Do you know that everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, is influenced by the thinking of demons? Listen to this lesson to learn that any thoughts and ideas that are not biblical are demonic. Find out what happened to Saul when the Spirit of the Lord departed from him and an evil spirit descended. See that he is mentally tormented in a way that completely paralyzed him with fear. Learn how David was brought out of the sheepfold and into the court to play the harp to sooth Saul. Learn that God was working out His plan for David, the future king of Israel.
Note that the video for this class includes two videos from the Museum of the Bible, which are located at: Museum of the Bible Overview and Museum of the Bible Fly-Through. Click to visit the Museum of the Bible website.
Dr. Dean also mentioned Gatestone Institute if you're interested in news from Europe and the Middle East.
Holy Spirit; Evil Spirits
1 Samuel 16:14–23
Samuel Lesson #060
August 23, 2016
“Our Father, we are indeed extremely grateful for Your grace and goodness. We are so thankful for the way in which You have resupplied these missing finances for Jim Myers in the ministry and the college. We are thankful for that. It is such a great testimony to the grace orientation of Your people to respond in this way, and Your provision demonstrating that no matter how difficult times may look, You are always there to provide for us and take care of us and enable us to do that which You have planned for us to do.
Father, we pray for the Word of God College, as they are getting ready for a new semester. We are thankful that this year they have a record enrollment, possibly even more than that for what we know right now, there may be a couple of more. We are just so thankful for that and the opportunities that that represents. We continue to pray for Ukraine, for peace and stability there as the Russians are making a lot of moves and very threatening actions. We pray that You would restrain that and there will not be any further hostilities against Ukraine.
Father, we pray for us as we study Your Word tonight, that we might be challenged to be students of Your Word, true disciples of the Lord, students who are learning, not just acquiring information, but learning to apply and live out that which Your Word has provided for us. We pray that You would help us to be objective in evaluating our own lives, and our own spiritual walk that we may continue to press on to spiritual maturity. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”
A few weeks ago I was given a book, Zvi, related to the Holocaust studies. It is the biography of a man whose pen name was Zvi Kalisher. If you have read the Israel, My Glory magazines for any length of time you will recognize that name. He has written a column in this magazine for many years. Zvi Kalisher is a Messianic Jew. He is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived in Israel and lived as a tremendous witness that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Zvi was a Holocaust survivor. When he was ten years old the Nazis invaded Poland. His brothers, sisters, and parents were all killed in the Holocaust. What saved him was his mother had taken him to an orphanage. She dropped him off there. When she left that was the last he ever saw of anyone in his family.
The book describes his life. It is well written. It is very interesting. There is also a video that Friends of Israel produced in 1998 called Zvi: The Return. It is a documentary and reenactment that takes him back to the home where his parents had lived. It still existed, at least in the late 1990s, outside of Warsaw. This documentary covers what is in the book. It is done pretty well. It is a fascinating story. It is great to read stories of Holocaust survivors who became believers, because that shows real hope. It is also encouraging because of the way this man lived his life as a witness and testimony for the Lord in Israel, which is many times a hostile environment for Jews who had become Christians. I would encourage you on that.
In terms of the trip we made this last week in Washington D.C., it was completely funded by the Museum of the Bible. How many of you have heard of the Museum of the Bible? I really encourage you to look at the website, www.museumofthebibile.org. It is fascinating what they have done at this museum. I want to play a couple of short videos for you. Something that keeps being emphasized is the importance of reading your Bible and knowing your Bible. Even if you are reading it and there are sections where it may not be the best translation, or there may be some things that confuse you, keep reading.
You can read the morning Chronicle and be confused. Some people say that they never read the paper, and some say they do not ever read anything because it might confuse them. They say they are just going to listen to what the pastor says. You cannot live a life like that. We need to know the Bible. It elevates our understanding of everything. Some people may ask the question: How can I learn to appreciate good food? You will never learn to appreciate good food if all you do is go to Burger King and McDonald’s. You have to eat good food prepared by good chefs. If you eat good food, quality cooked food, then you will develop a taste for good food.
How do you develop a taste for quality music? Not by listening to pop music on the radio. You develop the ability to appreciate and develop your taste for music by listening to really good music. The way you develop your understanding of good thinking and truth is to read the Bible. It elevates you. One of the things that pressed me is the impact. We live in a world where a lot of us feel like Jesus is coming back tomorrow. He has got to. It cannot get any worse. They are throwing Christians in jail. They are arresting people who want to speak out against Islam. How can it get any worse? Trust me. It can and it will.
