1 Samuel 28:11
Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up to you? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
This was a cry wrung from the heart of a man who believed himself forsaken by God. "His soul was orphaned," without God in the world."
1. Have you never felt that orphanage — when God seems to have gone out from your heavens, and the universe appears a vast, sunless, godless infinite, black as night? The world without a sun! The flower stems bend over filled with icy tears shed for the loss of the sun that gave them all their colours, the bleached leaves hang without a flutter in the still, cold air, or fall rotting in the dark, the cattle of the field, perish for lack of sweet food and soft warmth, and the shivering hearts of men freeze within them — for the sun died last night. A soul without God, in awful solitude, starless, sunless. If you have felt that orphanage, and lived through doubt and despair to believe in God, happy are you. If you have never known it, happy are you also.
1. Saul was without God in his soul — he was alone; what should he do? Do! What could he do? Why could he not be quiet, and stop still? The sun would not forever be on the under size of the world, the night would not last forever. One of the most fruitful errors of mankind is that irrepressible desire to do something; men cannot wait. Pascal said that most of life's evils sprang from "man's being unable to sit still in a room." This restless unquiet is the cause of business depression; men must speculate, "do something;" there was a mania for excessive action.
2. Saul would do something, no matter what! He would seek a witch, and she would raise up Samuel to him. Ill omens crowd his mind, and his heart fell when he heard the mysterious seer from the afterworld add his ghostly word to his own too sad prevision of disaster and ruin on the morrow. He needs no ghost to tell him that, 'tis already too surely known. Oh, power of conscience! A guilty conscience fills the soul with phantoms that are tongued with evil. The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a soul. Conscience speaks in whispers; but, if unheeded, its whispers echo quickly back and back from the close walls of the dark prison house of the soul, until, gathering strength, they reverberate like sounds of volleying thunder. Small as an earthworm, conscience may swell, until at last it becomes a great stinging serpent.
3. Hope is belief in God; hope is the anchor of the soul, which, tossed on the rolling ocean that is full to bursting, and driven helpless by the wind that is wet with storms, is steady, for deep buried in God's bosom is the anchor, trust in our Father in heaven. The wise ancients said that Hope was the only gift left in Pandora's box; it is the last thing that dies in a man. To lose hope is to lose oneself. By hope are we saved. Be not ashamed to hope; hope the highest things. Such is our Christian duty. A soul losing hope in God is like a traveller going down some mountainside as the broadening sun sets behind him; at his every step his shadow widens, lengthens, blackens, till at last he is shrouded in midnight darkness, and with way lost, tumbles over the crag into ruin. Hope then in God; doubt but hastens peril. Look up, out, of thyself; and learn that the darkness is thine own, that the heavens glow with light. Thou despairest of good, saying that there is no sun? Open thy closed eyes, the darkness is in thine own soul only. Despair is the only atheism; hopelessness is unbelief in God; Hope thou; that is, believe in God; he that believeth not is damned. But hope, which is the presence of God, never dies — never.
(B. J. Snell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.