Did the Lord send an evil spirit to trouble Saul?

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“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 Saul the freedom of choice and Saul chose to reject the repeated pleadings of the Holy Spirit and rebel against His guidance. Thus, Saul committed the unpardonable sin. So, there was nothing more God could do to save him (1 Samuel 15:35). God can’t force Himself on His children.

The Scriptures sometimes represent God as doing that which He does not specifically prevent. So, when the Spirit of God left Saul, an evil spirit took hold of him. 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).

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). Therefore, when God withdrew His own Spirit from Saul (1 Sam. 16:13, 14), Satan was free to have his way in his life. When God leaves a soul, the devil fills the empty space.

But God never leaves His children unless they reject Him first. 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).

In His service,

The BibleAsk Team

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