existence of evil into our lives. We can think that it is not real. We can dismiss Jesus’ casting out of demons as fabrications of the church. However, as we have discussed many times here, the gospels and other New Testament books were written within the lifetimes of both the advocates AND enemies of Jesus Christ and no one ever disputed the contents of the gospels, the church history in Acts, nor the letters to the churches. Therefore, I choose to believe the evidence of the biblical record and believe in God’s ban against dabbling in things that invite evil into our lives.

My dream while taking a nap in bedroom once occupied by a person who dabbled in the occult and listened to music about evil, death, and the devil was what I immediately thought of when I read about Saul seeking out a medium. It is no wonder that God had turned His back on Saul. He was not satisfied ever with simple obedience to God but rather wanted things his way and would praise God one minute for giving him what he wanted and seek a medium the next when God wasn’t giving him what he wanted. Let’s read through this episode in 1 Samuel 28 now:

28 About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.”

2 “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.”

Then Achish told David, “I will make you my personal bodyguard for life.”

3 Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead.

4 The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. 6 He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots[a] or by the prophets. 7 Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”

His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men.

“I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”

9 “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?”

10 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.”

11 Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?”

“Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!”

13 “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?”

“I see a god[b] coming up out of the earth,” she said.

14 “What does he look like?” Saul asked.

“He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him.

15 “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul.

“Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.”

16 But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David. 18 The Lord has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites. 19 What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.”

20 Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.

21 When the woman saw how distraught he was, she said, “Sir, I obeyed your command at the risk of my life. 22 Now do what I say, and let me give you a little something to eat so you can regain your strength for the trip back.”

23 But Saul refused to eat anything. Then his advisers joined the woman in urging him to eat, so he finally yielded and got up from the ground and sat on the couch.

24 The woman had been fattening a calf, so she hurried out and killed it. She took some flour, kneaded it into dough and baked unleavened bread. 25 She brought the meal to Saul and his advisers, and they ate it. Then they went out into the night.

In this passage, we are reminded of the fact that God had strictly forbidden the Israelites from having anything to do with divination, sorcery, witchcraft, mediums, spiritualists or anyone who consults the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). In fact, sorcerers were to be put to death (Exodus 22:18). Occult practices were carried on in the name of pagan gods, and people turned to the occult for answers that God would not give. Practitioners of the occult have Satan and his demons as the source of their information. God does not reveal His will to or through them. Instead, He speaks through His Word, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. God did not answer Saul’s appeals because Saul had not followed God’s previous instructions.

Are you dissatisfied with God? Are you dissatisfied with His lack of answer to your prayers? Are you dissatisfied with the answer that He has given you? So what do you do? Will you seek out other forms of advice that are not of God? Are you willing to disobey God to get the answers that you want? Saul invited evil into his life because he did not want the answers that God gave him. He sought out the occult when God did vend the right product from the vending machine. That is why many of us drift toward making ourselves god and seeking alternatives other than God. We can drift into evil so easily. And when we become dissatisfied with God, and want to take matters into our hands like Saul, we are open season for Satan.

I am not saying that all of us will experience encounters with oppression or possession of some of these flashy instances of Satan’s existence because more often that Satan’s influence in our lives is more subtle – like a frog sitting in a pot of water where the heat is gradually, gradually increased to the point of boiling. The frog doesn’t even realize what is happening to him until it too late. It is the same most often with sin. We gradually allow ourselves to get entangled with sin because we want to do what we want to do. Satan entices us to do what we want rather than obey. He exists. He is real. He is sometimes blatant as in the examples I have given but most often he is beautiful and sly and invites his world little by little.

We must rebuke Him in the name of Jesus and take heed of God’s Word and obey, not because we are robots but because we love God and know that He wants to keep us from the harm that following Satan openly or subtly can bring to our lives.

Amen and Amen.

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