Saul is desperate. The Philistines are at war with the Israelites as usual, but this time they seem really serious. He may have heard that David is among the Philistines ready to attack Israel. He's aware of the danger he is in and he is desperately afraid. So desperate that he tries to "inquire of the Lord", but he doesn't get any answers. Why not? Because it's not a genuine inquiry, it's a desperate and last ditch attempt to have God bail him out of a bad situation. And because Saul has not been obedient to God and has not repented for that disobedience. When God has already given guidance that we have rejected, we should not assume He will continue to provide more guidance until we follow His original plan.
As Bob Deffinbaugh says...
There is a point in time where God ceases to convict the sinner, but rather hardens their heart, due to persistent rejection of the gospel. There is a point in time when it is, humanly speaking, too late. Those who foolishly suppose they can continue to live in sin and reject the gospel, thinking God will always “be there for them,” are wrong.
I believe there is also a “point of no return” for a Christian who is living in constant, willful rebellion. It is not that this person will lose their salvation, but they will lose the “joy” of their salvation. They may very well lose the assurance of their salvation. They certainly will lose the sense of intimacy and fellowship they could and should have with Christ and His church. They may even lose their lives, even as Saul did (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 John 5:13-17).
Though it may not be a comforting thought, we are more like Saul than we would like to believe. There is a lot of “Saul” in every one of us. This is why we must abide in Christ and in His Word. This is why we must pray for strength, and that we will not fall into temptation. This is why we need “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves” and the encouragement of Christian brothers and sisters, and we must beware of persistent, willful sin (Hebrews 10:19-31).
It is very clear that our text is no fairy tale. Saul does not live “happily ever after,” as fairy tale people do. Neither does anyone who fails to trust and obey God. Let us be sobered and humbled by Saul, and let us acknowledge our weaknesses, and rely wholly on His strength.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Samuel 30, 1 Chronicles 12:20-22, 1 Samuel 31, 1 Chronicles 10:1-14