Acts 13:22-23 says, “After removing [King Saul], He raised up David to be their king. He also testified about him and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do My will.’ From this man’s seed, in keeping with His promise God brought to Israel a Savior – Yeshua.” Gal. 5:19-23 states, “Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom. But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law.”[Read 1 Sam. 28-29]
Originally I was tempted to skip chapter 28 because it does not concern the growth of David’s character, but rather the utter downfall of his nemesis. However, this week I was reminded of the total relevance of this passage, through the teachings of Rella Shipman (a missionary friend of ours) which I was listening to in the car. For those who have not listened to her teachings, I have added the audio files to our website, and the links will be at the bottom of this teaching. So let’s go through the passage and see what the Scripture says.
In vs. 1-2 we shall see the preview of the scene, of which we shall see the final conclusion in Chapter 31. Achish forcefully commands David and his men to join him in battle against the Israelites; the word “must” is in the emphatic tense. David continues the charade with Achish with an offhanded comment, but Achish has truly bought David’s lie and makes David his bodyguard for life. This sets the emotional back drop for the rest of the chapter, and we are reminded that Samuel has died, and then told of something that Saul had done previously. Earlier in his life, Saul had done something right, and followed the commandments of Adonai (Lev. 19:31; 20:6-7, 27; Deut. 18:9-14) in getting rid of the mediums (necromancers) and spiritists (wizards) (vs. 3). It is interesting that when we have lived a life of rebellion against Adonai, we are often forced to go against what we absolutely know is wrong.
In vs. 4-6 we see that Saul is terrified. By this time in his life he has known that he has gone against Adonai, and now Adonai will not answer him in the usual ways. Adonai is silent, and when someone who has much to say is silent, that silence is deafening. (See Anna and the King) What is interesting is that 1 Chron. 10:13b-14a says that “he consulted a medium for guidance rather than inquire of Adonai.” This leads us to believe that his attempts at seeking Adonai were shallow, at best. Saul’s courtiers, at his request, then find one of the mediums that he had missed (reminds me of the Amalekites that he had missed as well). He then travels in disguise at night to see this witch in Endor. Why do we think that we can run from Adonai? Why do we try to hide from the one whose eyes blaze like fire? [Ps. 139: 7-14]
Once with the Medium, Saul asks her to conjure up a spirit for him. She then, with words dripping with irony, reminds him that Saul himself had cut off (killed or expelled) all the mediums in the land. In verse 10, Saul responds by invoking the name of Adonai, and swearing that she will not be punished for this action. This is the last recorded time that Saul ever uses the name of Adonai; what irony that it is in the embracing of witchcraft! “Oh how the mighty have fallen!” (2 Sam 1:19)
Ronald Youngblood said this, “Whether she saw Samuel in the flesh or an apparition or simply and internal vision, the medium’s reaction when Samuel appeared was one of shock and surprise: She “cried out”, an emotional outburst often linked with feelings of fear and dismay. The incident does not tell us anything about the veracity of claims to consult the dead on the part of mediums, because the indications are that this was an extraordinary event for her and a frightening one because she was not in control.” Many people want to argue that it did not really happen, or that it was all symbolic, or . . . . . But what does the text actually say? The Bible says (vs 15) that Samuel himself talks to Saul. There are many things that I do not know about the spiritual realm, there are many things that are forbidden for us to look into. Like (Deut. 18:14) states, we are not allowed to look into fortunes, omens, spells, etc.
In connection to the spiritual world, the medium was able to know things she did not already know. She recognized Saul, and was scared for her life (vs. 12-14). We also see that in this instance, only the medium was able to see Samuel. Samuel then goes on to give his last prophesy, and states ominously, “Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me!”
There is a lot here to unpack. The word occult comes from the root occultus meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” or “knowledge of the hidden.” So although there are very few people who identify as pagan, wicca, or witchcraft, the search for secret knowledge that gives you power is very alive and well in our society. Secret societies, horoscopes, kids’ books glorifying witchcraft, vampires, and zombies: all of this is seeking to raise a society that, either lives in denial of the reality of these things, or draws people into them. In general our culture outwardly states that the spiritual realm does not exist, and yet instead of seeing their lives as controlled by the stars, they see themselves as controlled by their DNA, or by their environment. However Scripture states in (Rom. 1:20 that we are all without excuse because we have all sinned (Rom 3:23).
Nowhere in Scripture does it say that these things do not exist. In [Psalm 82], Adonai stands in the assembly of the gods (elohim) and judges them for their unjust judgements. He then condemns them to die like men (also see Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:9, 20:9). And Yeshua quotes this Psalm in (John 10:34) as evidence that Him being the Son of God should not be a foreign concept. These principalities and powers most assuredly to exist (see Rom. 8:38; Col. 1:16, 2:15; Eph. 3:10, 6:12; Titus 3:1), but we know that 1 Jn. 4:4 states, “You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
We sometimes forget that part of our commission is to “cast out demons.” [Mark 16:15-18] The biggest problem that I see is that we are in agreement with the “spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7), or the “the spirit of the world” (1 Cor. 2:12) or the “spirit against-messiah (antichrist)” (1 Jn. 4:1-6). We have no authority to cast out what we are in agreement with. [Acts 19:13-17]
Yeshua has a great teaching on how the demonic operates. [Lk. 11:14-26].
- Satan does not cast out demons, which should be self-evident.
- Yeshua cast out demons “by the finger of God.”
- Casting out demons is part of the “kingdom of God.”
- Demons have armour or ways of protecting themselves from being cast out. (Lk. 8:26-34)
- After a demon leaves, and goes into the waterless places, it returns.
- If the person’s life (house) is simply cleaned and not filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, then it brings 7 more spirits with it.
We must realize, as the Scripture that we read above (Gal. 5:19-23) states, there is an intrinsic link between the “works of the flesh” or sin and disobedience, and the demonic. [Eph. 2:1-10] So our #1 tool in fighting the enemy is repentance because sin gives the enemy a legal right to bring retribution up to the 3rd and 4th generation (our children’s grandchildren)! [Deut. 5:9-10] We must repent, and come out of agreement to the spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7), spirit of infirmity (Lk. 13:11), spirit of confusion (Is. 19:14) and the spirit of error/false doctrine (1 Jn. 4:6). And we must repent for the works of the flesh that we have allowed to creep into our lives.
Links for Rella Shipman’s Teachings on Trauma and Deliverance:
 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, 1 Samuel. (12 Vols.; The EBC; Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1992), 3:781.