“And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.”
I Samuel 28:5, 6
Saul, as the first king of Israel, knew what it was like to have the Spirit of God working in his life. However, Saul began to act willfully and impulsively, and disqualified himself from reigning as king. Instead of sincerely repenting and turning back to God in humility, he sought to justify his rebellion and continued down the path of pride and self-confidence. The Bible says, “The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul” (I Samuel 16:14). Saul remained steadfast in his will to reign without the leadership and blessing of God. When the Philistines gathered their armies to fight with Israel, Saul was overcome by fear. He prayed to God, but “the LORD answered him not.” After everything else failed, Saul disguised himself and sought the counsel of a woman that had a familiar spirit, engaging in witchcraft.
What a sad state for a man who once walked with God. Saul was out of touch with the Lord, and desperately needed advice. Frustrated and fearful, he looked practically anywhere for spiritual direction. There is one place he did not look. He did not look to God with a sincere heart of repentance and brokenness. He did inquire of the Lord, but there is no indication he sought God in confession of his life of disobedience and rebellion. He did not want to repent and honestly get right with God. Saul just wanted God to give him help against the Philistines, but “the LORD answered him not.”
When we turn against God and the commands of His Word, we cannot expect Him to give us the direction we need. He is not obligated nor inclined to answer the prayers of those who have rejected His leadership. God wants to guide us. We need His counsel at all times, but especially in times of crisis. This is where Saul was, facing a dreadful enemy, yet unable to get God’s advice.
What should we do when it seems that the Lord is not answering us? Our first priority must be to sincerely and humbly seek the Lord, and honestly confess any known sin in our lives. God’s silence should be an incentive to inventory our lives and forsake every bit of self-will and prideful independence, that again we might be able to hear Him.