Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 28:5-7

“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, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him, ‘Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.’”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you felt alone, scared, and desperate? Saul was a mess here. His world was falling apart and even though he was the king of Israel, he had a pressing sense that he couldn’t do anything about it. That’s a scary place to be. It’s the kind of place that leads us to make some choices that would normally not even enter on our radar. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 15:35

“And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Have you ever regretted anything? Of course you have. You may even have a lengthy list of things you’ve said or done which afterwards you wished you had not. That’s part of sin being loose in the world. If you had known you were going to regret them, you might not have said or done them (okay, you probably still would have done some of them anyway because, sin, but many of them you would have avoided). But, you don’t know everything. God does, though, so what are we supposed to do with Him expressing regret? Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 15:9, 13

“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction. . . .And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.'”‬‬  (ESV – Read the chapter)

What were God’s instructions to Saul? He was to destroy everything when he attacked the Amalekites. Everything is a hard word to misinterpret. In pretty much every occasion it means…everything. It doesn’t leave anything out. Now, perhaps it can be used hyperbolically, but that wasn’t how God used it in His instructions to Saul. He meant everything. And Saul didn’t obey. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 14:24

“And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)‬‬

This whole episode is just bizarre. Saul makes this tremendously egotistical and foolish oath and everything fairly well falls apart. This is another one of those stories that leaves you wondering why it got included in the Scriptures in the first place. A more contextually important question is this: How did Saul get made king in the first place? Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 13:12-13

“I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)‬‬

There’s a lot going on here, but at a glance, this seems like another one of those places where, yes, though Saul didn’t do what the Lord had apparently told him to do, He’s overreacting to his failure to do so rather wildly. But, while that is perhaps the obvious understanding, it misses the bigger and more important picture. Let’s take a look at that one. Read the rest…