1 Samuel 28
In Saul’s mind, desperate times called for desperate measures. He had (rightly) expelled all those who practiced divination, but when he discovered that God was no longer speaking to him through the prophets, he started looking for someone, anyone to give him counsel.
It’s a clear picture of what happens when we reject God. As circumstances around us become more and more difficult, we become more and more desperate. Unfortunately, our desperation often sends us further from God rather than turning us back to the One who can overcome all our circumstances. It’s a vicious cycle that leads us into increasing turmoil and pain.
But the real meaning of Christmas is that we no longer have to circle the drain through this whirlwind of sin, conviction, trying harder, failing and falling further into sin. Instead, Christ took all our sin on Him. He gave us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, to steel us against any temptation, to give us His presence in a way that Saul never enjoyed.
While Samuel died, and the Spirit of God departed from Saul because of his disobedience, God has promised that those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit cannot be snatched from His hand. No matter how badly we’ve messed up our lives, we can repent and the Holy Spirit is with us, God with us, Emmanuel, waiting to bring restoration and peace to us. Repentance and restoration may not fix every relationship we have damaged, or heal every injury we’ve caused, it will give us peace.