Why did God cause King Saul to die in battle and his dynasty die with him? Was the death of Saul God's judgment against him, and if so, what did Saul do wrong that caused God to judge against him?
"So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse" (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).
There was more than one reason, but one of the reasons, according to this passage, is that Saul consulted a medium for guidance.
Do some of us in the Church of God do this?
A medium is part of the world of the occult. A medium, as I understand the term, is someone who is thought to communicate with the dead. Yet we know that the dead are unconscious, asleep in the grave, and we cannot communicate with them. If a medium communicates with anyone in the spirit world, it is with demons, whether the medium knows it or not. A demon may pretend to be a dead person to the medium, but is not.
Saul consulted a medium to inquire, he thought, of God's prophet Samuel, who was dead. He wanted to know about the battle he would soon have with the Philistines, that is, he wanted to know what he should do. He knew it was wrong to consult a medium, and he himself had tried to get rid of all mediums in the land in the past. But this time, he decided to consult one. The full account is in 1 Samuel 28:3-19.
The medium saw something that looked like Samuel (1 Samuel 28:11-14). But we know that man does not have an immortal soul as the pagans think. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:3-4). This was not Samuel, but a demon impersonating Samuel. So in effect, by disobeying God's instructions not to consult with mediums (Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:9-14), Saul looked to the demon world for guidance. Yet Satan and the demons are enemies of God. So Saul looked to God's enemies in the spirit world for information and guidance about the coming battle with the Philistines.
The medium reported to Saul that the one she saw who looked like Samuel to her (she described what she saw and Saul recognized the description as what Samuel looked like) said that Saul and his sons would die in battle, that Israel would be defeated, that the kingdom would be given to David, and that these things would happen to Saul because Saul did not obey God, especially in the matter of Amalek (1 Samuel 28:16-19).
This was a demon speaking. Did the demon tell Saul the truth about these things? Yes. Saul and Jonathan and several of Saul's sons died in battle (1 Samuel 31:1-6). Israel was defeated. The kingdom was given to David. These things happened because Saul did not obey God. The demon did not lie about these things. The demon told the truth about these four things. Of course, the demon didn't mention that one of the reasons Saul would die was that he consulted a medium (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). I guess the demon forgot to mention that. Nor did the demon mention that it was him, a demon impersonating Samuel, not really Samuel, that the medium saw. I guess he forgot to mention that little detail too.
Satan and his demons can deceive people by telling a mixture of truth and error. Speaking the truth can build credibility so that when they lie, the lie will be believed, because they spoke the truth about other things. The demon that communicated with Saul through a medium lied in representing himself as Samuel. Notice, the demon said that God had done what he said, "as He spoke by me" (1 Samuel 28:17). But God did not speak by the demon. God spoke by Samuel, not the fake Samuel that the demon was, but the real Samuel, now dead and asleep and unconscious in the grave till the resurrection. So when the demon said, "God spoke by ME", that was an outright lie.
Satan and his demons can also deceive and mislead by selectively teaching the truth about some things, but withholding the truth about other things, presenting an unbalanced picture. Satan does this with false Christianity, teaching about the sacrifice of Christ so we can be forgiven, but not teaching about the coming kingdom of God and the importance of obeying God's law. In the case of Saul, the demon told Saul part of the truth, that he would die because he did not obey God in the matter of Amalek, but withheld another truth, that he would also die for consulting a medium. By not telling Saul this, he gave Saul no opportunity to even seek repentance about consulting a medium. This half-truth was really a deception, because it implied that God was not angry about Saul inquiring of a medium. It was not a good message for Saul to hear.
Why did Saul go to a medium? What was his purpose?
God did not answer Saul when Saul inquired of Him earlier (1 Samuel 28:6). Yet Saul wanted to know what he should do regarding the battle. So he consulted a medium.
Notice the pattern. God did not give Saul the information Saul wanted. So Saul went to demons to get the information that God withheld from him. He wanted more information than God would give him at that time. So he went to the spirit world to get some answers.
