(1 SAMUEL 28:3-20)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references
are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973,
1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise
noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a
blackboard or some other visual aid. This lesson can be
found at: <url:http://www.CameronLaw.com>

Introduction: We read and watch testimonials from people who
have had a "near death" experience and heard some exciting
revelation from the dead. Others tell us that they have
special methods by which they learned secrets from those who
died.  One reason for spending so much time in past lessons
on the state of the dead was to provide a basis for arguing
that the dead do not communicate with us.  If the dead do
not communicate with us, who is communicating with these
people?  God? Angels? Aliens? Or, for the near death people,
is this the result of oxygen deprivation?  Let's look at one
of the most interesting stories in the Bible to help us
solve this mystery!


               A.   Read 1 Samuel 28:3-6.  When you have a difficult
          problem or are afraid for the future do you turn to

                         1.   That is what we are supposed to do, right?

                         2.   If that is what we are supposed to do, why
               didn't God answer Saul?  What reasons can you
               suggest?(D.F. Payne, in his commentary I & II
               Samuel, page 142, says that Saul had long been
               going his own way and bowing to nobody's
               advice.  Now he would have no one's advice.
               We must make it a practice to turn to God and
               follow His advice.)

               B.   What is the significance to the story that Samuel
          has died? (Samuel was the one who gave the Lord's
          messages to Saul. (See, for example, 1 Samuel 15:1-

               C.   By what means did Saul try to learn God's will in
          our story? (He was looking for a dream, he inquired
          of the High Priest (Urim) and he talked to

                         1.   Are these means of learning God's will
               available to us today?

                         2.   Consider the general nature of these means of
               communication. Will God personally give you a
               message through a dream today?

                         3.   The Urim and Thummim (see Exodus 28:30)were
               the way in which God communicated His will
               through the priests.

                                   a.   Is there any parallel means of
                    communication today?

                                             (1)  Do you agree that a general parallel
                         today would be God giving you an
                         answer through your minister?

                         4.   How can we learn God's will through prophets
               today? (Prophets provide us with God's will
               through their writings in the Bible or through
               someone who has that spiritual gift.)

               D.   Read 1 Samuel 28:7. Is this what Saul should have
          done?  Does this reveal a commendable search for
          God's will or does this reflect a character defect?
          (This is more of the same sin that got Saul into
          his current problem   following his own will
          instead of God's will.  If God did not want to
          speak to him, he should have accepted it and not
          tried to force God to give him a message.)

                         1.   Why did Saul look for a medium when (v.3) he
               had expelled them all from the land? (Perhaps
               in anger towards God he would try to
               communicate in a way that he knew God forbad.
               (Leviticus 19:31) Perhaps it was born from
               desperation.  Perhaps he felt he must talk to
               Samuel, who had told him God's will in the

                         2.   Do Saul's actions make any sense to you?
               Could he force God to talk to him?

                         3.   Who do you think Saul thought he was going to
               speak to through a medium? (If he knew the
               Torah, he would know this was detestable to
               God. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) So Saul certainly
               should not think he was going to speak to God.
               God complains in Isaiah 8:19 that people
               should consult Him instead of mediums. The two
               are mutually exclusive.)

                         4.   Let's pause at Deuteronomy 18:10-12 for just a
               minute again.  This seems to assume you can
               talk to the dead?

                                   a.   Can you?  Does this text prove you can?

               E.   Let's get back to our story to see if we can answer
          this question of whether Saul was really speaking
          to the dead. Read 1 Samuel 28:8-10.  If Saul had
          expelled all of the mediums from the land, how is
          it his attendants know of this medium in Endor?
          (This says something about the people he used as

                         1.   What does the medium tell us is the penalty
               for consulting a spirit? (Death.)

                         2.   Why does the Bible put that detail into this
               story? (We are reminded that Saul was running
               all the red lights.  Even the medium reminds
               him that this is wrong by his own decree!
               Notice that Saul swears by the living God that
               he will not punish the medium! Isn't that
               something?  Taking an oath on God's name that
               you will not obey God! It is obviously time
               for a new king.)

               F.   Read 1 Samuel 28:11-16. We have more clues in our
          debate on whether Samuel is really talking to Saul.
          What reasons do we gather from these verses to
          believe that this is not Samuel (besides the fact
          that he is dead)?

                         1.   Let's say that Samuel is in heaven?  Would his
               spirit come out of the ground? Is that the
               direction of heaven?  Would he still look like
               an old man if he were in heaven?

