“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.
For Saul, it started with fear. He was getting regular reports about the gathering Philistine army and was terrified by them. He had beaten the Philistines before, but this time things seemed worse than usual. Perhaps because he felt so alone.
He cried out to God in his fear, but not even the Lord would answer him. He tried every method he knew and none of them would generate a response. But then, God had told him He was leaving him on his own and to not expect any more help. And why? Because of the choices he had made.
Finally, Saul turned to truly desperate measures. He sought out someone to raise Samuel’s spirit from the grave in order to ask his old mentor what to do (more on exactly what we should do with this later). Yet not even Samuel would help him.
We find ourselves in the scary place Saul was in here for one of three reasons. Either we aren’t aware of the help available to us, we aren’t willing to receive the help available to us, or we’ve isolated ourselves from it. The first situation comes by ignorance. It’s fairly easy to overcome. The second comes by arrogance. It’s harder to overcome, but not impossible. We’re the thing standing in the way of help in this case.
The third situation is the hardest and the one Saul found himself in. He had driven away all of his sources of help and hope. He had isolated himself because of the choices he had made. And, as this story unfolds, we see that Saul had so severely isolated himself that he couldn’t repent and humbly seek the help he needed. He had cut himself off from it and couldn’t go back. His heart was hard.
Friends, watch out for making the kinds of choices that drive people away and harden your heart. This is a path that leads to destruction. It is not one you want to take. And, no, this path is never an inevitable one. It comes from a series (not a single) of choices, all made poorly.
If you are cutting yourself off from the people around you because of the choices you are making, stop it. You may be making them for a variety of bad reasons (there aren’t any good ones), but the end of this path isn’t something you want, or that anyone wants for you. Repent and receive the help that’s readily available. Receive the love the Father is waiting to pour out on you. Come back to the path of life. You and everyone else you know will be glad you did.