Do we do that in the Church of God? If we want more information than we can get from the Bible about future events, and more information than we can discern with research about current events, getting all the facts, and using the brains and the wisdom God gives us, and if we instead go to the spirit world, but not of God, to get answers and juicy details about the future, are we not doing the same thing Saul did? And that was one of the reasons God killed him.
Why did God not answer Saul? It may have been a test. There was a similar test in Saul's life when Samuel did not appear and Saul offered an unlawful sacrifice (1 Samuel 13:7-14). Saul had no patience. In time of stress, he did not trust God, and he did whatever he felt like doing, regardless of God's commandments.
What should Saul have done when God did not answer him the first time (1 Samuel 28:6)? He should have sought God more earnestly. He should have considered his own life and his own sins and sought a deep repentance. He should have resisted the temptation to inquire of a medium, and put his trust in God alone.
There is a hint that had he done so, God might have answered him. 1 Samuel 28:6 says that Saul inquired of the Lord. Yet, 1 Chronicles 10:14 says that Saul did NOT inquire of the Lord. God does not lie or contradict Himself (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2, John 10:35). So what is the answer? Saul inquired of the Lord, but not fully. He didn't keep at it. He inquired of God, but not the way God wanted him to inquire of Him. Something wasn't acceptable in the way Saul first inquired. He didn't inquire the right way. His attitude perhaps was not right, that is, he did not inquire in an attitude of trust, faith, and unconditional submission. Or perhaps he lacked persistence. Whatever his problem, though he may have thought he inquired of God the right way, God judged that he did not inquire of God the way that he should have.
Maybe Saul had in his mind, when he began to inquire of God, if God doesn't answer me, I will go to a medium for guidance. That bad attitude towards God's commands would show that his heart was not fully into inquiring of God only.
This could have been a test. After all that had happened, maybe God was giving Saul one last chance near the end of his life to see if Saul had learned anything at all in all the things that had happened. But if so, Saul did not pass the test. He went to a medium.
We in the Church of God should not be reading or listening to the words of non-biblical prophets and prophecies to learn details about the future or to "confirm" what the Bible says. If a prophet is not a true prophet of God, yet gives a message from the spirit world, we should not be reading or listening to that message in order to know more about the future. This includes any prophecies, claimed to be from the spirit world, from any religions or churches that do not believe the Bible and strive to obey God. We should avoid those things and not let them enter our minds.
"Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:31).
"For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14).
"And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people" (Leviticus 20:6).
If you still think it is ok to read pagan and non-biblical prophecies to get a glimpse into something God chooses not to reveal to us, imagine this scenario, you who have young children in the public schools. Suppose your child's teacher assigns your child the reading of Harry Potter books or the dressing up like demons on Halloween. You talk to the teacher because you want exemption from this assignment. You explain that your religious beliefs do not permit you to involve your child in things like demons, magic, or the occult in any way, anything having to do with the spirit world that is not from the Bible. The teacher asks, what religion are you? Continuing Church of God, you might say (just an example I pulled out of a hat at random). Then, that night, the teacher searches for "Continuing Church of God" on the Internet and finds that your Church, which you say does not permit you to let your son or daughter be involved in the occult or spirit world, is full of books, sermons, and writings that contain large amounts of, and in some cases may be dominated by, pagan prophecies about the future, strange apparitions, visions of dead people, etc. Do you think that teacher will exempt your child from reading Harry Potter books when you, through your church, also dabble in the occult world by reading these prophecies which your own Church publishes?
Why can't we simply trust God to tell us what He wants us to know? Do we trust the demons more than God? If He withholds some information from us, He has a good reason. He will reveal to us what we need to know when we need to know it. We should not bypass God and go to the demons, God's enemies, so the demons can tell us things God hasn't told us yet. That is what Saul did, and God killed him for it.
I do not understand why some in the Church of God cannot see the wrongness of going to demons to know the future. Don't they have any fear of God? Don't they believe the Bible at all? Are they so self-willed in their morbid curiosity or desire to sell books that they don't care what God says?