Tuesday, April 24

Looking for answers in the wrong places

Scripture: 1 Samuel 28-29, Psalm 109, Matthew 11

1 Samuel 28:15-16 “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Samuel asked Saul.

“I’m in serious trouble,” replied Saul.  “The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me.  He doesn’t answer me anymore, either through the prophets or in dreams.  So I’ve called on you to tell me what I should do.”

Samuel answered, “Since the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me?”

Observation

Saul disobeyed God and was rejected as king.  His animosity toward David (and his craziness) steadily grew.  Now here at the end of his life, he is terrified as he faces a battle with the Philistines.  He inquires of God, but hears nothing—and it’s been quite awhile since God has spoken to him.  So now what?

In desperation, Saul disobeys God again, turns to a medium and asks her to call up Samuel’s spirit, hoping to get counsel from Samuel.  It cost him his life (see 1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

Application

Setting aside all the questions about spiritism and calling up the dead—here is what struck me.  When Saul didn’t hear from God, he went looking for answers in other places, forbidden places.  What should he have done instead?    He should have repented of whatever caused God to withdraw from him, and then pursued the Lord until God spoke to Him.  I think of Jacob wrestling with the angel and refusing to let go until the angel blessed him.  

Like Saul, we often look for answers in the wrong places.  We rely on our wits, on other people, on the latest fad or technology, and some of us even turn to other “spiritual” answers.  

But when God seems far away, guess who moved?  It’s me—every time.  The solution isn’t to pursue an answer elsewhere, but to renew my pursuit of God.  

If God is not answering, what should I do?  Repent—turn to Him in desperation and cry out for an answer—and stay there until you get one.  

Matthew 7:7–8 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Prayer: Lord, I never want to be content with not hearing from You!  Make me a bulldog when it comes to hearing from You—help me keep at it until I do!