1 Samuel 16:14-23: Is God unfair to Saul?
Saul did not know that David has been anointed as the next king. If he had known, he never would have invited him into his service. But God is working his will even through the choices of Saul. The occasion of David’s entry into royal service is Saul’s experience of God. The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul; in place of that Spirit, God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul.
Saul’s advisors urge him to find a harpist to play sweet music to drive the evil spirit away. They suggest a young son of Jesse named David, one who has the Lord with him. Saul sends for David, is pleased with his playing, and makes him one of his armor-bearers. Saul who still thinks he is king by his own power has invited into his palace the true king of Israel. God works in mysterious ways!
By tormenting Saul with an evil spirit, is God unfairly picking on Saul? No. God had dramatically sent his Spirit on Saul at the beginning of his reign, so that people said, “Saul is also among the prophets.” But Saul’s repeated refusal to listen to God’s voice made it impossible for the Spirit to live in him. Where God’s Spirit cannot live, there is only room for the spirit of evil (see Matthew 12:43-45).
Holy God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts this day. May that Spirit never depart from us.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.