1 Samuel 28:3-25: Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft


  • Saul’s sin
  • The unforgivable sin


One of the saddest characters in the bible is King Saul. He seemed so promising and started off well, but then revealed a heart that was not really concerned about God but himself. We are approaching the end of Saul’s life. The end of the book of Samuel is a little like a Quentin Tarrantino movie, it breaks off from one story to follow another, but the sequence of the stories are not chronological. For example, 1 Samuel 29 which records the account of David being rejected by the Philistine army, and then having to rescue his people from the Amalekites is previous to the events of this chapter yet are put after. This structure set up a deliberate contrast for us. The contrast is deliberate to show us the difference between a believer who falters, and yet whom God graciously preserves, and the unbeliever who is hardened and whom God forsakes. In this chapter we will be analysing Saul’s sin, you will remember from 1 Samuel 15 when God commanded Saul to wipe out the Amalekites, that Saul took matters into his own hands and adjusted God’s laws to something a little more reasonable for himself. It was then that Samuel uttered the famous words, ‘Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.’ In this chapter we see that Saul goes all the way into witchcraft itself in his disobedience towards God. We want to look at his life today as a warning not to harden our hearts in disobedience. I want to zero in on a particular type of person. This is someone who goes to church but is not saved, has a little religion, but who ends up rebelling against God by rewriting God’s laws to suit themselves. Being in church today means this could be you, if you are a child from a Christian home this could be you, this is someone who uses God but then twists things to serve himself.