How did King Saul really die?
Saul's sin and death
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(Saul's disobedience; Saul at the necromancer in En-Dor; Saul and the witch in Endor)
Bible text: 1 Samuel 28 + 31
Teaching: Accept God's help.
Bible verse: Deuteronomy 5: 7 (Elf): You shall have no other gods besides me.
"Oh no!" Moaned King Saul. "We'll never make it!" Saul looked around. He stood with his whole army on the mountains of Gilboa. There were many soldiers with him. But on the other side, there with the Philistines, the enemies of the Israelites, were many more soldiers. And they looked very dangerous. The mighty King Saul was frightened. He really panicked. What should he do? He had no choice, he had to fight the Philistines. But he already knew he didn't really have a chance.
"Oh, if only Samuel were still alive," sighed Saul. Samuel was the prophet of God who anointed him, Saul, king. And if Saul needed help or wanted to know God's will, he'd asked Samuel. Well, to be honest, Saul hadn't always liked what God had said through Samuel either. At some point Saul no longer wanted to listen to Samuel. At some point Saul had enough of God and his commandments. And then Samuel had told him that he, Saul, would not be king much longer. God would have chosen someone else by now, David. Of course, Saul didn't like that. But now he could use Samuel's help again. And God's help too. But Samuel had already died. Saul looked once more at the host of the enemy. It was really big and terrifying. Saul was scared again.
"God has to help me!" He said firmly. And now Saul was doing something he hadn't done in a long time. He prayed. "God help me against my enemies. Tell me what to do!" Saul prayed. Saul hoped God would answer him. Perhaps God spoke to him through a dream and would give him courage and promise his help. Or God sent a prophet other than Samuel. Saul waited. But nothing happened. It was like God was silent. Why then only? God had offered Saul his help over and over again. Again and again God had spoken to Saul. But what had Saul done? He had refused God's help and did not want to listen to God. Maybe you feel the same way sometimes. You hear something in the children's church service or read something in the Bible and you know very well that God is talking to you now. God is telling you what to do. But then you think, "No, I don't want that." Maybe God is telling you not to lie. But then you lie. And now you are afraid that your lie will come out. You pray to God and ask him that no one will discover your lie. What do you think God will do? I think God won't help you then. Because God offered you his help beforehand and you refused it. Therefore, listen to God and accept his help. Not like Saul. God had offered to help him, but Saul had refused. Now that Saul was in need, he wanted God to help him. But it was too late now.
Saul found that God wasn't answering him. But what should he do now? Saul brooded and then something occurred to him. There had been many fortune tellers and necromancers in Israel. But Samuel had told Saul many years ago that God didn't want that. At that time Saul had still listened to Samuel and chased or killed the fortune tellers and necromancers from the country. "But now I could use it," Saul thought to himself. Saul turned to his servants: "Do you know where there is a necromancer around here? I want to go to her." Saul's servants were surprised. Saul himself had forbidden it. But they actually knew one: "In En-Dor lives a woman who can conjure up the dead," they told Saul. "We will go to her," decided the king.
What did God say again through Samuel many years ago? That God didn't want anyone to go to such people. Do you know why Because God knows how dangerous it is to go to fortune tellers. For soothsayers and necromancers are people who work with God's enemy, Satan. And he never means well to us. If Satan offers us his help through fortune tellers, it is not to really help us, but to harm us. Because Satan is the enemy of God. God's help is much better because God means well to us. And God always offers us his help. Therefore, accept God's help. He means well with you.
Saul had refused God's help and now he again did not listen to God's command and made his way to the necromancer. So that no one would recognize him, he disguised himself and only started when it was already dark outside. He took two of his men with him. In the middle of the night they came to En-Dor and found the Necromancer there. "I want you to bring up the ghost of a dead man for me," Saul pleaded with her. The woman looked at Saul skeptically. "You know it's forbidden. If King Saul finds out, he'll have me killed." Little did she know that it was Saul himself who was facing her. "You don't need to be afraid," Saul assured her, "nothing will happen to you."
"Okay, which corpse do you want to talk to?" The woman finally asked. "With Samuel," Saul replied. Suddenly the necromancer turned pale. She got very scared. For now she realized that King Saul himself was standing before her. But she was also scared for another reason. Because she saw someone else. An old man in a priestly robe. She had never seen anything like it. Something was different here than usual when she made contact with the dead on behalf of other people. Because otherwise the dead never really came to her, but some demons. Because nobody can bring the dead back to earth. That is not how it works. The dead are in a different place. Even fortune tellers or necromancers cannot do that. You can't talk to them either. When someone says they are making contact with the dead, they are really talking to demons. That is very dangerous. That's why God forbade it. If someone tries to persuade you to go to a fortune teller, do the commuting, table moving, or something else, then by all means say no. Because it's very dangerous. You will not get any real help, but contact demons who want to harm you. But God's help is always good. Never accept his help.
The necromancer was startled. Because here came Samuel, not a demon. But she couldn't get him. But God himself had sent him to give Saul another message. "What do you see?" Saul asked curiously. "I see an old man who is wearing a priestly robe," the woman explained. "This is Samuel," Saul marveled. He prostrated himself before him. "Why did you disturb my rest?" Asked Samuel. "I'm very afraid. The Philistines are fighting me. And God doesn't answer me," Saul explained. "That's why I wanted to ask you for help. Tell me what to do." "Why are you asking me for help?" Asked Samuel. "God left you because you rejected him. You know that God will take the kingship from you and give it to another, David. Tomorrow you and your sons will die. The Philistines will defeat Israel."
When Saul heard this, he became even more afraid. He had no more strength and fell to the ground. He hadn't expected that. But why not? He had rejected God after all. It was too late now. Why did he now expect God to get him out of his situation? The necromancer saw how powerless Saul was. She quickly prepared something to eat so that he could regain his strength. When Saul was a little stronger again, he went back with his men.
But now the great battle was before him. The enemies, the Philistines, were strong. But the worst part was that God wasn't with him. So the fight went exactly as Saul had feared. Saul's sons were killed first, including Jonathan, David's best friend. Saul fought as best he could. But then he was seriously injured by an arrow. "I'm going to die," Saul knew. But he wasn't dead yet. "Please kill me," Saul asked his arms bearer. Saul would rather die than let the enemy get their hands on him like that. But Saul's arms bearer was afraid. He didn't want to kill his king. Saul was so desperate that he took his sword and eventually killed himself.
When the Israelites saw that their king was dead, they all fled. Many people died that day. Why didn't God help? God had offered his help beforehand, but Saul had refused. It was too late now. But God already had a new plan, a new king who would not refuse his help, but would accept it. David.
Saul's life was over. It had started so well. God had chosen him to be king. And it could have continued as well if he had accepted God's help and listened to God. Don't do it like Saul, but accept God's help. Do not reject God and his word. Because he means well with you.
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