Let’s be honest. Sometimes the Bible includes things we wish weren’t there. Like the time King Saul consulted a medium and talked to Samuel. Yeah. That Samuel. The Prophet of God who had been dead for a while. Saul talked to that Samuel. And Saul talked to that Samuel using a medium. Another way to say it is Saul was able to talk to a dead Prophet of God by way of a witch.
See what I mean? Sometimes the Bible includes things we wish weren’t there.
I don’t like this story. It makes me nervous. I don’t have categories for it. It gives me the willies. It goes against so much of what I believe. It rubs against my own life experiences. It makes my Baptist bones rattle a bit. I can handle the fact that Saul consulted a medium. He’d already proven throughout 1 Samuel he was not the godliest of men. The reader could kind of expect Saul to do such a wicked thing. I can even handle the fact that this medium/witch tried to “bring Samuel up” from the dead. It’s weird. It’s spooky. But it’s what medium’s do. The part I have a hard time with is that Samuel – dead Samuel, mind you – actually talked with Saul! In other words – it worked! This witch did something God forbids – at Saul’s request – and the dead anointed Prophet of God had a conversation with selfish Saul.
I told you! Sometimes the Bible includes things we wish weren’t there.
What are we to do with this? Is it okay to do? Even if it isn’t, can we get a pass sometimes? Can I talk to the dead and not be punished? Heck, is it even possible to talk to the dead? I have so many questions with very few (if any) answers. Sometimes the mystery of a passage is what allows God to be who He is. If God were fully understood He would cease being God. So there will always be things we don’t understand. Always. And that’s okay. Often, the beauty is in the mystery.
Here’s what I know, however. God indeed forbids this type of activity. It is not right. It is not wise. It is not safe. It is not something He deems as good and/or best for us. In other words, I do not recommend trying to talk to the dead. Remember the dead. Be grateful for them. Tell God to tell them you love them. Miss them. Long to be with them. But I do not recommend attempting to talk with them. I especially deter you from using a medium to do so.
I also know this. The same thing God told Samuel to tell Saul when Samuel was alive is the exact same thing Samuel told Saul when he was “dead.” Saul didn’t like his fate. Saul didn’t like what was planned. Saul wanted a different opinion. Saul wanted another perspective. Saul was hoping to have a “get around” from what God had ordained. Whether dead or alive, however, God’s message was the same. Which is the point, I think. God’s Word is the same – no. matter. what. It doesn’t change. He doesn’t change. You can try to drum up the dead if you want to attempt a different outcome (though I would not recommend it). You can try to rearrange what God has said if you desire (though not a good idea). But even if it “works,” God’s word and plan and purposes will not change.
The best thing we can do with our time today is not try to figure out divine mysteries. Rather, the best use of our time is to know the God that is revealed to us and rest in His sovereign, good, loving, and perfect plan. Now. If you’ll excuse me, I am going to go talk to the One who was once dead, but now alive again.