The Book of 1 Samuel shares a ghost story that needs to be considered during this time of the year. The prophet Samuel is dead. King Saul was inquiring of the Lord and God was not answering Saul through dreams, nor Urim, nor prophets. So Saul surrenders to self-will and sins by seeking a medium. (1 Samuel 28:3-25) The Bible is clear, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spirits, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” (1 Samuel 19:31) A warning to us all, mankind will justify anything, when they are not in fellowship with the Lord and hungry for spiritual fulfillment. Not only does Saul sin by seeking a medium, he promises protection for the woman so she will continue to sin by participating in an séance (1 Samuel 28:10) that is clearly against God’s will for mankind. (1 Chronicles 10:13; Leviticus 19:31)
King Saul asked the medium to call up the spirit of Samuel, a true prophet of God of whom the Bible says, “God let none of Samuel’s words [fall] to the ground.” “All of Israel attested Samuel as a prophet of the Lord… [God] revealed Himself to Samuel through His Word.” (1 Samuel 3:19-21) As the séance continues, the medium says, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth…” (1 Samuel 28:13) As we read the Biblical account, the Hebrew text says. 1.) The medium in fact “…saw Samuel.” (1 Samuel 28:12) 2.) “Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by brining me up?” (1 Samuel 28:15) 3.) We read that Samuel’s role and message is that of a true prophet of God, which was his calling.
“Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what He predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out His fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me [dead]. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.’ Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words.” (1 Samuel 28: 16-20)
It is imperative that we understand that no medium has the power or skill to disturb a saint outside the of the will of God. We should also take note, the message Saul received was not a pleasant one. There is a scary truth found in the whole of Scripture, be careful what we ask for, God might give us just what we ask, it may not be the message we want to hear.
King Saul represents the many who find themselves in deep distress because of their unwillingness to obey God’s Word, so they seek other means to find spiritual direction and satisfaction. In this Biblical account, Saul ask Samuel what he should do. (1 Samuel 28:15) It should be noted, the prophet Samuel ignores Saul’s question and moves to the consequences of continued walking in sin and the seeking of spiritual knowledge outside of God’s prescribed method, which is through obedience to Him.
Truths to this ghost story: 1.) Walk in obedience to the whole counsel of God’s Word. 2.) Living according to self-will as Saul did, invokes the chastisements of God 3.) Seek God’s direction in His prescribed way. 4.) The consequences of sin affects not just you, but those around you as well. Walk in a healthy fear of the Lord!
Perhaps the best known symbol of this season is the star of Bethlehem. It is common for Christmas trees to be crowned with a star on the top, with lights which shine like stars wonderfully scattered all about. The star is often an important symbol of the Christmas celebration. The star God used to lead the seekers to the place were Jesus was in Bethlehem was spoken of by the Magi in Matthew. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2) After giving Herod the exact time the star appeared, Herod sent the Magi onto Bethlehem. While on their way, the star they had been following led them to the place where Jesus was. The Bible says. “When they had seen the star, they were over-joyed.” (Matthew 2:10)
It is imperative that we understand these men were not kings, but a combination of wise men and priests, very likely from Persia. These men of prominence filled both roles of political and religious, men who would do the hard work of study. If these men were from Persia, the land that was once called the Babylonian Empire, the place were the Jews were held in captivity for seventy years. It is very likely these educated men would have come across some writings from God fearing Hebrews. There is no such thing as coincidences, only God’s full controlling hand. It is safe to assume, these men may have came across writings like what is found in the Book of Numbers, Balaam’s prophecy, “A star will come out of Jacob, a scepter will rise out of Israel.” (Numbers 24:17)
It is interesting, the Bible says the star appeared and led them to the house were Mary and Jesus was. It is as simple as this, A super natural star in the atmospheric heaven leads the wise men to Jesus who was born through a super-natural birth. Herod took the leading of the star seriously, everyone else should to. Herod responded with fear, someone being born who he thought would take his place as king. People who want to be king and lord over their owns lives, respond to Jesus much like Herod did. Kingdom seekers, respond much like the wise-men did, they worship the Lord. The star of Bethlehem pointed people to were Christ was, through the declaration of the wise men, secular kings, Hebrew priest and all of Jerusalem were well informed.
God used physical matter to draw attention to the Christ, He also used Scripture to point to Jesus. Matthew writes, “King Herod… was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priest and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judah.’ …this is what the prophet wrote, ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler Who will be the shepherd of My people.” (Matthew 2:3-6) . .
Scripture declares, “…we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21) The Book of Revelation has this Scriptural revelation, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
Christians who have a heart desire to be a shining star for the Lord must be able to show seekers how the whole of Scripture points to Jesus being the Messiah, the Christ who is the Savior of the world. God also uses people to point others to Christ. John 1:6-8 says, “There was a man named John. He came as a witness testifying concerning the light [Jesus], so through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” (John 1:6-8) In John chapter three and four we read of the beloved John testifying that Jesus is God’s Son. In the Book of Acts we read of Stephen pointing the Sanhedrin to Christ. (Acts 7:1-60) The Apostle Paul many times over pointed people to Jesus. Both Stephen and Paul used the Holy Scriptures to teach about the Lord and point people to Jesus Christ. At the baptism of Jesus, God Himself spoke from heaven, “This is My Son, Whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
All Christians have at some point of their lives have been told by someone who Jesus is. Christians have in some way told others enough about the Bible’s teaching in regard to the Christ who was born to die for the sins of the world. God, through the Holy Spirit enables us to understand the Scriptures so we may believe and have eternal life. Let the Holy Spirit awaken you to a Devine truth. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. …. let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16) . We have the Great Commission through Jesus Christ, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father… Son… and the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
God’s Word gives clear direction for us, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” (Philippians 2:12-16)
At that first Christmas, the star was successful in bringing attention to Christ. The Scriptures point to Jesus, God wants us to point others to Jesus Christ! The world view holds many in the dark. The star was not shining in a building or only where people who are like minded could see it. It brought attention to Jesus before the eyes of those who live a far off, His enemies, all of Jerusalem, and especially to those who are wise, Kingdom seekers. During a time were Satan and the world view of Christmas is out shining the Christ of Christmas, we are called to get the Scriptures out through radio, the local paper, the internet, all of our modern day media resources.