But there are things that are happening today that are remarkable. This Museum of the Bible is one of those things that is happening. They have a tremendous amount of money behind them that they have raised. They still need to raise a lot more. The cost of building the Museum of the Bible is going to be a billion dollars. What they have already accomplished is extraordinary. It is one of the highest tech operations that I have seen to date. I have seen a couple of other high-tech museums, but this is cutting edge. When it is completed and opened in November, 2017, next year, it will be the third largest museum in Washington D.C.
This museum is three and one-half blocks south of the Capitol building. It is couple of blocks south of the Mall. It is remarkable how the Lord has opened the doors. They started construction in 2012. To build a museum of this size in this short of time is nothing less of miraculous. Let me play the first of the video: https://www.youtube.com/user/MuseumofBible.
We went there for the construction site. That is the entry now and when it opens and you saw these huge bronze panels that are from the Guttenberg Bible on each side. The one on the right facing it will weigh more. It weighs about 60 tons and the other about 25 tons. They are going to have a window that is Codex Sinaiticus. As you go in there is going to be one room that is set aside that they have a long-term contract for decades with the Israel Antiquities Authority.
This is the only time that the Israel Antiquities Authority has allowed any of their archeological finds to come out of Israel. There will be a permanent display there. There is going to be an area in the museum where there is a scribe who is authorized and will be producing a kosher scroll so that people can go and see all that was involved in the transmission of the text, copying of the text, writing of the text, the making of the ink, all of these things were very significant. That is going to be there.
This is what the entry looks like today. They are working on everything. They have about 15 months before they are going to be ready to open.
This is what the upper level looks like.
You can see out the window the dome of the Capitol building. This is going to be remarkable. They are not waiting until they open the museum to do anything. They have been working since 2012 in writing a curriculum that can be used in public schools anywhere in the world. Their mission statement is that people will be engaged with the Bible. They are not talking about Christianity vs. Judaism, Roman Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy, or Coptic Christianity vs. Assyrian Christianity. It is about being engaged with the Bible.
We believe that if people will read the Bible that there will be a revival. People will have their lives changed. They will come to understand the gospel if they will engage with the Bible. The museum staff has written this curriculum. About four years ago they were going to field test it in a little school in Oklahoma, but the ACLU found out about it and started challenging them in court. They were not ready for a court case. They simply wanted to field test it to see if it would go anywhere. The museum pulled back.
Cary Summers, you saw on the video, he is president of the museum. He goes to Israel for three or four weeks out of the year. He knows a lot of people in Israel. He has owned an apartment up near Tiberius in the Sea of Galilee area for years. He was talking about the curriculum with someone in Israel that somehow got connections together for one of the elite private schools in Israel in a town called Ramat Gan outside of Tel Aviv to run a trial of the curriculum. It was highly successful in that school, and then the curriculum was used in all the private schools. It was highly successful. It was taught in other schools in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, and again it was highly successful.
At this point 6,000 Israeli students have gone through this curriculum. This year they are expanding it to many other cities and towns in Israel. By the end of this year 100,000 Israeli students will have gone through this curriculum.
Not only that, but they have six schools in London, England that are going to start this curriculum this year. They are working with people in Hong Kong and various other Asian areas and the Philippines to implement this curriculum there.
Of course, you cannot do it in the United States where we are, but the rest of the world is open to this. They want the Bible because at some level they recognize that it was the Bible that gave the foundation of moral stability and the stability of law to the western world, and that the Bible is the foundation of our prosperity.
This is a remarkable thing. In fact, I am looking into contacting a travel agent to see about putting together about a three- or four-day trip to Washington, D.C. There are two or three hotels within walking distance of the museum. The hotels are halfway between the Holocaust Museum and the Museum of the Bible, and about two blocks south of the Mall. It will take one person 72 hours to go through everything in the Museum of the Bible. We are not going to do that. We do not have that kind of time. The technology is incredible. Everybody that goes in is going to be given an iPad.
