The Story of 1 Samuel | David’s Selection | 1 Samuel 16.7-13|

by | Sep 4, 2020

”Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil[a] spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” 1 Samuel 16.7-13

Saul was not doing well. The Spirit of the Lord left Saul and then an evil spirit “from the Lord” tormented him. Now this raises many questions — Can the Holy Spirit leave people? I would answer “yes.” And can evil spirits be sent from the Lord? And again, “yes.”

When God’s Spirit leaves someone they are open to all kinds of influences. The existence of something good and holy leaves room for something bad and unholy to enter. When God withdrew his Spirit from Saul, he was open and vulnerable to any other spirits that would come his way. Either God directly sent this spirit, which is his prerogative to do — I mean, he created all things with free will and those free will creatures (spirits, demons, you and me) can come and go as we like; or, he sent the spirit indirectly. Does it really matter whether God allowed the evil spirit to torment Saul or sent the evil spirit to torment Saul?

Three times in this short passage it says that an evil spirit of the Lord tormented Saul. Another thought is that God is the creator of all things. Does he create good and evil? This is way above my pay grade! (For a good article on whether God created evil please click here.) I do believe less in God’s creation of evil and more in his allowance of a created being having free will and that free will decision to be evil exists.

Regardless of how the evil spirit came upon, it came upon Saul. His continued acts of disobedience led him from worshiping God through offerings and sacrifice and being tormented with evil spirits. In order to help Saul overcome these spiritual attacks, he asked for someone to play soothing music for him. And it just so happens that David, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, knows how to play an instrument called the lyre and does so very well. He is a musician and a warrior, handsome and a “fine-looking man.”

This begins the pitted relationship between Saul and David. One who is tormented by evil spirits and one who is filled with God’s Holy Spirit. We will begin to see their relationship and the interchange they have over the next several chapters.

Sometimes we battle evil spirits like Saul even when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us lean in to God’s Holy Spirit and leave sin, lust and disobedience behind where it belongs. Only when we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit can we experience the fulfilling life he created us to live.

“O Lord God, you are good. Even when I stumble and fall, you pick me up. Even when I am too weak to stand, you send your angels to watch over me. Help me know the goodness of your grace and the power of your Spirit. Help me walk with you and run from the sin that so easily entangles. I love you Lord and praise your name, for you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen