A Distressing Spirit– 1 Samuel 16

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.  Matthew 1:1 NKJV

David was anointed as Israel’s next king by the prophet Samuel while still quite young.  Scholars believe that David was anointed as king somewhere between the ages of ten and fifteen.

King Saul was still on the throne as Samuel anointed David king.  In fact, Saul would reign for several more years afterwards.

Initially, David had gone right back to tending sheep, but God’s choice for the new king had been made.  Circumstances would quickly bring David into the court of King Saul.

The anointing oil covering David represented the Spirit of God coming over his life, just as King Saul was experiencing the departure of God’s Spirit. Without this heavenly covering, an evil spirit began to trouble Saul and to bring him distress, all with God’s permission. Saul’s ungodly choices had put him in a vulnerable position with dark spiritual forces, and without turning back to God, there was no earthly remedy to save him.  

God did bring Saul some relief from the distressing spirit through the music of David.  God had inspired Saul’s servants to suggest bringing David into the king’s court to play comforting music on his lyre.  They believed the Lord was with David, and this would cause the distressing spirit to depart Saul while David played the soothing music.

23 And so it was, whenever the (evil) spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.  1 Samuel 16:23 NKJV

Evil spirits are not commonly mentioned in the Old Testament, but they are there.  They are mentioned as the forces behind idol worship, leading Israel away from worship of God Most High to a degrading worship of idols involving drunkenness and numerous other immoral practices.

17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. 18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.  Deuteronomy 32:17-18 ESV

Later, when Jesus came, He would cast out many evil spirits as well as heal many serious diseases.  These were two separate types of bondage – one spiritual, the other physical – although in certain cases they may have been connected.

When we turn away from God to go our own way, we place ourselves in a vulnerable spiritual position.  We may subject ourselves to evil, distressing forces, situations, or experiences, and may find that our resulting troubles pile up far beyond our ability to cope with them. 

There is hope.  Our merciful God is right there to reach out to.  When our spiritual problems are straightened out, our mental, physical, financial, relationship or other problems can begin to be addressed, as well.  A new and healthy chapter of restoration in our lives can begin.

Reflection

What is your defense against the spiritual forces of darkness?

Jesus Christ is our strength against evil.  He is our Rock and a strong tower, and we are able to shelter in the shadow of His wings. We are able to stand firm in own weakness because of His strength, power and love.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:11-13 NKJV

Lord, help us to stay close to You and never to leave Your side.  We are totally dependent upon you for protection today, tomorrow and through eternity.  Help us to walk with You today.  Place a hedge of protection around our loved ones. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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