                                   a.   Would he be in "great distress" (v.15) if
                    he were in heaven?

                                   b.   If Samuel was unconscious in death (as we
                    have studied this quarter), then "the
                    ground" is the right direction, but can
                    you suddenly become conscious for a little

                         2.   What do you think about "Samuel's" first
               words?  From what is Saul disturbing him?

                                   a.   Checkers at the retirement home for the

                                   b.   Perpetual sleep?

                                   c.   If he were in heaven, wouldn't he be
                    anxious to communicate God's will? If he
                    were in heaven, would he in essence be
                    saying, "Go away kid, you bother me?"

                         3.   If this were really Samuel, God's faithful
               servant, would he speak to Saul when he is
               expressly on notice (v.15) that God has
               refused to answer Saul? (This is the strongest
               proof that this is not Samuel.  If it were, he
               would be engaged in the same sin as Saul
               refusing to follow God's will.  Going around
               God.  Further, if this were really Samuel, his
               first words would not be that Saul was
               bothering him!)

               G.   Read 1 Samuel 28:17-20. What does "Samuel" mean
          when he says (v.19) "tomorrow you and your sons
          will be with me?" (That Saul and his sons would

                         1.   Was this a true prophecy? (Yes. Read 1 Samuel

                         2.   Where, precisely, was "Samuel" that he should
               say that Saul would be with him?

                         3.   Remember that in 1 Samuel 28:16, "Samuel"
               tells Saul that he is God's enemy?  If this is
               Samuel, will God's enemies be in heaven?

                                   a.   What about Saul's son Jonathan?  According
                    to v.16, he too is with "Samuel?" (The
                    Bible never says anything bad about
                    Jonathan. 1 Samuel 14 records one of the
                    most remarkable acts of faith and trust in
                    God when Jonathan and his armor-bearer
                    "single-handedly" beat the entire
                    Philistine army in combat.)

                                             (1)  Tell me what you think is going
                         through Jonathan's mind in these last
                         days and hours? (This is precisely
                         the kind of situation in which God
                         and he had previously formed a team
                         and prevailed.  He is now dying, not
                         because of any sin on his part, but
                         because of the sin of his father.
                         Worse, he is dying to give way to
                         David. It is worthwhile to read the
                         surrounding chapters in 1 Samuel
                         because it reveals that David is
                         hardly a model for doing God's will
                         at this time because he tells the
                         Philistines he is willing to fight
                         against Saul, Jonathan and his own
                         people!  I think this is a real test
                         of Jonathan's faith.)

               H.   We obviously have a fulfilled prophecy in the death
          of Saul and his sons. Can the Devil predict the
          future?  (No.)

                         1.   Does this modify your thinking on who is this
               "Samuel?" (I can't predict the future, but I
               can give a pretty good guess on some things.
               Look again at v. 17.  The Devil knew what
               Samuel had prophesied to Saul. He also knew
               that God was not answering Saul. He also knew
               the odds of Saul winning this battle without
               God's help.  So, it was not much of a stretch
               to figure out that Saul had come to the end of
               the line. My vote is that Satan is speaking to
               Saul through "Samuel.")

                                   a.   How would Satan know that David's sons
                    would also die? (The same verse (17) says
                    that the throne would go to David.  This
                    should not happen unless Saul's sons were
                    all dead.  Thus, the Devil could have also
                    picked this up from Samuel's prior
                    prophecy to Saul.)

               I.   Read 1 Samuel 28:20 again. What effect do you think
          Saul's mental attitude had on his chances of
          winning the battle the next day?


               A.   If you were to consult a medium, to whom do you
          think you would be talking?

               B.   Would it be best to avoid this, even though the
          medium, might, like "Samuel," correctly tell you
          what will happen in the future? (Read Acts 19:13-
          17. These evil spirits are allies of Satan if not
          Satan himself. (See Matthew 8:16) They only have
          our destruction in mind.  We should flee these
          kinds of situations.)

               C.   Are we better off knowing the future? Was Saul
          better off knowing the future?

                         1.   Do you think that Saul really knew the future,
               he was just hoping that God would talk to him
               and give him a way out?

               D.   Friend, the destruction of Saul was gradual.  He
          turned away from God little by little until he was
          willing to violate God's direct commands. His fate
          was sealed. Pray that you will not turn away from
          God.  That you will constantly seek God as opposed
          to Satan and his allies.