What does it mean that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul?


Clarify Share Report Asked May 16 2017 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
It sounds as if the questioner might be confusing two different passages.

The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon Saul (1 Samuel 11:6) (as Samuel (the last of Israel's judges) had told Saul would happen when Samuel anointed Saul as king of Israel (1 Samuel 10:6)), when Saul took successful actions as king against the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1-11).

The reference to God permitting an evil spirit to come upon Saul (1 Samuel 18:10-12; 1 Samuel 19:9-10) was a result of God later withdrawing His favor and protection from Saul after Saul had disobeyed God's commands on multiple occasions by offering sacrifices to God that only Samuel was allowed to make (1 Samuel 13:6-15); and by not completely destroying the Amalekites (one of the nations opposing Israel), including all their livestock (1 Samuel 15). This evil spirit also caused Saul to attempt to kill David (whom God had directed Samuel to anoint as Saul's successor), which further compounded Saul's sin and guilt.

May 17 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
You will find greater understanding of this passage by looking at two additional short passages and the story of Pharaoh and the 10 Plagues of Egypt.

First look at 2 Chr 18 or 1 Kg 22. Both chapters are word-for-word the same so you only need to read one. The lying spirit which God sent to prophesy falsely is one of the spirits ministering at the throne of God, and God approves this plan saying it will succeed. Through this lie, Ahab is judged and goes to his death.

The principle is set forth in the form of a statute in Ez 14:1-11. Here God gives us the spiritual definition of idols, which are preconceived ideas or pet doctrines that we choose to keep over the word of God. God always speaks to prophets in symbolism (Num 12:6-9) so it is not necessarily the spirit speaking through the prophet who is lying -- it is just being evasive, using symbolism the prophet and his listeners do not understand and will interpret in the manner they desire, rather than seeking a clarifying word from God.

We do not know if this is the mechanism in use by Saul's evil spirit; instead, it seems to be something else, but the text is clear. God is the source of this spirit. God sent it just as he sent the spirit to lie to Ahab through the king's prophets, and gives the specific message to a prophet who is prophesying through his own idols or to the idols of those consulting him. In all these cases the spirit comes from God and he takes full credit for it.

Finally, we look at the story of Pharaoh. There are four verses that say Pharaoh hardened his heart, and eleven other verses in which God takes full credit for hardening Pharaohs heart, beginning with when he was telling Moses what would happen even before Moses left the burning bush (Ex 4:21). 

Eze 14 is one of several texts in both the OT and NT that tell us God will turn us over to the sins within us if we refuse to seek him out. This is the strong delustion of 2 Thes 2, the lying spirit in 2 Chr 18, the evil spirit from God in 1 Sa 18, 19 and the word given through the prophet that cannot recognize idols in the hearts of those consulting with him, or even in his own heart and thus actively teaches falsehood. God sends all of these and his primary purpose is to test us to see if we really love him or prefer those idols (Dt 13:1-5). If we prefer those idols he gives us more than our fill of the flesh they feed us (Num 11).

Saul refused over and over again to seek God's counsel or to follow it when it was given to him. Since that happened God refused to speak to him and sent the spirit he preferred to hear to torment him.

August 27 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Lighthouse Frantz Philossaint
This is a really good question. The bible is clear in always having a answer. God is in no wise the author of evil or sin. It is clear that it originates with Satan, but we as human beings are created to exercise free will. God does not in any way use force to accomplish His purposes. God must allow a person to choose which way the person will go. Deut 30:15-16; Josh 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21 

There are consequences in the choices that people make. In the example of Ahab (1 Kings 22) he made a choice and choose to reject the prophet's message (Micaiah) (1 Kings 22:18) and because of his choice God allowed a lying spirit to prophesy lies in the mouth of the false prophet which encouraged Ahab to go and fight. This lying spirit is an evil spirit, who of course is allowed to be part of this meeting which we know that Satan was allowed to go to heaven as a representative of this earth in the book of Job until the crucifixion of Christ (Rev 12:10-12; John 12:31). God allows or permits these evil spirits to work because of the choice that a person makes (2 Thess 2:9-13). Even still God is merciful by allowing a certain limit and no farther. 

In the case of Saul, because of his choice God had to allow an evil spirit to come upon him. In 1 Sam 16:14 he says "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him." If the Spirit of God is not there, then what kind of spirit is there? It can only be the spirit of demons. So why did the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul? 1 Sam 16:1 says because the Lord rejected him. Saul was disobedient to the Lord 1 Sam 15:24-28. It got so bad that after the death of Samuel he went to a witch of Endor and the devil deceived Saul counterfeiting Samuel.

Lastly, the bible shows that when God's presence is not there then bad things happen because the demons immediately take over. Deut 31:17-18; 32:20; Ezek 39:23; Psalm 78:49. We have to be thankful for the Spirit of God and for God's angels. The amount of danger we could be in if it wasn't for Jesus Christ and His mediation. The only reason why we are still here is because the MERCY, GRACE, and PROTECTION of GOD. There is a time coming (Dan 12:1) when we will have to be completely and wholly trusting in God. I encourage you learn to trust God NOW, especially in the little things and God will be with you in the big things. Peace and love from our Lord Jesus Christ.

August 30 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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