1 Samuel 28:4-6
The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.
Saul had spent at least a decade, maybe more, chasing David around Israel (see 1 Samuel 18-27). The enemy to Saul had been David, not the Philistines. If he was a politician, what would he say his greatest achievement had been in the last decade? “Hey, look at all of the times I almost killed David!” King Saul had spent so much effort, resources and time on finding and killing David that he didn’t even see that the Philistines had surrounded him and were now moving in from the north.
But now the cold, hard reality sets in. He’s surrounded and he’s afraid. He “trembled greatly.” He finally decided to call upon God. God didn’t answer the door, however, when Saul knocked. That’s harsh, but that’s the piercing reality of the life of a person who rejects God. The Lord is going to let King Saul face the music.
This isn’t to say that King Saul could not receive forgiveness. If Saul at the last minute wanted to make things right with God, God is merciful and would forgive. But God also said that if a person keeps living a sinful life and continues in rejection of the correction God sends, then God won’t listen when he prays. If God wasn’t listening to Saul, it is apparent that Saul’s heart was not repentant. He was just scared and wanted to avoid pain and punishment.
Here is a final passage to consider. Look at Proverbs 1 and think of how wisdom is calling for us. What happens when we keep refusing to listen to wisdom? Solomon tells us.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Let’s take a lesson from King Saul. God is merciful, patient and ready to forgive, but if we continue to live a life in rejection of His word, then we can’t expect God to rescue us from our problems. If we don’t listen when He calls, eventually He won’t listen when we call.