Last time we talked about how King Saul went from being an anointed King of Israel filled with God’s Spirit, to a tormented man troubled by an evil spirit causing him to exhibit disturbing and violent behavior. Let’s pick up the story:
King Saul’s sin of offering a burnt offering to God instead of waiting on Samuel to come as he had said he would, resulted in God taking the kingdom away from him and giving it to another, a “man after His own heart”…David! The second sin is detailed in I Samuel 15 which you may want to read in entirety. Briefly, God told Saul in verse 3, Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (NASB) Pretty clear, wasn’t it? Don’t let anything live, neither humans nor animals! Well, after Saul and his army killed the entire population of the Amalekites, he decided to spare the life of the king, Agag, and “take him alive”, perhaps as a sort of trophy from the victory! Verse 9 says, But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. (NASB)
So, once again we see Saul’s direct disobedience to God, as the prophet Samuel quickly found out when Saul told him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” I Samuel 15:13-15 (NASB)
So, once again Saul lied and told “half truths”, blaming the people and making it appear they just wanted to sacrifice unto the Lord! God asked nothing of Saul but his complete and total obedience and he did not give it to Him. In fact, in verses 15, 20 and 21 he again reiterated his statement about sacrificing, blaming it on the people, and on and on. Verses 22 and 23 are rather famous and often quoted: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” I Samuel 15:22 & 23 (NKJV)
Note that at least two times Saul tried to continue with his lies and deception, but Samuel, through the discernment of God, saw right through it and continued to demand truth and transparency from Saul. God told him in no uncertain terms that He had rejected him from being king. His days of being king over Israel were numbered. Finally in verse 24, we see Saul repenting at least to some extent. Only God knows the contriteness of his heart. He did not cry out to God in repentance, but he at least admitted his sin to Samuel in verses 24 and 25: And Saul said unto Samuel, “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.” (KJV)
Obviously Samuel was not very convinced of Saul’s sincerity, either, for he said to him in verse 26: “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” Verse 28, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” I Samuel 15:26 & 28 (NKJV) Then Samuel proceeded to hack the wicked King Agag in pieces as God had originally instructed Saul to do.
So, what was the problem with Saul? It is fairly obvious from these chapters that Saul did not have a contrite heart, one which was sold out to the Lord in every way, and which obeyed His voice totally. He was deceptive, he tried to lie and cover up his sin and appeared prideful and arrogant. Because of these things, God could not use him in the position of king as He had first intended. So, in Chapter 16 we see Samuel going to the house of Jesse and anointing his youngest (and apparently the most unlikely) son to be the king of Israel upon Saul’s death, instead of continuing the line through Saul’s sons. David was just a young teenager (most likely), a shepherd, ruddy, with bright eyes and good-looking, according to verse 12. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. (NKJV) Verse 14 sadly tells us, But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. (KJV)
It appears that when God removed Saul from being king, He also removed the Holy Spirit’s anointing from him that allowed him to perform the many acts God used in showing His power to His people. So, when the Holy Spirit departed, because of Saul’s direct disobedience to God, this allowed an evil spirit to come in and torment him. When the Word of God says “from the Lord” it means “with God’s permission”. I do not believe that a Spirit-filled Christian can be filled with demon spirits; the two cannot co-exist together in someone’s body. I believe a Christian can be tempted or even oppressed at times by evil spirits, but when we use our weapons of warfare, the Word of God which is the sword of the Spirit, demons must flee!! They have no part in a spirit-filled Christian’s life. Never give into satan’s lies or fears that you will be possessed by the enemy or his demonic attacks! You have all of the tools you need to resist Him; remember James 4:7, Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NASB)
So, while Saul opened himself up directly, because of his disobedience, to an evil spirit (demonic) with God’s permission, David, on the other hand, was filled with the Spirit of God from that day on, just as we today under the New Covenant are filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and begin to live the new, overcoming life in Christ, free from sin’s domination! If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father and can receive forgiveness, living that abundant life in Christ that the unbeliever has never experienced! David knew what that life was like, and he began to play on his harp as he had never played before, under the new anointing of the Holy Spirit that was upon him!
So when Saul was tormented with evil spirits, he would call for David, as I Samuel 16:22 & 23 recount, ….“Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” Soit came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. (NASB) Verse 18 just before this says David was “a skillful musician”. That means he knew his music! He practiced regularly, relied on the Lord to hone his musical skills, studied his craft and then left the rest up to the anointing of the Holy Spirit who in essence came upon him and “played through him” as he worshipped. This was the secret to the evil spirit leaving Saul…the anointing of a skillful musician! And this is not the last time we read of this. Saul’s jealousy of David and the fact he knew he would be king instead of him, inspired Saul to attempt to kill David many times, several times in his own house with a spear poised to hurl at David. I Samuel 19:9 & 10 reads, Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear in to the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. (NASB) So, one had a spear in his hand; one had a harp in his hand, but God delivered the one who had an instrument of God in his hand!
Always remember this: There may be evil lurking nearby, even in the form of a jealous person in a rage who hates you. They may even have a spear in their hand! But, don’t forget, you have the power of God in the form of His Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and even as David’s hand was playing the harp, your hand can hold the Word of God, play and sing His promises, and hold onto the Hand of the One who will never let you go! Don’t give up, child of God! Jesus holds your hand and He has not forsaken you! Perhaps God used the many times Saul tried to take David’s life as a way to inspire him to write the beautiful, anointed Psalms we sing and quote! Who knows if he would have written them as praise to God if everything in his life were going well? God works through adversity and many times through other people who mean to do us harm, to work good in our lives for His glory! Never forget Romans 8:28 when you are tempted to give up, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Does God use anointed music and musicians? He surely does! There is power in music to dispel the forces of evil. That is why satan hates musicians sold out to God! Keep playing and singing the praises of God and put the enemy to flight, as David did for Saul!