Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.
And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
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, 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: 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.
And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks. After this season of prayer, he stood on the banks of the Tigris River where he saw a man who had a glorious appearance. … The man, who was an angel, told Daniel to stand up. God heard Daniel’s prayer and it was in response to his prayer that the angel came to him in this vision.
Birth of Samson Manoah and his wife were childless, but an angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and told her that she would give birth to a son. … Manoah prayed and the angel returned to instruct the both of them.
Here are 11 times Jesus took demons seriously–and why you should too!
1. Temptation in the Desert
(Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)
Jesus went out into the desert and fasted for 40 days. During these 40 days, Satan tempted Him. Jesus resisted all of the temptations, and Satan departed. Matthew adds that angels came and ministered to Him following the temptations.
2. Demon in the Synagogue
(Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37)
While teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus was interrupted by a man possessed by a demon. He cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus ordered the spirit to be quiet and to come out of the man. The man convulsed, and with a loud cry, the spirit left the man.
3. The Possessed Swine
(Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39)
Jesus and His disciples were traveling in the region of the Gerasenes. When they arrived there, a man (Matthew reports two men), who had been living among the tombs because of demonic possession, approached Jesus and fell prostrate before him, calling out, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what have you to do with us?” The demons begged him, “Do not torment us.”
“What is your name?” Jesus asked.
They answered, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” They begged Him not to drive them away from that territory and requested, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
He allowed them to enter the nearby herd of swine. The pigs ran down a steep bank into the sea and drowned. The man who had been freed of Legion proclaimed to all the people what the Lord had for him.
4. Driving Out Demons by the Power of Demons?
(Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:20-30; Luke 11:14-26)
After Jesus drove a demon out of a person who was mute, restoring their speech, He was accused of driving out demons by the power of the Beelzebul (the devil). Jesus responded to the accusations:
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people* drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”
5. Jesus Rebukes Demons
While curing the sick, Jesus was approached by demons, who called out, “You are the Son of God!” Jesus rebuked them and ordered them not to speak because they knew He was the Messiah.
6. The Disciples Are Unable to Drive Out a Demon
(Matthew 17:14-20; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43)
A man came to Jesus and told him his disciples were unable to cast out a demon from his son. Jesus asked that the boy be brought to Him. Upon approaching Jesus, the demon caused the boy to convulse. The man told Jesus that the demon had forced the boy into fire and water in an attempt to kill the boy. The father asked Him to help “if you can.”
Jesus replied, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
“I do believe,” the man responded. “Help my unbelief.”
Jesus order the spirit to leave the boy. Once again, the demon made the boy convulse, and with a cry, the demon left. The boy laid on the ground motionless. His father thought he was dead, but Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him up. Later, the disciples asked why they were unable to drive out the demon. Jesus told them (from Mark’s account), “This kind can only come out through prayer.” In the Gospel of Matthew, He says, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
7. Greek Woman’s Daughter
(Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30)
A Greek woman went to Jesus and asked him to drive out a demon from her daughter. He replied, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
To which the woman responded, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Jesus then said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”
When she returned home, the demon had, in fact, left her daughter.
8. Mary Magdalene
(Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2)
Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke describes Mary Magdalene as someone out of whom Jesus had driven seven demons.
9. Jesus Warns About Satan
Jesus warns Peter about his denial of Jesus and the great desire of Satan to cause division among the disciples of Jesus:
“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat…”
10. Jesus Sends Disciples out with Authority Over Demons
(Mark 6:7; Matthew 10:1, 8; Luke 9:1)
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus sends His Apostles out to spread the Gospel. One of the directives He gives them is to drive out demons, and He gives them the power to do so.
“Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.”
11. Jesus Predicts Exorcisms
Jesus, after the Resurrection, told the Apostles to go out and evangelize. Among the signs He said they could expect to see was the ability to drive out demons.
“These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages…”
This list is not at all exhaustive, but should serve to illustrate that Jesus saw the great torment that resulted from demonic activity. He did not play games with demons; He rebuked them and drove them out. Demons and the occult are not fun; they are dangerous. But the Gospels also reveal that Jesus is stronger. Demons flee at His very name. Rather than invoke “Charlie”, invoke the Holy Name of Jesus.
