Thursday, February 22, 2007

An evil spirit from God is sent to torment Saul

1 Samuel 16:14-23 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

Saul's attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon 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 harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him."

Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep." So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, "Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him."

Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.


I was taught that God is the source of good and the devil was the source of evil. However, this is one scripture of many (click here for more examples) that shows that God is the source of evil.


Anonymous said...

.... then you were taught wrong. End of story.

Jason said...

lol Now, now. :) Roopster's point is a good one.

God made everything so in that sense one could say God is the source of everything: dogs, rain, hair, good, evil, darkness, hunger, etc. However, this doesn't mean that God is evil any more then God is hunger.

God sometimes sends evil upon a person for a specific reason. For example, if God hadn't sent Saul an evil spirit (and who knows what "evil" means - maybe it was something as simple as a bad migraine), then David would never have met Saul and made the impact he did. So God's "evil" in this sense was working for an ultimate good: the eventual kingship of David.

These posts are all very good. Keep up the good work.

Mark Wilson said...

Roopster, you were taught right. God is the source of good, the enemy is the source of bad.

But. God does discipline and He does punish. And to us I guess punishment - when it involves someone's death or a curse - seems like it's "bad".

But when a parent punishes a child, is that parent being "bad"?

God bless,

tiny tim said...

In the verses Roopster provided, Saul wasn't being punished, and I think that's part of his point.

Although I could be wrong :)

lenny said...

I think his issue is with the statement "an evil spirit from God".

jason said...

Ah, yes. Right.

So what's an "evil spirit"? A headache? Insomnia? An anxiety attack? Whatever it was, it would seem it was a health thing since Saul's servants suggested someone play soothing music for him so he could "feel better".

LLP said...

Actually, if you were reading the Bible literally, you would need to read it from the original Hebrew text (for the Old Testament) as well to understand it fully. In translation alone, we would find that there were phrases that made prefect sense in Hebrew, but in English, are taken quite differently. In fact, that's what makes up most of the supposed 'contradictions' found in the Bible today. Translation.

So, to understand this passage of Scripture fully, we should consider not only the original language, but what the Bible says as a whole. If something does not make sense or add up to the rest of what the Bible has to say, then we must conclude that we are examining it incorrectly because, as God's Word, it is flawless in every way. No contradictions whatsoever.

Okay, now let's look at the 'hardening of Pharaoh's heart' in Exodus (something that is very closely related to the issue in 1 Samuel). In verses 7:3; 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8; 14:17 we see the reference that God is the one doing the hardening. Then we read in 8:15,32; 9:34 that Pharaoh is hardening his own heart, that he refuses to humble himself (10:3), and he is stubborn (13:15), and also that it was hardened without specific indication as to the source (7:13,14,22; 8:19; 9:7,35). [please read for a more in-depth look at this] In short, it's not God that is actually DOING the hardening, so much that He is simply ALLOWING the Pharaoh's heart to be hardened.

In 1 Samuel 16:14-23, we can come to a similar conclusion. The 'evil spirit' mentioned in verses 14, 15, 16 and 23 is not FROM God Himself because God is not evil nor could He ever be (1 John 1:5 and James 1: 13-14), but again, He merely ALLOWED them to come upon Saul. And this, alongside a reason, are even shown in verse 14! We are told first and foremost that "the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul." If God had departed from him, the enemy would have full access because God is the only thing standing between us and Satan. Remember why Jesus came to die?

Based on this then, Tiny Tim, you are incorrect. Saul was indeed being punished and, in my opinion in one of the worst ways possible- Separation from God. Just read all of chapter 15, but specifically verses 10 and 11. "Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 'I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.'" That says it all! He was turning away from God and blatantly disobeying Him. And that is exactly why the Spirit of God left him.

So, Roopster, you were taught correctly. God is not evil and Scripture even stands on it. You don't need to worry about the truth found in God's Word. Taking a deeper look at it helps tremendously as has been shown. God and His Word, the Bible, can be trusted wholeheartedly.

I hope I've helped some. If not, I urge you to do your own research on Scripture. But, in doing so, please keep in mind the context, culture, and translation differences of what you are reading. If you do, you'll be truly amazed with what you find.

Many blessing in Christ.


BCrav1024 said...

If you look at the Hebrew translation of the word "evil", it does not directly mean spiritual wickedness, but rather a means of punishment. Mind you, that God must be just, and since Saul did defy Him twice (see I Samuel 13 and 15), punishment, in terms of perfect justness, is appropriate. Please excuse me if I come off as cold and/or harsh.

Bonnie said...

Thank U 4 clearing that up 4 me. I was thoughly confused. God is Good and He only alouds the evil 2 come into him. U have completed my Bible Study 4 the day. Bless U... BonnieJean

Anonymous said...

I love the family of christ just for this very reason so we can share the word of God and fully understand it i thank you all

boyscout said...

God sends. God allows. What's the difference?!