If you have a family of five everyone gets an iPad and their own GPS number. You can track where all the kids and everybody else is going at any given time. They studied this and said that 50% of the time people spend in museums is looking for everybody else and their party. You sign-in with your e-mail address and the next time you visit the computer will tell you what you did the last time you visited and recommend what you need to do on the current visit. It is designed at different levels of learning. If you are ignorant and do not know anything about the Bible you punch that in and it gives you one course. If you know more you go another track. It is very interesting. We need to get people to engage the Bible again, especially in America.
Open your Bible to 1 Samuel 16. We are going to see more in the text about the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit that is going to be coming upon Saul.
We have seen that 1 Samuel 1–8 relates to the person of Samuel, the prophet and last judge. This will be followed by the first king, the anointed king over Israel under God’s authorization. There was one previous king, Abimelech, the son of Gideon, but he was not authorized by God. He reigned from Shechem for two years.
We see the rise of Saul from 1 Samuel 9–15 where he disobeys God. The kingdom is torn from him. He is still king, but we see the anointing of David in 1 Samuel 16, and the rise of David from 1 Samuel 16–31, as well as the decline of Saul. We will be going back and forth between the two. Last time we looked at the anointing of David in 1 Samuel 16:1–13.
1 Samuel 16:13, “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. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.”
As we look at this we see what happens to David. This is a picture of the Spirit of God coming upon him. He is anointed. The Hebrew word means to pour out the oil, but it also has the idea of someone officially appointed to a position by God. The only witnesses are his brothers. Nobody else knows. I do not think anybody else knows this for some time. David is quietly anointed; then he goes back to the sheep. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.
I want to point out that two things are important here, the verb and preposition. The verb and the preposition are both important.
1. The verb is,צָלַח ,צלח tzālach.
Some people will want to translate this to “rush.” It is used of Samson, Saul, and David. Samson is not the best judge, right? He is the last judge of the Book of Judges. He is a womanizer. He is disobedient to his parents. He is disrespectful. He does not really care about God or God’s plan, but nevertheless, at key points in his life he did what God wanted him to do. He trusted in God and believed Him. Samson is listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. That ought to encourage everyone of us, because no matter how sinful we might be, if we are trusting God, if we have a heart for God, even if we fail like David and Samson, if we are trusting God at key points, then we also would belong in that list of faith heroes in Hebrews 11.
Samson is not your picture of a spiritually mature believer. He is mostly a spiritual failure, as is Saul. The reason I point this out is there are some people who say that Saul really did not look like he was much of a believer. In fact, there are some people that think that he was not a believer. They point out certain things about Saul, but the Holy Spirit comes upon him with the same verb that is used of Samson and used of David. The only three men mentioned are Samson, Saul, and David. Samson and David are both believers. There is no example in Scripture of this verb or of other similar actions by the Holy Spirit coming upon an unbeliever.
2. The preposition tells us a lot, too. It is not internal.
This is not an indwelling of the Spirit like we have in the New Testament, where the Holy Spirit indwells inside each and every believer. It has a different preposition when we come into the New Testament that indicates something internal that is going on. These prepositions are important.
When we look at what a demon does to somebody, in the case of Saul, you do not have that internal preposition either. It is external. When we get to those questions that people ask about demon possession, demon influence, and/or demon oppression, what is important is looking at the preposition. In the New Testament what you have with demon possession is always the prepositions of going into somebody. The Greek is EISERCHOMAI for “going into” somebody.
When Jesus cast out the demon, he comes out, EXERCHOMAI. EX means “out of;” EIS means “into.” When Jesus casts them out it is EXBALLO. The EX prefix at the beginning means it “comes out of.” This demon possession is clearly internal dwelling of a demon inside somebody, controlling their body, controlling their functions. That is different from demon influence.
Every one of us to some degree or another is demonically influenced. Every one of us is influenced because demon influence is the thinking of Satan. It is the thinking of the world. It involves morality, and it involves immorality. Often Christians have this idea that it is just something that is immoral. But if you go to a very moral church that does not believe in substitutionary atonement, if you go to some mainline denomination where they believe in good works for salvation, and every one is very nice.
In these denominations everybody is very moral, but nobody understands the substitutionary death of Christ. They do not understand that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. They are not saved. They are nice people; they are good people; they are moral people, but they are spiritually dead. Therefore, they are all evil people because their internal sin nature has not been dealt with. They are spiritually dead and spiritually corrupt, and therefore, they are evil.
Evil presents itself in terms of that which is horrible and immoral, and that which is also moral and good. Many world religions emphasize morality, but that is not what the Bible teaches. It is evil because it is going to lead people to the Lake of Fire.