God Has the Final Word
The whole of Scripture teaches that mankind is created by God and given the choice to live for Him (Joshua 24:15), to live for self (Galatians 5:19), the world (Mark 4:19) or believe the lies of the devil (John 8:44). The world view and the devil effectively used the selfish flesh to cheapen the value of human life. The whole of Scripture teaches that God created mankind, what He says is the final word.
1.) Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” “Created” (בָּרָא bārā) an active verb meaning only God can create mankind (Genesis 1:27), heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1), the heavenly host (Isaiah 40:26), the new heaven and earth (Isaiah 65:17) which is yet to come. – Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 161). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Isaiah tells us God is the creator of this heaven and earth, He gives breath and spirit to the people who live on it. (Isaiah 42:5) The highlight of God’s creation is human life, coming forth from Divine deliberation, God the Farther, The Son and the Holy Spirit, “Let us make man.” There is a humorist joke about a scientist who told God that mankind no longer needed Him. They are now able to create mankind on their own. God wanted to give the scientist a chance to prove himself, so God invited the scientist to go back to his laboratory and create a human being. As the scientist was leaving, he reached down and picked up a handful of dirt, in which the Lord said, “Hey! You get your own dirt.” Human life alone is created in the image of the Trinity. “Image” (צֶלֶם ṣelem) meaning in the likeness of God of which we have the opportunity and responsibility to be an example for the Lord morally and ethically. (Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) There is no confusion in the Holy Scriptures, mankind is made up of both male and female, they alone are to be united in marriage. (Genesis 1:27; 2:20-27; Matthew 19:4-6)
2.) God’s guiding hand on human life is in play before birth. God’s revelation to Jeremiah, “The Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you…'” (Jeremiah 1:5) God ordains and anoints a person for every work He wants to accomplish. (Huey, F. B. (1993). Jeremiah, Lamentations (Vol. 16, p. 49). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.; Isaiah 49:1) Romans 8:29, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” “Foreknew” (προγινώσκω proginṓskō) used in God’s eternal counsel includes all He has considered and purposed to accomplish prior to human history. “Consecrated” (קָדַשׁ qāḏaš) means to set apart, to be treated as holy. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 980). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.)
God has ownership over all mankind, He created them, He has ordained them and promises to always be with them. It is up to each person to surrender to God’s perfect will for them. It is not for us to cheapen a person’s life saying they have no value, just because we can not see nor respect them. Life in the womb or out is unique, has purpose, having God’s ordained call upon their life. God will have the last word in regard to every human life. Americans need to embrace God’s value on human life!
Publically Informing The Misinformed
There is a phrase often spoken among those in Christendom, “Preaching to the Choir.” A term to describe when the preacher is teaching on a topic familiar to and approved by the audience. A truth worth grasping, this is exactly what is happening today. For the most part, Christian radio, writings and preaching in churches are addressing a crowd that is familiar with the topics being taught which are approved by their audiences. Very seldom is the church effectively getting God’s Word out to people who are jaded by their own views, to a people drawn by worldly enticements and to people who are blatantly being lied to by the Devil’s influences. While standing in the pulpit of a church an elderly Pastor told those he was speaking to, “It is a waste of time and money to get the word of God out through the news, radio and internet media.” The church he oversees today is still ineffective in informing their community about the issues of the day. Thus the world view, “The church has no answers for us today.”
The church must reclaim her call, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2) Our charge is made before God and Jesus Christ for the purpose of building the Kingdom of God. The charge, “Preach (κηρύσσω kērússō) the Word… (λόγος lógos)” meaning to publish abroad, announce publicly, [outside church walls] proclaiming the truths of God’s Word along with the privileges and obligations of the gospel of Christ as it pertains for today. (Zodhiates, S. (200) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament; Luke 8:39; Mark 5:20) The Word of God must be taught weather it is popular or not popular among those who are being informed of the Lord’s view, directions and expectations about the issues being discussed. This charge goes beyond teaching Christian truths in the church, it gives Christians a command to go outside the church walls and proclaim His truth (Luke 8:39; Mark 5:20) about the challenges being faced by people every day.
Christians who study to show themselves approved of God, must reclaim the charge given in 2 Timothy. Obedient Christians publically address [outside the church walls], the Sanctity of Life, Biblical Marriage, Sexuality, God and government as well has other social challenges. There are so many avenues God has for us to use, radio, TV, internet, twitter, texting, as well other opportunities. Is your church publically addressing the issues of today through publishing the whole council of God’s Word?