Let’s read a few key verses in 1 Samuel 28 to get an understanding of what is going on with Samuel.

Verse 3: “Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.”

Verse 5, “And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.”

Verse 7: “Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.”

1 Samuel 28:10-11, “And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.”

Verse 15, “And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.”

Verses 18-19, “Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

As we begin this narrative, we see that Samuel had died and was buried.  When King Saul saw the size of the Philistine army, he was very afraid.  He sought the Lord’s guidance, but the Lord did not respond to him.  Saul sends for a medium, which he had declared illegal, and asks her for guidance.  Why did the Lord not respond to Saul’s request for guidance?  Perhaps this is a question that Saul should have wondered about.  What could prevent the Lord from guiding him?  I believe we find the answer in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  Saul’s iniquity manifested itself when he immediately sought out someone with a ‘familiar spirit.’  He knew this was wrong, but instead of humbling himself before the Lord, he sinned.

The Lord allowed this woman to raise Samuel from the dead, and because of Saul’s disobedience, the Lord caused Saul to be killed in battle and Israel to be taken captive.  Let’s turn now and consider this in the light of Ecclesiastes 9:5 which says, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing…”  How are we to understand this?  Is it really true that the dead do not know anything?  Yes and no!  Solomon, in this verse, limits his remarks on the dead to their portion in, or relation to, this world.”  Verse 6 will bear this out.  It says, “Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”  It is true that the dead body of a person has no awareness of what is going on in the world.  Once buried, their body is out of sight and there is no more consciousness in them.

However, once death occurs, the soul and spirit leave the body, and is thus alive and very aware.   2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  Awake, aware, and present with the Lord!  While the body is in the grave awaiting the resurrection, the soul and spirit of the believer is enjoying the presence of the savior.  What about the soul and spirit of the unbeliever?  Let’s listen to the voice of one who cries from Hell in Luke 16:23-24, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”  Awake, aware, and completely removed from the presence of the Lord.  What an awful, awful thing.  My dear friend, do you know where you will spend eternity?  Will you be with the Lord, or will you be tormented in the flame.  You can be sure of this…you will be in one place or the other.  John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  (210.10)