This is a point of real confusion for a lot of people. I remember about 15–18 years ago I was teaching at a meeting that was put on by a now defunct organization called the Conservative Theological Society in Fort Worth. I was asked to present a paper on demon possession. I did. I presented a paper based on what Tommy Ice and I have in the book Spiritual Warfare. This was at the very beginning of the Harry Potter popularity with Harry Potter being a wizard. You have wizards and witches, spells, and all these things that are part of fantasy literature.
I really had not expected this, and at that time I really was not really well read in Harry Potter, but I started getting these questions about what we can do to stop this influence of the occult through these Harry Potter books? I said that I was a little suspicious of this:
- First of all, we have to understand that there is a lot of demon influence in our culture that is much more subtle than what may come out of Harry Potter books. I asked how many people like the old television show Father Knows Best. A lot of people replied that it was good and moral. Yes, but where was Christ? Christ was not in Father Knows Best or My Three Sons. It was just good clean morality. But that is evil if it is apart from Christ.
That is more dangerous and more destructive than anything you will read in a Harry Potter book. If you have a Christian child and they are reading Harry Potter, you can talk about the fact that the Bible talks about people who tell fortunes and necromancers and witches and it is overt. It is really clear to teach them some discernment. But if they are reading Nancy Drew or Tom Swift or any of the other books that may be popular today for children, they are going to get so much human viewpoint. Human viewpoint is evil through and through.
People do not understand. Most of our engagement with the world as believers is making choices. Even in politics we are making a choice between evil one and evil two. We have to decide which is going to provide peace for the church between those two options. Sometimes it is not a lot of clarity between the two options, but that is what we have. We are dealing with various different worldly philosophies. We have to sometimes choose which is going to be better for the church to live under. We need to be very careful with that.
Demon influences are all of the ideas and the philosophies, the so-called common sense things that people think make sense to them, therefore that must be good, that must be right. We have this and it is not biblical. If it is not biblical, it is not truth. It is the product of the world system. We have to recognize that all of us in all of our carnality, all of us because of the influence of our parents and our peers, the news media and television, we have all picked up wrong ideas. We have picked up ideas from the cosmic system that we think sound pretty good, but they are not biblical. If you read your Bible regularly and study the Word, then you will develop the kind of discernment you need to checkout those distinctions.
At the end of 1 Samuel 16 “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David.” I think this wordצלח , tzālach is often translated with the word “prosper or succeed.” It is the idea that the Holy Spirit is going to empower these individuals to prosper in what God wants them to do, to succeed as king, to succeed as a judge, to succeed as Bezalel and Aholiab in producing the works of the furniture for the tabernacle. I do not think it has that idea of “rushing,” although that is a popular way to translate it in these contexts that the Holy Spirit just “rushed” on them. I think that when you look at the spread of word usage that idea of prosperity or success makes a lot more sense.
Then we come to 1 Samuel 16:14. There is a shift. We talked about David in 1 Samuel 16:1–13 and now we are going to talk about Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14ff. 1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul …” It is a contrast.
We have an interesting word that is translated “depart.” It is the Hebrew word סוּר sûr, which means to withdraw, depart, desert, or turn aside from. What is interesting, in the way the text is written, is if you are looking at the last verse in the chapter, 1 Samuel 16:23, “And so it was, whenever the 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.” The last verb in this section is the same verb.
We have what is called in literature an inclusio. If you are familiar with artillery, it is bracketing. This is what a naval ship will do when it is trying to find a target. First the ship will shoot. If it shot falls short then they will make adjustments and fire a second time, hopefully going beyond the target. Now they have “bracketed” it. They have enclosed it by those shots that set up a framework. Then they are going to walk it in until they hit the target. That is what an inclusio is in literature. It is setting aside a particular section of Scripture so that you understand that the author is bracketing this as one particular event to pay attention to.
This is all going to be about this evil spirit. The New King James translates it a “distressing spirit,” but it really is an evil spirit. We are told that “the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul.” This word translated “depart” is often used of the Lord or the Spirit of the Lord departing from someone in the Old Testament. It is used when the Spirit of the Lord departed from Samson in Judges 16:20. Here with Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14, and in 1 Samuel 28:16.
