Witch of Endor

By: jdcharles63
Date: 04/11/2018

Next Saturday is pageant day, so Christmas is not far away.

I like Christmas, sharing time and gifts with family and friends, whether or not they share our Christian faith, they are still very dear to me.  And leading up to Christmas we will see public gestures of hospitality and generosity by people with all sorts of different beliefs and unbelief.

So, we could ask, “Does it really matter what people believe, or is it enough that they are generous and charitable?”


An example of this outwardly kind hospitality is given in 1 Samuel ch. 27, which tells the story of Saul on the night before he died.  In earlier years Saul had obeyed God and driven the mediums or witches out of Israel.  Later he disobeyed and separated himself from God.

On the night before battle he was desperate.  He had not eaten all day, he was very weak, and against the command of God he went to consult a witch at Endor.

When she learnt he was her former enemy, she was afraid.  But then she saw he was very weak, and was to be killed the next day in battle.

She prepared a meal, killed a fat calf and baked unleavened bread, and persevered in persuading Saul and his attendants to eat until they did so, which gave him strength again.

At face value this appears to be a wonderful story of a woman who, although she disobeyed God, was very compassionate, and was kind and generous to Saul, who had previously persecuted her.  It’s an example of the very best this world has to offer.

And many people would say this shows it doesn’t matter what you believe, it’s what you do that’s important.

But in Romans 14:23 we read: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin”.

In other words, if God is not at the centre of our lives, our selfish nature takes over, and even our best acts are sin.


And in this story there is sin.  You see, the witch of Endor still feared Saul.  She knew that only if he ate would he have the strength to go to battle and be killed, and then he would no longer be a danger to her.

So her meal sent Saul to his death.


Harmful temptations do not come from an ugly person on a broomstick with a witch’s hat, they come from the best and kindest gestures this world has to offer.

Like Saul, we are aware that the penalty for our sin is death. But Jesus offers us a meal;

In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty”.

Just as Nicodemus chose to be dense in understanding when told he must be born again, so were some of the disciples about the meal that Jesus offered.

But Jesus directed us to look beyond the surface things that our limited human vision sees, to the immense reality beyond that, and in verse 63 he explained, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”.

We have an overwhelming hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, something that nothing of this world can satisfy.

It’s a much deeper hunger, for which all of our frantic worldly acts are just displacement activity, like a child who can’t sit still when he is hungry.

At the Lord’s table now, we follow a precious command that directs us toward the meal Jesus offers us, when through faith, his spirit changes us from within, and he lives in us and through us.

As Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”.

Here we turn away from the best this world can offer, which leads to death, and turn to the very best our Heavenly Father could offer – his son, who gives us his Holy Spirit, and real and everlasting life.


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