The Philistines muster their army in preparation for war against Saul. Saul finds that God will not give him direction “either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.” (1 Sam 28:6). In utter helplessness Saul turns to the witch of Endor.

That a witch survived in Israel is remarkable. The Lord had commanded that they all be removed, but Saul again disobeyed God and witches were still present in the land. According to tradition, the woman was the mother of Abner, Saul’s general. This, if true, might explain why she had not been driven out of the land.

Pascal once said that man is born with a God shaped vacuum in their lives. Since it is God shaped, only God can adequately fill that vast void. One commentator wrote, “Humans are not self-sufficient beings; they are dependent on God for a holistic life. So when a person moves away from God, he realizes his imperfection and insufficiency and seeks substitutes for God. But because no other person or force can substitute for God, such a person ultimately ends up in self-destruction. This is what happens in the case of Saul. The proper course of action for a sinner is repentance and return to God, who alone is able to restore that person to life in fellowship with God.”

But Saul, like many today, accepts a substitute rather than repenting and confessing his sin to the one true God. Thus, to him and to all those who follow his lead, God remains silent and distant.

John addresses this issue in the first chapter of his first letter. He writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” Galatians 3:26-27