1 Samuel 28 | Witchcraft: Evil, Ineffective, and Useless

by | Jan 7, 2021

READ 1 Samuel 28

The LORD has done exactly what he said through me: The LORD has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David. (1 Samuel 28:17)

One of the things I’ve noticed more and more is a rise in witchcraft and “Wicca.” According to the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study it is estimated that as of 2014 the number of people who identified as “Wiccan” or Pagan was up close to 1 million people from about 340,000 as of 2008. Those numbers are expected to be higher as we step into this new decade. Now the Bible does condemn witchcraft and the like to be sinful and evil. So why would people turn to it? Like any sin, people turn to them because they are trying to gain something. For some, they want the comfort of hearing from a deceased relative. They want to know if they’re doing well. For others, they are afraid and want something or someone to ease their fears. Others worry about their future, so they want to know what to expect. Well, besides just calling witchcraft sin, which it is, the Bible also addresses this practically. A little story in 1 Samuel 28 shows exactly why mediums, witches, potions are all powerless and ineffective solutions to dealing with the things we face in the world.

In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul is on the cusp of another battle with the Philistines. He is worried about the battle because God has not given him any confirmation that he would win. Well, God has not answered Saul because Saul had rejected God (1 Sam. 15:10-35). So Saul decides that if he can’t get an answer from God he’ll go to a medium. So they found a medium and Saul commanded her to “consult a spirit” (1 Sam. 28:8). Saul says to the woman, “Bring up Samuel for me.” (1 Sam. 28:11). Here’s the first thing to see. The woman screams immediately upon seeing Samuel and she is surprised when Samuel does in fact appear. She cries out and it reveals that this was not something she was used to. This was outside the experience of her so-called magic arts. It’s clear that this woman could not compel Samuel to appear. However, God allowed this to happen.

So Saul, having Samuel before him asks Samuel what he should do regarding this impending battle. He’s asking Samuel because God has not spoken to Saul. Ironically, Samuel says this in response: Since the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me? The Lord has done exactly what he said through me: The LORD has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David.

These words were the exact words that were spoken by Samuel in 1 Sam. 15:28. In other words, God’s answer was still the same. God’s Word is God’s Word. In summoning a medium all Saul has done is do evil because God’s word calls it sin. Saul went to a medium seeking answers, and all he received was a reminder of God’s Word. The medium he consulted had no authority or power to change God’s word. The medium didn’t even have power to summon Samuel as indicated by her surprise at his appearance which means witchcraft is ineffective. Maybe you are looking for God to answer and you feel like he isn’t. The answer will not be found in going to a witch or a seer. The answer is found in the Word he has already revealed and those are found in The Bible. And this makes witchcraft useless.

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