The CCN, Preaching the word of God.

The CCN Daily Worship.

by Pastor Don. Roy Hemingway.

Gooooooooooooooooooooood morning brethren, May the Almighty God of hosts be with you this morning and thank you, for joining us here at ‘The Church of the Christian Nation’ for worship and praise. Let us begin as is our tradition every day here at the Nation, by reading from the word of God. Amen.

The Gospel according to….

1 Samuel 28. 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

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A ruined brick and stone arch at the northwestern entrance to the fifth century AD “Basilica B” in Philippi, with Philippi’s Acropolis in the right background.

And it came to pass in those days that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, “Know thou assuredly that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.”

And David said to Achish, “Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Therefore will I makethee keeper of mine head for ever.”

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those who had familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land.

And the Philistines gathered themselves together and came and pitched camp in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched camp in Gilboa.

And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart greatly trembled.

And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams nor by Urim nor by prophets.

Then said Saul unto his servants, “Seek me a woman who hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who hath a familiar spirit at Endor.”

And Saul disguised himself and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee.”

And the woman said unto him, “Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those who have familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land. Why then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”

A view of the arches over the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem, where Jesus healed the paralyzed man (John 5:2–9).

A view of the arches over the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem, where Jesus healed the paralysed man (John 5:2–9).

10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.”

11 Then said the woman, “Whom shall I bring up unto thee?” And he said, “Bring me up Samuel.”

12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul!”

13 And the king said unto her, “Be not afraid. For what sawest thou?” And the woman said unto Saul, “I saw gods ascending out of the earth.”

14 And he said unto her, “What form is he of?” And she said, “An old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed himself.

15 And Samuel said to Saul, “Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” And Saul answered, “I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.”

16 Then said Samuel, “Why then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lordhas departed from thee and has become thine enemy?

17 And the Lord hath done to him, as He spoke by me. For the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand and given it to thy neighbor, even to David.

18 Because thou obeyed not the voice of the Lord nor executed His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.

19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines; and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me. The Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

20 Then Saul fell straightway full length on the earth, and was sore afraid because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no bread all the day nor all the night.

21 And the woman came unto Saul and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, “Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hands and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spoke unto me.

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Arched shop doorways in excavated ruins of ancient Thessalonica.

22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength when thou goest on thy way.”

23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth and sat upon the bed.

24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hastened and killed it, and took flour and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread thereof.

25 And she brought it before Saul and before his servants, and they ate. Then they rose up and went away that night.

Morning Prayer.

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Dear Father in heaven, open our hearts to see and feel how our lives have been blessed. Open our hearts to your blessings so that we may look forward in thankfulness and joy to what lies ahead. Grant that we may be faithful to what we have received from you and never again lose ourselves in the passing moment and debauchery of this wicked and evil world. May we hold to all you have brought to our hearts from eternity, that your name may be honoured and our lives shaped anew in Jesus Christ. Give us courage to overcome the evils in life and to look with joy and confident expectation to the future, when the powers of your kingdom will be ever more clearly revealed. Thank you for your great goodness and steadfast love ‘O’ lord our God. In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

A Lesson for the learning.

 1 Samuel 28:14-20.

(14) So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. (15) Now Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ And Saul answered, ‘I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.’ (16) Then Samuel said: ‘So why do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? (17) And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. (18) Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. (19) Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” (20) Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.

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An aqueduct built by Herod the Great to carry water from springs below Mount Carmel to Caesarea, 10 miles (16 km) away.

The internal evidence from the narrative reveals a number of significant details to conclude that the spirit the medium saw was not Samuel but a demon impersonating him. One of the most obvious clues is that the text tells the reader outright—twice!—that the Lord would not answer Saul (I Samuel 28:6, 15-16), and there is no way that God would answer him through a lying spirit during an abominable séance! One of the points of the story is to show what desperate people will do when they are cut off from God, in fear for their lives, and without hope.

Yet, this does not mean that the demon does not give Saul a truthful answer. Acting as if it were Samuel, the demon wounds the king with the cruelest words it can use, complaining about being disturbed in his rest, mocking Saul for seeking him, and rubbing it in that God had left him and become his enemy. It reminds him of one of Samuel’s prophecies—given when Saul had disobeyed God’s instruction about the punishment of Amalek and its king, Agag (see I Samuel 15)—foretelling that the kingdom would be torn from him and given to another, David (I Samuel 15:23, 26-28). Finally, it predicts that both he and his sons would die in the next day’s battle against the Philistines, a reasonable assumption considering how overmatched Saul’s forces were.

The demon’s words have the desired effect: “Immediately, Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night” (I Samuel 28:20). Playing on Saul’s fears and weakness, the demon succeeds in bringing the big man low, destroying any remnant of hope. Later, after finally eating and resting (verses 21-25), he leaves the medium’s house a completely broken man.

So, what happened at En Dor?

A close-up of the stone tomb closure at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Possibly the site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection (John 19:41-42).

A close-up of the stone tomb closure at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Possibly the site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection (John 19:41-42).

1. At the end of his rope and highly susceptible to suggestion, Saul was ready to clutch at any straw of hope for a better outcome.

2. The medium was a fraud, bilking people of their money by preying on their superstitions. The spirit’s appearance shocked her.

3. At most God allowed a demon to impersonate Samuel and pronounce Saul’s doom to him, to give him the truth from the only source he had ever trusted to speak straight to him.

In the end, the story of Saul and the medium at En Dor is a morality play of sorts, an object lesson to teach how dangerous it is to forsake God and turn to the counsels of demons through sorcery and divination. It is a path of fear, despair, lies, curses, and death. It records the sad and tragic end of a man who had shown such great potential but who had allowed jealousy and pride to bring him and his house to ruin.

Blessing.

The traditional site of Simon the Tanner’s house (Acts 10:1-23) in Jaffa (biblical Joppa).

The traditional site of Simon the Tanner’s house (Acts 10:1-23) in Jaffa (biblical Joppa).

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious unto you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

May God bless you all and ‘The Church of the Christian Nation’, Amen.

Please look at the DONATIONS page if you would like to make a donation to the lords work in this place. Thank you.

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