This word is also used to describe Israel’s spiritual defection, their apostasy, when they fall away from grace. You see this in passages like 2 Kings 10:31, “But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD.” What immediately preceded this is God’s command for Jehu to cleanse the kings of the Northern Kingdom. He is to execute and kill everyone in the house of Ahab, which he did. He also destroyed, burned down the temple of Baal.
“But ...” There is that important word when you get into kings. “But Jehu took no heed” after that “to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart.” There is that word we are talking about. “He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam.”
If you will remember when we went through Kings that Jeroboam was the first king of the Northern Kingdom. Israel had a civil war and as soon as they separated, the ten tribes in the north from the two tribes in the south. Jeroboam decided that he did not need all of his citizens in the north marching down to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to worship God. That is not going to maintain his new nation in terms of their distinct identity. What Jeroboam did was to set up alternate worship sites: Bethel in the south and Dan in the far north.
Jeroboam set up a golden calf in each of those sites. He said that this is the god that brought you out of Egypt. He goes back to the sin of Aaron. The people worshipped the golden calf. That is the sin of Jeroboam. Jehu did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. He continued in that apostasy.
2 Kings 14:24 is talking about Jeroboam II, that he also continued to follow in the idolatrous sin of Jeroboam I, “he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nabat.” This is stated of numerous kings in the Northern Kingdom. They did not depart. They stayed in apostasy.
Exodus 32:8 talks about the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai. “They turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them.” They made a golden calf. This talks about their apostasy.
In Deuteronomy 11:16 Moses warns, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.”
This is the word here. The Spirit of God turns aside from Saul. He leaves Saul. He departs. It is a word that is roughly equivalent to that word for apostasy or departure that we have in the New Testament.
1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.”
The Spirit departs from Saul. There is a compound preposition here from the me‛im in the Hebrew, which means “from,” equivalent to EK in the Greek, “from” plus the preposition im meaning “with.” The Spirit of the Lord departs “from” being with Saul, not being “in” Saul. It maintains that distinction.
1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.”
The Spirit of the LORD is replaced by what is translated in the New King James as a “distressing spirit.” I do not think that is a strong enough word in English to explain what is going on here. It is a “distressing spirit.” The word in the Hebrew is the word רַע ra‛, which normally is translated as “evil” or “bad.” This has historically been taken by most biblical scholars as an adjective, and it is an adjective. It is a feminine singular adjective. It modifies the word “spirit.” It has normally been taken to refer to a demon. I will come back to that thought in a minute.
Judges 9:23, “God sent a spirit of ill [evil spirit] will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,”
It is similar construction in Judges 9:23, “God sent a spirit of ill will.” This is a bad translation. It is the same construction as “a spirit of evil.” The evil is an adjective describing the word ר֫וּחַ rû'ach for spirit.
What we have seen in recent years is some odd ideas that come out of the Old Testament departments. I have read through three commentaries that are fairly recent commentaries on Samuel that have usually been pretty good, but all three of them are espousing an idea that I have never run across before on this passage. They went through some pretty technical hoops in terms of Hebrew grammar to try to justify their position. I do not think it is justifiable at all.
In fact, the work that I did trying to backup some of their claims did not quite work. I could not quite back it up. All of these commentators have PhDs in Hebrew. They are not dumb. They are not making an easy mistake, but they bring their theology to it. The problem here is that people say how can God send an evil spirit? Does that not make God culpable for evil? These men are trying to somehow make it say something other than it says, and even though they recognize the sovereignty of God over good and evil they have their problems. They are trying to come up with some sort of new grammatical idea.
I have looked at a number of current and up-to-date best Hebrew lexicons. They all identify as an adjective. It is defining the noun “spirit.” That means that it is talking about the kind of spirit רַע ra‛ here. What they are trying to say is no, but they cannot really define that word “spirit.” That is where I kept having problems. Where are you defining “spirit?” They are trying to argue that this is some sort of genitival type of construction that means that it is a spirit that brings forth disaster.
What do you mean by “spirit?” Is this a mental attitude? God sent a mental attitude? They do not say that. But when ר֫וּחַ rû'ach is used when it is not with the Holy Spirit, as is in this context, it usually refers to a spirit being that we would refer to as a demon.
