Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” from 1 Sam 28
Samuel is dead, the Philistines have assembled to fight king Saul. Saul is afraid and unsure of what to do next. He prays but God is silent. So Saul asks his attendents, “find me a medium” which is basically a witch.
Saul was obedient in the past. We see in the beginning of these verses that he had already kicked out all the spiritists and mediums from Israel. This was a Biblical commandment from the time of Moses. He had stared his reign following God, but quickly he began to walk away from God’s path and make up his own way of doing things. His way however keeps making his life worse and worse. He becomes a paranoid man who even tries to kill his own son. He stops obeying God over and over again, and tweaking God’s instructions to exalt himself. And as a result God stops speaking to him.
Now I don’t think God stops speaking because Saul has sinned, but rather because Saul is unrepentant about his sin. The Bible, God’s sweet love letter to you and me is full of story after story of messy people going their own way who repent, and who God welcomes back with open arms. But here, we aren’t seeing that. Saul chooses over and over again to be unrepentant, and keeps making up his own way instead of choosing into God’s best for him. Even when Saul is caught, he admits to his sin, but we never see genuine repentance.
So what is repentance? I have heard it defined as turning back to God. It’s not just admitting you got caught, but changing your behavior and heading back towards God. God doesnt demand perfection. His whole Gospel story is full of messy everyday people, turning back to Him. But I believe He longs for His children to come back to Him.
Maybe you used to follow God as a child or as a teenager, but life has taken over and now you are just going through the motions. Trying to keep up with work, or kids, or dinner, or whatever. Maybe you have never cared to follow God a day in your life, but He is speaking to your heart lately. Gently wooing you back into His loving arms. Whatever the case, let’s all turn around. Let’s stop going our own way, making our own decisions. Let’s become men and women who turn back to God with our whole hearts.
God, I am sorry for going my own way. Doing my own thing. I am so grateful that you keep wooing me, even when I am far off. Today I choose to turn around. To stop going my own way, and start following your way. Would you show me now, in this moment, what needs to change in me. Would you reveal to me how I can begin turning my whole heart back to you.
Our blog is written by pastor Thornton’s wife, Erika. She is a full time, stay at home mom, happily raising five kids! She runs our Family Ministries at Cornerstone. In her free time she enjoys crafting, cooking, building forts with her kids, and staying up late watching TV with Jonathan. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Pinterest.