THE PRACTICE OF DIVINATION.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH PASTOR CHRIS OYAKHILOME.
QUESTIONS: “There is a story in the Bible when King Saul went to a woman that practiced divination and requested for Samuel to be brought up, though he was dead. Was it really Samuel that was brought up and if so, how, since Samuel was a man of God?”
ANSWER: Alright, it is very simple! Let’s go over to where the story is in the Bible – 1 Samuel chapter number 28. I am reading to you from verse 7; at this time Samuel, the prophet of God, was dead and Saul didn’t know what to do, because he always heard the Word of God from the prophet Samuel.
From verse 7: “Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment [meaning he took away the kingly raiment and put on some other raiment; that’s why it says other raiment], and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice [apparently in terror]: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. ” [1 Samuel 28:7-23]
Wow, great story, great story! Well, many of us believe that Samuel actually was permitted by God to show up at this time, for some reasons: one, that the woman cried out, apparently in terror, which would not have been the usual thing, meaning she was afraid when she saw who was coming up. Secondly, it appeared that there was a direct communication between the one who came up and Saul himself, because the woman saw Saul’s response. She saw that Saul was troubled by whatever that one who was brought up said to him, which means, that person that was brought up didn’t communicate through the woman; otherwise, the woman ought to know that these were fearful things and Saul would have been afraid or troubled. But, she had to see the reaction of the man to know; she saw the reaction of the King to know that Saul was afraid [or was troubled].
So, these things, somehow, have been a kind of controversy, but here is the important thing – the question as on divination; the important thing here is, God was not happy about what Saul did. God was still mad at Saul for going to the witch of Endor, which means whether it was Samuel that was brought up or it was a familiar spirit that came up, it made no difference to God at this time. God was saying, “Saul, King of Israel, you are wrong for going to the witch at Endor,” and I want to show that to you. So, whether or not it was Samuel, it was not pleasing to God, because what was important to God was that Saul went to the witch of Endor to consult a familiar spirit. See? What he wanted was a familiar spirit; he knew he was going to a woman who would bring up to him a familiar spirit. In fact, do you remember where we started reading from? The Bible tells us, from verse 7, “Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit,” so he was not expecting for Samuel to come up; he wanted a familiar spirit.
A familiar spirit is an evil spirit, a demon spirit that understands the language of a particular person; he knows the mannerisms of that person, knows the character of that person and can feign that character and even speak about the future and sometimes what they say could come to pass. Why? Because sometimes they can arrange it because these are demonic activities but because they are not God, it cannot be absolutely certain. So, God doesn’t want us to depend on them. But, this is important: let me show you this in 1 Chronicles chapter 10 from verse 13 tells us, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” [1 Chronicles 10:13-14] See? God was angry with Saul, and Saul died for not obeying the word of the Lord and for going to the witch to consult a familiar spirit. See that, “For asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it.” So, he was slain by God.
Now, in Exodus chapter 22, verse 18, to show you how bad Saul’s actions were [remember what the woman said to Saul at the beginning when she didn’t know it was Saul the King; she said to him, “Why are you coming to me? Don’t you know that Saul has driven away the witches and the wizards?” Remember that! Okay, but here in] Exodus chapter 22 from verse 18, the Bible says “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” [Exodus 22:18] God commanded them: “don’t permit a witch to live,” and Saul, being the King of Israel, should have actually killed this woman because she was a witch, and God said “you must not allow a witch to live.” This was a commandment He gave to Israel. In Isaiah chapter 8 from verse 19: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” [Isaiah 8:19] That means, “Why should the living seek information from the dead?” That’s necromancy [meaning a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead]! Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
So, God always let us know He was not in support of His children going to consult with familiar spirits or listening to messages from the spirits of the dead. So, whichever way, Saul was wrong and that’s what’s important. So, divination is not right in any form, whether you’re consulting with familiar spirits of those who are alive or you’re consulting with familiar spirits of those who have died or you’re just consulting with demons; it’s wrong! Don’t try to find the future by consulting spirits of the dead, whether that dead person was a man of God or not; you’re not supposed to do that. It’s wrong; you consult with the Holy Spirit and those whom the Lord has appointed over you. The Bible says [Isaiah 8:20] “…if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
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