Saul’s Distressing Spirit
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”1 Samuel 16:14
The Lord gave King Saul, the first king of Israel, the freedom of choice but the king chose to reject the repeated pleadings of the Holy Spirit and rebel against His guidance. Thus, Saul committed the unpardonable sin. In describing this sin, Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
So, there was nothing more God could do to save King Saul. “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:35). So, when the Spirit of God left Saul, an evil spirit took hold of him. When God withdrew His own Spirit from Saul (1 Samuel 16:13, 14), Satan was free to have his way in his life. When God leaves a soul, the devil fills the empty space.
Saul developed a severe depression as he contemplated Samuel’s announcement that he had given the crown to a man “better” than he was (1 Samuel 15:28). Josephus the historian describes the situation like this: “As for Saul, some strange and demoniacal disorders came upon him, and brought upon him such suffocations as were ready to choke him” (Antiquities vi. 8. 2).
There is only one way in which a person may be removed from God’s hand, and that is by his own voluntary choice. When a person departs from God, he does so voluntarily, and have no one to blame but himself. God can’t force Himself on His children (Joshua 24:15). God never leaves His children unless they reject Him first. The Lord admonishes His children saying, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). It is important therefore to guard against even a single act of grieving.
To the faithful the Lord promised, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). And they are assured that they will not be “hurt” by the second death (Revelation 2:11).
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In His service,