Saul seldom fails to the wrong thing, does he? He is terrified at the prospect of fighting the Philistines, who have gathered an army to fight Israel. Had Saul been willing to turn to God, had he truly repented of his previous sinful actions, he wouldn’t be facing the Philistines here and now, and God would be his closest ally. But now, Saul receives no comfort or guidance from the Lord.
So Saul decides that if God won’t answer him, the next best thing is to go to see a psychic. Makes sense to me. Let’s conjure up a dead person. That’s always a good plan. Let’s conjure up a man of God. How ridiculous.
The psychic (or witch as some translations have it) does see something, but what she sees cannot be Samuel because a) this practice is against God’s law, b) we know from Luke 16 verses 19 through 31 that God does not allow the dead to communicate with the living and c) the message from this demonic spirit is meant to discourage and defeat Saul. The real Samuel would have told him to return to God, to ask forgiveness. This demon reminds Saul of his failures, and wraps up by telling Saul that he and his sons will be dead tomorrow.
This, by the way, is one of Satan’s favorite ploys. He loves to remind us of our failures, of our sins. Even sins that we have already taken to God and turned from. Sins that we have asked forgiveness for. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. Psalm 103:12 tells us that God removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
But Satan tries to dredge them back up and rub our nose in them. He wants us to feel defeated and unworthy to do anything for God.
Satan is a liar and a cheater and a thief. Don’t listen to him, and don’t ever put yourself in the position Saul put himself in here by voluntarily seeking him out. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.