Saul had chosen not to obey God, but he still wanted Godís support. He had seen how large and powerful Philistiaís army was; he was very afraid of the battle that would happen soon. So Saul began to pray. He wanted to receive a message from God that would give him confidence for the battle.
However, God gave no answer to Saulís prayer. The author of 1 Samuel gives a list of the methods that God used to speak to Israelís kings:
(1) Dreams. Of course, not every dream is from God. However, sometimes God uses a special dream to speak to one of his people (Job 33:14-18; Joel 2:28). God spoke to Solomon in a dream in 1 Kings 3:4-15.
(2) The URIM and THUMMIM (Exodus 28:29-30). These were probably precious stones; Israelís chief priest carried them in his ephod (a special shirt).
Saul had often asked the chief priest to use these objects in order to inquire of God (for example, 1 Samuel 14:36-42). By this means, God would show the answer to the chief priest. Then the chief priest would declare the message that God had told him.
Some people think that the URIM and THUMMIM were a kind of lot. In other words, it seemed as if the chief priest was making a decision by chance. However, really, God was guiding him (Proverbs 16:33); so the chief priest had received a message from God.
Saul was unable to use this method because Abiathar, Israelís chief priest, had escaped with David into Philistia (30:7-8).
(3) Prophets. The prophets were Israelís holy men. (There were also a few female prophets, for example Huldah in 2 Kings 22:14). For most of Saulís life, Samuel had been Israelís principal prophet. He had frequently given messages from God to Saul, and Saul depended very much on him. Now Samuel was dead. Gad had begun to act as a prophet; he gave a message from God to David in 1 Samuel 22:5. Perhaps there were also other prophets in Israel then.
However on this occasion, none of the prophets gave Saul any message from God. The result was that Saul became even more afraid.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.