November 17, 2021

When the Answer is No

1 Samuel 28:3-20

[Saul] inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him. . . .

—  1 Samuel 28:6

Saul had to fight with Israel’s enemy the Philistines again. And when he saw the opposing army, “he was afraid; terror filled his heart.” He wanted to ask the Lord about what he should do, but the Lord did not respond to him. Saul needed advice, but old Samuel the prophet was dead. So Saul decided to use a medium, a spiritist, to try to communicate with the spirit of Samuel from the dead.

Saul persuaded a medium at Endor into conjuring up the spirit of Samuel for him. Though God had told his people not to do this (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6), Saul did it anyway.

Old Samuel told Saul that the Lord had torn the kingdom from him and given it to David. The Philistines would crush Israel, and Saul and his sons would die. When Saul heard this, he fell to the ground, “filled with fear because of Samuel’s words.”

God’s no to Saul was an attempt to wake him up and turn him away from trying to get his own way. But would Saul listen?

Oftentimes for us too, the Lord’s no might be his way of trying to get our attention to repent from destructive choices and choose a different path. What will it take for us to trust and obey God?

Lord, I don’t like to hear that my plans won’t work out. Forgive me for pushing for my own way. Help me to receive your no as a yes to your plans that will give me a purpose and a future that honors you. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!