GREAT PRAYERS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Reference: Psalm 119: 18
In this study we are to examine this prayer of David: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Our object will be to see exactly what it tells us and then to suggest ways in which we should pray this prayer, for it is a prayer which should arise from our hearts every time we read God’s Word. If we consider Psalm 119:18 carefully we shall see that this one petition embodies five truths. First of all we learn that:-
- The Bible is a unique book. In this section of the psalm it is described as “”your word”” (verse 17); ““your law”” (verse 18); ““your commands”” (verse 19); ““your laws”” (verse 20); “”your statutes”” (verses 22 and 24); ““your decrees”” (verse 23), and the emphasis in each case is upon the word ‘‘your’’. The Bible is unique because it is God’’s Book; He is the Author. David’’s Bible was much smaller than ours, but now we have in the completed canon of Scripture 66 books, all of which are unique as they are inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
- The Bible contains wonderful things. David says this in his prayer, and when we think of the scope of the Bible’’s contents –- its histories, types, poetry, doctrines and its prophecies –- we at once begin to realise how wonderful it is. It tells us about God, man, sin, death, heaven, hell and eternity, and above all about the amazing salvation that is in the Lord Jesus Christ –- look up 2 Timothy 3:15.
- Before we can see the wonderful things our eyes must be opened. It was this that David prayed for –- that he might “”see”” these things hidden in God’’s Word. We are just like the two who were walking on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-35). As we pray the prayer of Psalm 119:18 the Lord Himself comes near, revealing Himself to us and opening our eyes, so that our hearts burn within us and we hold fast to His statutes (verses 31-35). Compare 1 Corinthians 2:14.
- Only God can open our eyes to see the wonderful things in His Word. What we need is spiritual illumination, like that given to Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13-18; compare Matthew 11:25 and Psalm 16:11).
- To gain this illumination we must pray David’’s prayer every time we come to God’’s Word.
How should we pray? What things should we pray to see? There are three ways in which we, as individuals, should pray.
1. “Open my eyes that I may…” see myself and the sinfulness of sin.
We should begin here when we pray, for we were born in sin (Psalm 51:5); we have committed sin (Isaiah 53:6); and we only ever see ourselves and our sin as we look into God’s Word and He opens our eyes! In these days we are inclined to think that because of the progress man has made in so many areas, that our hearts are not so bad after all. Scripture teaches us the sinfulness of the human heart - Genesis 6:5; Isaiah 1:5-6; Isaiah 64:6-7; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; Ephesians 2:1-3. Now read about Lot’s backsliding (Genesis 19:1-38), Achan’s deceitfulness (Joshua 7:19-23), David’s impurity (2 Samuel 11:1-27), Peter’s denial (Luke 22:54-62) and Diotrephes’ pride (3 John 9). Are we any better by nature? When God shows us ourselves the revelation is very humbling. It was for Job (Job 40:4); for Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5); for the bride (Song of Songs 1:5-6); for David (Psalm 22:6); for Peter (Luke 5:8); for the Prodigal (Luke 15:21); and for Paul (Romans 7:14).
2. “Open my eyes that I may…” see the love of God and His mercy and grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We know the story of the grace of God so well, which is declared in John 3:16. How all-embracing is the love of God! Read again Luke 15:11-24 and revel in verses 20-24! The great proof of God’s love is seen at Calvary, and when my eyes are opened to see the Lord Jesus dying there for me I cry out, ”the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), and humbly say, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Have you had this view of Christ crucified for you and Christ raised and exalted as your Saviour at the right hand of God? Read Philippians 2:5-11 and say to yourself, ‘All this was for me!’
3. “Open my eyes that I may…” see the kind of Christian God wants me to be.
Do you ever read your Bible with this prayer on your lips and in your heart? If you do and if you read Psalm 1:1-3 you will see at once the kind of Christian God wants you to be. You will see this in Romans 6:12-14, Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 4:31-32 and 2 Timothy 4:18. God wants every one of His children to be victorious in Christian living and fruitful in Christian service, and He has made every provision for us to live for Him and to serve Him in this way. The Lord Jesus has died and risen again to give us His own victorious life, and this life is imparted to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
These, then, are the three special prayers that we should always pray when we take up our Bible to read it. Many other things will be revealed to us as well - so let us pray this prayer and cultivate the habit of doing this often, remembering that the Holy Spirit is with us and in us, waiting to answer our prayer and to give the illumination we need.