Psalm 98 The Voice (VOICE)
1 Compose a new song, and sing it to the Eternal
This hymn invites all the people on earth and creation itself to join in singing a new song of “beautiful noise” celebrating God’s justice and victories.
4 Raise your voices; make a beautiful noise to the Eternal, all the earth.
7 Let the sea rumble and roar, and all the creatures it holds shout praise;
1 Samuel 28:3-19 The Voice (VOICE)
3 Remember, Samuel had died some time previously and had been mourned by all of Israel. He was buried in his hometown of Ramah, and his wisdom died with him.
Another important thing to know: Saul had ordered all of the mediums and any others who claimed to speak to the dead thrown out of Israel.
4 The Philistines gathered for war, and they made their camp at Shunem. Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul looked out over the forces of the Philistines, he was filled with fear and lost his confidence. 6 Saul asked the Eternal for guidance, but He did not give him an answer, neither in dreams nor by consulting the Urim nor through prophecy.
This is simultaneously one of Saul’s greatest offenses against God and one of the times when he is a sympathetic character. As he comes to battle the Philistines, he has been cut off from any contact with God. It must seem as though everyone conspires against him, that he is all alone in the world; so, against his own decree forbidding such a thing, he consults a medium who can speak to the dead, a dark practice according to Hebrew law.
Saul (to his servants): 7 Find me a woman, a spiritual medium—someone I can ask for guidance.
Servants: A spiritual medium lives in En-dor.
8 So Saul disguised himself in different clothes, and taking two men with him, he went to see this woman in the dark of night.
Saul: I need you to call up someone from the grave—I’ll tell you who—so I can ask him questions.
Medium of En-dor: 9 Don’t you know what Saul has decreed? You should know that he has thrown all the mediums and all others who speak for the dead out of Israel. Why are you asking me to risk my life?
Saul (swearing by the Lord): 10 Nothing bad will happen to you. I promise.
Medium of En-dor: 11 Whom do you want me to bring up from the dead for you?
Saul: I need to speak with the prophet Samuel.
12 The medium began her rituals, but when she began to see Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice, realizing that her customer was Saul.
Medium of En-dor: Why have you lied to me? You’re really Saul!
Saul: 13 Don’t be frightened. Nothing will happen to you. Just tell me, what do you see?
Medium of En-dor: I see someone who looks like a divine being rising out of the ground!
Saul: 14 Describe him for me.
Medium of En-dor: An old man is coming, wrapped in a robe.
Saul knew this was Samuel, and he dropped to the ground, putting his face to the floor.
Samuel (to Saul): 15 Why have you disturbed me by calling me up from the land of the dead?
Saul: I don’t know what to do! The Philistines have gathered against us, and the True God has turned His back on me. He won’t answer me in dreams or by prophecy, so I’ve summoned you for advice.
Samuel: 16 Saul, why do you ask me what to do since you know the Eternal One has turned against you and is now your enemy? 17 He has done to you exactly as He told you through me, for He has wrestled the kingdom away from you in order to give it to your neighbor, David. 18 You did not obey the Eternal One’s orders to be an agent of His wrath on Amalek. That is why He has brought these circumstances upon you today. 19 And that is not all. He will hand you and your kingdom over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be where I am. The Eternal One will hand your entire army over to the Philistines.
Romans 1:18-25 The Voice (VOICE)
18 For the wrath of God is breaking through from heaven, opposing all manifestations of ungodliness and wickedness by the people who do wrong to keep God’s truth in check. 19 These people are not ignorant about what can be known of God, because He has shown it to them with great clarity. 20 From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people 21 because, despite the fact that they knew the one true God, they have failed to show the love, honor, and appreciation due to the One who created them! Instead, their lives are consumed by vain thoughts that poison their foolish hearts. 22 They claim to be wise; but they have been exposed as fools, frauds, and con artists— 23 only a fool would trade the splendor and beauty of the immortal God to worship images of the common man or woman, bird or reptile, or the next beast that tromps along.
24 So God gave them just what their lustful hearts desired. As a result, they violated their bodies and invited shame into their lives. 25 How? By choosing a foolish lie over God’s truth. They gave their lives and devotion to the creature rather than to the Creator Himself, who is blessed forever and ever. Amen.