Today’s One Year Bible reading for Monday May 14 is 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23, John 8:1-20, Psalm 110:1-7 and Proverbs 15:8-10. The passage I’ve chosen for my Daily Scripture S.O.A.P. note entry is 1 Samuel 16:14-21.
14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and the LORD sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.
15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, ‘A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.’
17 ‘All right,” Saul said. “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here.”
18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the LORD is with him.”
19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” 20 Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a wineskin full of wine.
So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.
I’ve chosen a longer passage than usual for today’s note because while I do want to focus on the first verse (verse 14) story really does matter here!
The first question I think everybody asks when they first read this passage is what is a tormenting spirit and why did God send it?
The answer to the first part of that question is easy. The tormenting spirit (referred to as an evil spirit in the KJV) is a demon. A lot of people find this hard to swallow I know but the truth is that demons do exist in the supernatural and they absolutely can torment us.
People who are discerning of spirits may have actually seen demons (as I have) though many don’t realize what they are dealing with due to deception (please see my podcast Spiritual Warfare and Demonic Energies in the New Age for more on this topic). Others believe or disbelieve in the demonic without having any personal experience at all. This is fine if you are a Christian and going by what the Bible says because the Bible in both the New Testament and the Old is very, very clear. Demons are real.
The second part of the question – why did God send a tormenting or evil spirit? – seems to have at least two answers.
The first is that Saul had disobeyed God once again (and didn’t really seem to understand why this was wrong or truly repent) and that as a result God allowed a demon to torment him. From my perspective this is less a punishment than it was a direct result of what Saul had done. Sin had opened the door to evil. Just as it does now.
But God was still the God of Romans 8:28 who causes “everything to work together for the good.” And so Saul’s torment was eased by David’s harp and Saul loved David and brought him into the royal circle. And David, in turn, went on to save Israel from the Philistines, assume the throne and continue the line that would lead us to Jesus.
While it may sound far-fetched to some, one of the reasons I can identify with this passage is that I know what it is like to be tormented by demons (and to be deceived by them). In my experience, a door must be opened before this can happen particularly in the life of a committed Christian. That door is sin.
While in the New Age I allowed myself to get involved in the sins of witchcraft and mediumship and the result was that a spirit of confusion entered into my life. And I believe that the clarity that came when I accepted Jesus was so remarkably intense because that spirit was lifted. Recently, however, other lesser sins have been cropping up and I feel that this passage is a very necessary reminder that I must not, as Ephesians 4:27 advises, “give the devil a foothold.”
This passage also, from my perspective, clearly illustrates that even when we cannot see or understand it, God is busy working all things for good. The story of Saul, when all is said and done, is a cautionary tale. We do not want to take things into our own hands in disobedience to God as he did!
Dear Lord, Thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you for bringing me into the light of Jesus Christ and for showing me what is no longer serving me. I am sorry for all the times I have not trusted you and all the times I have let other things overshadow your presence in my life. Please deliver me and my family from evil and free us from oppression. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I hope this was helpful to you! Tomorrow’s One Year Bible reading for Tuesday May 15 is 1 Samuel 17:1-18:4, John 8:21-30, Psalm 111:1-10 and Proverbs 15:11.
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