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Have It Both Ways

Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 28

Scripture Focus: And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” (1 Samuel 28.5-7)

Devotional Thought: Saul’s life and reign were nearing the end, and he knew it. The Philistines pressed the battle against him, but in his desperation he tried to "have it both ways." At first, “Saul inquired of the Lord.” He tried dreams. He tried Urim (a type of dice used to determine God’s answer). He tried the prophets. It seems that he was exhausting all possible avenues. I wonder, though, how much effort he made.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29.13). Saul’s heart was not set on seeking the Lord alone. He turned to a medium, even though he himself had “put all the mediums out of the land” (v. 3). In desperation, he tried to have it both ways - answers from the Lord and answers from forbidden sources.

Are we any different today? We are seeking our answers in all the wrong places. Instead of doing the hard work of building godly relationships, we turn to sex. Instead of consistently working hard, we skate by and then buy a lottery ticket. Instead of planning for our future, we spend everything we’ve got and count on Uncle Sam to take care of us when we’re old. Instead of pushing away from the table and going for a walk, we buy diet pills. (Or cholesterol medicine! Ouch!) Instead of spending time reading the Bible and praying, we count on the preacher’s message on Sunday to give us all we need to stay spiritually fit.

Like Saul, do I “hedge my bets” and leave a little wiggle room to get my answers somewhere else? Do I try to have it both ways?

Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I try to "supplement" your way with ways of my own, when I seek answers from sources that are not grounded in you, when I try to have it both ways. Help me now as I trust in you, and you alone, for the answers I need. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 84.8-12

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!

10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

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