Evil Spirits and the Lord


A question from 1 Samuel:
In Chapter 18:10 it says:
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand.

In Chapter 19:9 is written:
And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand and David played with his hand.

I don't equate evil spirits with our God. Can you explain His reason for sending this evil spirit to Saul?



            Sometimes we get into a mindset that since the evil spirits (fallen angels) are in rebellion against God they no longer have to submit to His authority. This is not the case. There is a body of teaching running through the Scripture that has to be put together in order to make the total picture, but one passage stands out concerning divine authority.

In Ephesians chapter 1 we read beginning in verse 19:

19. And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,

20. Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.

21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22. And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,

The reason that the Father can put all things under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ is because He has all things under His own authority. God's dominion is not limited to just the heavenly forces but also it still exists over the fallen angels. What Satan has done in becoming the Prince of this World and what the demonic hierarchy can do within this world is only what they are allowed to do at best. You will remember the Satanic complaint to God concerning Job was that God has put a hedge about him, so that he (the Devil) could not afflict him. It is not unreasonable that given this fact that the Lord could still require service of demonic beings even though that service might be rendered begrudgingly.

Is there precedence other places in the Scripture that indicates that God will exercise His authority over demonic forces? The answer is yes, there are a number of them. For instance some sicknesses or afflictions had a demonic origin that God allowed for His own purposes for a time. But the greatest example of another person receiving demonic harassment was in the person of the Apostle Paul who said of his situation:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

2Corinthians 12:7

What bothers me in the passage is the statement that the evil spirit came upon Saul, which does open a question concerning the true relationship of Saul with God?

I am not saying that Saul was an unbeliever, but the question does exist that I find no final answer to here.

One of the things about Saul's situation is it seems plain that the authority of the evil spirit is based on Saul's sins of jealousy and envy toward David. These things are unbecoming in a man, reprehensible and dangerous in a king. The evil spirit was one of domination in that Saul was moved to hurl the javelin at David, and it was also one of utterance, so we have a reference to prophesying going on that apparently emanated from the demonic being. This would make the opposing prophesying that takes place in 1Samuel 19: 20-24 more understandable.

            In some sense given the facts I have cited above, the situation called for an evil spirit to act, rather than for a divine messenger to come to Saul. Saul had a lot of fear, a symptom of that was his playing with a javelin in the comfort of his own residence. I have seen this in men of war who could not ever quite trust, not even in God. In the end we can say Saul opened the door to his situation and God used it to the accomplishment of His own will.

Additional Question:
The explanation is great but my question goes behind the power of God. I can't help but wonder why
God would want to put the evil spirit into Saul so that he would hate and seek to kill David. Since God is
love and He loves each of us, it seems out of character for a loving father. 

My answer:
Saul hated David for his own part separate from the evil spirit. The focus of the ire toward David was a
demonic reflection of Saul's animosity. We might assume the evil spirit had knowledge of God's purpose
toward David that it did not necessarily have.

The people chose Saul for king. God chose David. The superiority of God's choice and plan must be
demonstrated over the choice of the flesh. I made the point, perhaps not well, two things:
1. God's servants could not effectively fulfill what was needful to demonstrate this to the people and
bring circumstance about to fulfill the divine purpose.
2, That the infliction of an evil spirit was the direct invitation of Saul by what he allowed into his

God's love is not negated or set aside because of this. It is like people going to hell as part of God's
righteous judgment is not an abrogation of God's love. If they do not care to be with God, He out of
love does not force them to. If a person chooses to act contrary to the teachings of God's law and the
prophets, as Saul did, God allows them to reap what they have sewn. 

In all of this David experiences the divine protection of God. Evidence of this occurs in the accounts of
David's exploits during exile. Some of the incidences of survival challenge credibility without the
knowledge of God being with him. Soldiers sometimes experience a sense of divine preservation in things
they go through without death or even injury. (I am not saying others do not, but just coming from what I
know about that is common with David.) The difference between David and others who experience preservation
in adversity is that he is a biblical and historical figure around which the world is changed.

God's allowing us to go through some things never means He is not exercising love. It means He is
accomplishing divine purpose in the experience of our lives.

            Jonsquill Ministries

P. O. Box 752

Buchanan, Georgia 30113