What does it say?
God is no longer speaking to Saul (1Sam 28:6). Not knowing what else to do, Saul seeks out a medium (witch) in Endor. Witchcraft was prohibited under the Law in Israel, but Saul disguises himself desiring to seek counsel from the dead Samuel.
David is again found among the Philistines hiding out from Saul (1Sam 29). As the Philistines prepare for battle, the other Philistine leaders are less gullible than Achish, don’t trust David and refuse to allow him to accompany them into battle.
Not allowed to go into battle with the Philistines, David and his men return to their encampment in Ziklag to discover that the Amalekites had raided kidnapping their wives and children (1Sam 30). David implores God to guide them and in the end recover all their loved ones with no losses. 1 Samuel ends telling the story of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths at the Battle of Gilboa (1Sam 31).
Psalm 18 celebrates David’s ultimate deliverance from Saul and is a revision of the same Psalm found in 2 Samuel 22. The language of the psalm is extravagant, poetic and gives God all the glory for his victories.
What does it mean?
Bible readers have debated for centuries whether or not the witch at Endor really called up Samuel from the grave, or if this was the impersonation of an evil spirit. Neither you nor I will end that debate, and ultimately it makes no difference. Evil spirits, witchcraft – all out of bounds! And, whether the real Samuel or not, no information is gained that makes any difference in the outcome.
Though obviously flawed, like us all, David clings to his faith in God and that God has chosen him for his mission. Some of the drama in David’s life is his own doings. Other issues are related to being God’s chosen representative. In the end, the victory belongs to God and all the glory and honor is due him. The scope and scale of David’s life may be different from our own, but most of us can readily identify with David’s journey through life.
How will I respond?
As you read Psalm 18, what is there that you can pray back to God today?