June 18, 2023
“The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, 'Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.'”
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“The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, ‘Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. Now please listen to your servant. Let me set some food in front of you. Eat and it will give you strength so you can go on your way.’ He refused, saying, ‘I won’t eat,’ but when his servants and the woman urged him, he listened to them. He got off the ground and sat on the bed. The woman had a fattened calf at her house, and she quickly slaughtered it. She also took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread. She served it to Saul and his servants and they ate. Afterward, they got up and left that night.” 1 Samuel 28:21-25 (HCSB)
Now, this is a sad scene. Saul, abandoned by God, resorted to consulting a witch to ascertain God’s will. Seeing that Saul is terrified, and perhaps terrified for her own life, the woman prepared a meal fit for a king. Yet, all this amounts to making someone as comfortable as possible before facing total disaster. Feel the gravity of the hopelessness of that last sentence: “Afterwards, they got up and left that night.”
Does the scene not remind you of another “last supper?” Does it not bring to mind another religious and talented individual, one who preached the Gospel of Jesus and did miracles in His name? Do you remember Judas’ exit?
“Having received the piece of bread, he (Judas) went out immediately. And it was night.” John 13:30 (NKJV)
Surely, we do not think John merely wanted to tell us the time. He wants to tell us it was “NIGHT.” And what a night! It was like entering the outer darkness itself, the abyss.
But Judas and Saul were not the only ones who entered the darkness.
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?’” which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’” Mark 15:33-34 (NKJV)
If we are not careful, we make the mistake of believing we are detached observers of the stories of Saul and Judas. Of course, it would be very wrong to assume we are better than, not quite as stupid as or deserving of better than those two. The glory of the Gospel is that Jesus went through the darkness of God’s absence on our behalf. He endured the darkness and agony of God’s forsakenness. Doesn’t Jesus’ cry carry the same ring as “God has turned away from me and answers me no more?” (1 Sam 28:15)
At the “battle” of Golgotha, Jesus walked into the outer darkness in order that we might walk in the light of Life, by Grace, through Faith in Him. Is your faith in the One who endured the Darkness for you? Or does Darkness yet await?