King Saul did many things wrong. God knew this before hand. In fact, when Israel insisted on having a king like the other nations God gave them a sober warning before he gave them exactly what they were demanding. (1 Samuel 8:10-18) King Saul was God’s punishment for Israel’s rejection of God being king over them. (1 Samuel 8:7, 12:17) Saul’s reign was exactly as God had told and it ultimately ended in suicide and the demise of many in his family. So says scripture of Saul’s death:
So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance.
Notice that scripture begins with and iterates Saul’s faith. It doesn’t even begin with Saul’s consulting with the dead. The chief sin emphasized is Saul’s lack of faith. Throughout his reign Saul had been full of pride and arrogance. Instead of boasting in the Lord Saul boasted in himself. Saul’s lack of faith was his fatal blunder because all that he did was just a manifestation of his lack of faith. Throughout his life, Saul’s lack of faith led him to do many things. He disobeyed God’s direct command to carry out capital punishment on an evil and murderous nation. Saul broke God’s regulative principle of worship, was anxious and placed his trust in his army instead of God when he offered an unlawful sacrifice. He hurt his family, friends and those who were loyal to him. At the end of his life Saul blatantly broke God’s law by even placing his faith in the dead when he consulted the medium of En-dor. It’s not like Saul hadn’t been told before. Earlier the prophet Samuel explained:
And Samuel said,
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.
This is Samuel’s cry of
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry? For one, it’s prophetic because God knew what Samuel would do later on when he committed the sin of literal divination. However, Saul was practicing divination already when his faith wasn’t placed in God. Mediums, consulting with the dead, divination and the lack of faith in God are all really just the same thing and equally evil in the eyes of the Lord. Whether you’re placing your faith in dead people, mediums, armies or yourself (pride) it’s all a vain act of faith in created things instead of the creator. It’s idolatry. This is all belittling to God. It’s saying that these created things are more worthy than God the creator. This is the lie that Saul and many others have truly lived, or rather, truly died.