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.
1 Samuel 28:20 (NLT)
After David had spared Saul for the second time, he knew he could never trust Saul again. Saul could behave like he had truly repented from his mistakes but after a while he repeated them again and wanted to kill David. So, David decided to move away from Israel territories with his men. They settled in the land of Philistines.
It was not an easy life for David and his men there. I suspect David chose a lesser evil. While he was there, he knew the Philistines had mixed feelings about him. First, they must have high regard for David who had defeated them many times. They must have felt David’s switching to their side as a great tactical advantage. On the other hand, they knew David was an Israel’s hero. They could not deny the likelihood that some day David might betray them. David was walking on thin ice. Any wrong move could cause him and his 600 men to be killed.
So, David and his men spent their days putting up acts to assure their host on their loyalty. They would attack people far away, took their plunder to their host and reported that they had attacked the settlements in Judah. Of course, they were careful in killing all the witnesses. Thus, they gave their Philistine hosts the impression that they had turned their backs on their country of origin and there was no turning back. The Philistines bought their story. David and his men were temporarily safe in the land of Philistines.
One day, the Philistines decided to attack Israel. David must have played his game so well that the Philistine ruler asked him to join them. That was a disaster for David. If he joined them, he would be seen as a traitor to his people. The people of Israel would never trust him again. If he refused, he would be killed instantly. David had no way out.
However, he still had God’s blessing in him. The ruler of the Philistines trusted in David but not his commanders. Those guys were still suspicious of David. They were afraid David might attack them from behind. So they demanded for David to be excluded from the expedition. David was delivered from this dilemma.
On the other side of the border, King Saul had lost all hopes.
5When 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 or by the prophets.
1 Samuel 28:5-6 (NLT)
He responded in fear. This means he had lost before the battle had even begun. He sought the Lord but he had no answer. In the past he had David to help him in such situations. However, he acted irrationally and wanted to kill David all because David did his job too well. After that event, I suspect none of the military officers in Saul’s army dared to perform too well in their jobs. After all, who wanted to suffer David’s fate? In short, Saul had no able people to help him.
At last, Saul resorted to a medium. That was a sin under the Law.
7 Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”
1 Samuel 28:7 (NLT)
Saul disguised himself, visited the medium and asked her to summon the spirit of Samuel. Surprisingly, the medium actually delivered results.
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.”
1 Samuel 28:15-19 (NLT)
Saul was devastated hearing the results.
Let us stop here and analyze the situation. The question, did the medium really managed to summon Samuel? Let us consider the possibilities.
Possibility 1: The medium really summoned Samuel.
If this is true, then God must have a very lousy security in heaven. Just imagine, you died and go to heaven. You were there playing golf with Abraham but all of a sudden you find yourself on earth because some idiot hired a medium to summon for you. How will you feel? The security system in heaven must be really bad for mediums to summon anyone they like from heaven. This must be a bad reflection to God. So, it cannot happen.
Possibility 2: The medium faked the entire process.
In other words, she acted everything there. She must have seen through Saul’s disguises. Saul could disguise his face but he could not hide his height. The Bible tells us that Saul was the tallest man in Israel. So, it was not impossible for her to act out the entire scene. If that is true, there are 2 unanswered questions?
1. How did she know of the Amalekites’ incident? The only people on earth who knew about it were Samuel and Saul.
2. If she was only trying to make a living, why did she not say something good to get some reward?
Obviously, this possibility cannot be true.
Possibility 3: Demons were involved.
After we have eliminated the earlier 2 possibilities, this must be it. It was not Samuel who talked to Saul. It was a demon. It knew about the incident of Amalakites because it was part of the plan. Saul’s insecurity had made himself an easy prey for the devils. In this incident, the devil was delivering a final blow to Saul that caused him to be totally defeated even before the battle begun.
As we read further, we can see that Saul had given up every hope. He did not even have the strength to stand. The medium had to feed him or he could have died there. What do you think will happen when the battle begun? Do you think the Israelite soldiers were motivated to fight for their country when they see their king had given up. It was a recipe for defeat. Israel was defeated before the battle begun.
Let us stop here to review our lessons. The main lesson here is on the devil’s tactics. No matter what variation of attacks the devil can deliver, the objective is always the same. It is to get us to give up in the inside. In other words, the devil wants us to give up our faith. Once we have given up our faith in God, we become easy prey. The devil is capable to use whatever at its disposal to get us to stop believing. They can use the physical circumstances, what others are saying, our past mistakes and theologians as long as it can get us to give up.
That is the objective. Therefore the only way to counter the devil’s tactics is to focus on God and not the circumstances. If you are poor, focus on how Jesus died poor to make you rich. If you are sick, focus on how Jesus took all your sicknesses and diseases at the Cross. No matter how bad the situation appears to be, God is working behind the scenes to deliver you. If you have made a firm commitment in your heart that you will not give up your faith no matter how bad the circumstances appears to be, there is no power in hell that can stop you from receiving your prosperity.
This is the reason why David had been winning even is situations where the odds were against him. If you want to be rich, healthy and success as God wants you to be, you have to make up your mind that you are going to believe in God even if the situation says the opposite.