That is a new twist that is coming out today, but this is the same kind of thing that we see in 1 Kings 22. Turn to 1 Kings 22. This is another one of those difficult passages that a lot of people have struggles with because of their theology. That God gives permission to Satan to do what Satan does. We see a picture of this in Job 1–2, where “all of the sons of God.” That is a term for angels because they are directly created by God. It is not a term indicating that they were given birth to. It is just a phrase that describes angels, elect angels and fallen angels, holy angels and demons, all are called “sons of God.”
There are these assemblies that take place before the throne of God in Heaven. All of the sons of God, fallen angels and elect angels assemble before God. In Job Satan comes forward. He has been out traveling around the earth. God asks Satan if he has taken a look at “My servant Job.” Job loves Me. Job is righteous. Satan says that the only reason Job obeys You is because You are so good to him. Let me take care of Job for a little while. He is not going to be so happy with You. He will curse You.
God gives Satan permission to do whatever he wanted to, but do not touch him, Job. Do not touch his health. Satan brings suffering upon Job. His children are killed. His livestock is destroyed. His real estate is destroyed. He is in misery. Job refuses to curse God. Satan comes back. There is another assembly. God says have you taken a look at Job lately? It makes me think, Lord, I really do not want you saying have you taken look at West Houston Bible Church lately? Or have you taken a look at Robby Dean lately? I do not want to hear that conversation.
What happens is you have these assemblies. There are elect angels and fallen angels. This is what we see in this situation in 1 Kings 22. It is on the eve of a battle at Ramoth Gilead. You have Ahab and Jehoshaphat aligning together. They are going to go into battle. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, says if they are going to go against Ramoth Gilead then we had better make sure the Lord is in it. He asks Ahab have you consulted the prophets. Ahab says to get the prophets together. All of the prophets come out and say that they are going to win. God says we are going to win.
But there is one prophet. He is a true prophet of the Lord. His name is Micaiah. When Jehoshaphat says is there not still a prophet of Yahweh here, 1 Kings 22:7, that we main inquire of him? The king of Israel, Ahab, says to Jehoshaphat that yes, there was one man, Micaiah. He is a real pain. We can inquire of the Lord but I hate him because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. That is the same word רַע ra‛ that we have in 1 Samuel 16.
Jehoshaphat rebukes him and says for the king not to say such things. They bring in Micaiah. He starts off with tongue in cheek. He says that the Lord told me that you are going to win. Ahab sees right though it. He tells Micaiah to tell him the truth. Tell me the truth. Tell me what is really going on.
Look at 1 Kings 22:19–20, “Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.’ ” That would include holy and elect angels. “And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall (be killed) at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.”
Micaiah is talking about what he sees going on in Heaven before the throne of God. All these angels are there and they are discussing this. God asks who is going to go forth as a deceiving spirit.
1 Kings 22:21–22, “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he (the fallen angel) said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ ”
Now we know by the function that this demon is going to cause deception and going to lie. That is why we know that he is a fallen angel, not a holy angel.
1 Kings 22:22b, “And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ ” God is using His permissive will to allow Satan again, just like in Job, to go and do these kinds of things. This is a function of how God uses evil spirits. Satan cannot do one thing unless God gives him permission because God is the ultimate sovereign Ruler of the universe. Even Satan cannot go persecute Christians or persecute anyone without God’s permission.
God is using this evil spirit to disciple Saul. Here we have a really intense word בָּעַת ba‛at, to be terrified or tormented or afflicted. This would be mental torment or affliction or distress. You may wakeup in the middle of the night and think this applies to you, but it does not. This is extreme. A recent intensive study on this concluded that it means this is an extreme fear that completely incapacitates someone. It is not used anywhere else in the former prophets or in the Torah (the Pentateuch).
Isaiah 21:4, “My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me; The night for which I longed He turned into fear for me.”
It is used later on in Isaiah 21:4, “My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me.”
How is that for what appears to be a redundancy to intensify the idea. “Frightened me” that is the same word בָּעַת ba‛at.
Psalm 18:4, “The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.”
This is deep fear. You may have this kind of fear if you anticipate what it might be like to be captured by ISIS. We are bordering on that kind of terror. Paralyzing fear is what is going on.
What we have seen in this passage, 1 Samuel 16:14, is that we are told that the Holy Spirit leaves Saul and goes upon David. The word there, when it talks about the Spirit of the Lord departing Saul, I want to remind you of what was said about this earlier, when I mentioned the word צָלַח tzālach earlier.
1 Samuel 10:6, “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”
In 1 Samuel 10:6 we are told that the “Spirit of the LORD will come upon you,” come upon Saul in this way, “and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” This is a powerful verb used here. This would not happen to an unbeliever.
1 Samuel 10:10, “When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.”
Then again in 1 Samuel 10:10 it uses that same phrase for Saul, “the Spirit of God came upon him.”
And a third time in 1 Samuel 11:6.
1 Samuel 11:6, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.”
Three times this is said of Saul, that “the Spirit of God came upon” him.
The only other two examples of this in Scripture are both clearly believers, Samuel and David. After this happens Saul is a basket case. He is paralyzed by fear.
1 Samuel 16:15, “And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘Surely, a distressing spirit [evil spirit] from God is troubling [terrifying] you.’ ”
This is the same words, רַע ra‛ for evil, and ר֫וּחַ rûʹach for spirit.
Those words run all through this particular section. So the servants have some discernment as to what must be going on here. Today they would say that this was a medical problem, a psychiatric problem. We need to medicate him. I do not think this kind of thing necessarily happens today. That is another aspect of studying demonology, but it clearly was happening in Saul’s case. This does not happen to anyone else in the Old Testament. There is not one other person in the Old Testament to whom this happens like this, but it is not demon possession. It is a severe form of demonic oppression.
The solution, 1 Samuel 16:16, “Let our master now command your servants.”
We need to find somebody who is skillful. The word there in the Hebrew indicates somebody who really knows how to play the harp, somebody who is experienced, masterful at it. We need a skillful player on the harp.
Let me tell you, playing good music is not the key to getting rid of a demon in a demon-possessed person. They can listen to the best music in the world and that is not how Jesus cast out demons. This is not talking about demon possession. It is talking about soothing Saul’s soul because of the oppression that is going on.
“And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit [evil spirit] of God is upon you, and you [Saul] shall be well.”
This is the word טוֹב tôv.
Some people think tôv, when God said it was all good, when He created everything, that that meant it was all moral, righteous, therefore Satan fell after those initial seven days of the creation week. I have said for years that you cannot import a morality into the word tôv.
The meaning of the word tôv is not saying that when the distressing spirit of God leaves you that you will be moral. It is not saying that. It is not saying you will be righteous. It is saying that you will be as you ought to be, as you are designed to be. If it has a moral sense, then when God says it is not tôv for man to be alone, then if that is moral it is not moral for a man to be single. I do not know about you, but that has a lot of bad implications.
In 1 Samuel 16:17–18 Saul tells them to go find someone. They go out and they say the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, skillful in playing. He knows how to play. He is also “a mighty man of valor.” He is a warrior, “a man of war,” and he is “prudent in speech, and a handsome person.” He is good looking. He is skilled. He has been trained. He is a manly man. He is a real man. He is not going to come in here and be less than what should be a servant of the king.
In 1 Samuel 16:19–20 they sent for David. He was with the sheep. Jesse sent to David and sent with him groceries to Saul, bread, wine, and a young goat as a gift to Saul.
In 1 Samuel 16:21–22 we are told that David came and became Saul’s armorbearer. We are told that Saul loved him greatly.
What we see in the first part of 1 Samuel 16 is that God rears up David through Samuel. It is private. But what happens here, as a result of this evil spirit, David is brought out of the sheepfold into the center of the court. He will be elevated to this position by Saul himself. He is going to be in a position to learn about what is going on in the court of Saul.
As the passage ends, 1 Samuel 16:23, “And so it was, whenever the 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.”
It is the verbרוח , רָוַח rāwach that indicates getting relief, but it is related to the word for wind or breath. It is “getting a breath of fresh air” as it were in our idiom. This evil spirit would סוּר sûr, depart, from him.
What I want to do next time, after we have gone through this, is to go back to talk about an introduction to demonism and the angelic conflict, because we are going to see this repeat itself several more times in the coming chapters. We need to plug this into a good understanding of God’s sovereignty, the angelic conflict, and demonology. We will do that next time.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things tonight, to be reminded of the importance of knowing Your Word, reading Your Word, becoming familiar with Your Word that we might hide it in our hearts. Father, we pray that we might be like David and not like Saul. That we might focus on You as the focal point of everything in our life, to live our lives to please You in every thing we do and every thing we think, and every thing we say. Father, we pray that You might challenge us to grow spiritually and mature that the character of Christ might be manifest in our lives. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”