why does god send an evil spirit to torment saul
Why did an evil spirit from God torment King Saul? Why would God send an evil spirit? King Saul was the first King of Israel, and after repeated acts of disobedience (1 Samuel 13:1-14; 15:1-35), the Bible says "Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him" (1 Samuel 16:14). The evil spirit was not a continual presenceвSaul was not possessedвbut it would often come to him and trouble him. How could an evil spirit be "from the Lord? " Why would God allow an evil spirit to torment Saul? What was the purpose of this? From the first chapter of the Book of Job, we see that Satan and the evil spirits are not autonomous, that is, they must ask permission from God before doing certain things (Job 1:12; 2:6). God is a complete ruler; He is absolutely sovereign over His creation, including the evil spirits. They recognize His authority, and they recognized Jesus Christ's authority, which was a sign of Jesus' oneness with the Father (Mark 5:1-13). The evil spirit which tormented Saul was maliciously willing to torment him, but it could not have done so unless it was allowed by God. Most likely, there were two reasons why God allowed the spirit to torment King Saul. First, it was likely a way of providentially connecting King Saul to the future king, David. Saul's servants, when they saw how he suffered under the torment of the spirit, sought someone to play the lyre for the King and soothe him. They found David, and Saul said "Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight" (1 Samuel 16:22).
When David played the lyre, the evil spirit would leave Saul and he would feel better (1 Samuel 16:21-23). Second, it was probably an act of discipline to correct King Saul's behavior and get him to stop being disobedient. Someone has said "pain is God's megaphone" and the existence of physical pain, the presence of evil spirits, or the persecution of evil men, can all legitimately be interpreted as discipline from God, our Father, who does not want us to continue in sin, but instead wishes us to bear the "peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:7-11; Proverbs 3:11-12). We are often tempted to disassociate unpleasant things and the hand of God, but the Bible makes it clear that He both allows and condones discipline for His children. It may have been that Saul was enduring God's discipline when the evil spirit was tormenting him. Related Truth:
First of all, God is absolutely holy and would never tempt or force people to sin. James 1:14 declares, БLet no one say when he is tempted, БI am tempted by GodБ; for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Б Samuel 16:12-14: БAnd the LORD said (unto Samuel), Arise, anoint him (David): for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose, and went to Ramah.
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. Б If we were to read chapter 15 you would see that God had anointed Saul to be king over Israel (verse 1) and that He then commissioned Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites for their attempt to destroy Israel (verses 2-3). But Saul disobeyed God by sparing their king and some of their livestock (verses 8-9). Because of SaulБs rebellious act of disobedience God had Samuel anoint David in his place. Along with the anointing David received the Holy Spirit and the Spirit departed from Saul. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was given to men who were selected by God for service. It had nothing to do with the salvation of their souls. See Judges 3:10, 6:34; 13:25; 14:6 and 1 Samuel 10:10 for other examples of this. In the verse we are considering we learn that the moment the Holy Spirit left Saul Бan evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. Б This has perplexed many believers, for as we saw from James 1:14 the Lord NEVER tempts anyone to sin. So, your question is good and valid, БWhy did the Lord send an evil spirit to torment Saul? Б Before we answer that, letБs be clear that the evil spirit wasnБt acting against his will, for the evil spirit was doing exactly what he wanted to do. In light of this truth, we can say that БGod ALLOWED an evil spirit to trouble Saul, but the evil spirit was acting on his own, for he was more than willing to torment Saul (or anyone for that matter).
I would encourage you to read 2 Chronicles 18:19-22 for another example of this, for in that passage God ALLOWED a Бlying spiritБ to enter a false prophet to entice King Ahab, who was also a wicked king who rebelled against God. The lying spirit was doing what he wanted to do; to wreak havoc upon the human race. I believe the simple answer to your question is that God was PUNISHING SAUL FOR HIS DISOBEDIENCE. He wasnБt tempting him to sin, but He was tormenting Saul for his unwillingness to obey Him and in His sovereignty He used an evil spirit to accomplish His purpose. We must remember that even though Satan and his fallen angels are themselves in rebellion against God, they are still subject to Him. In Job 1:6 we read, БNow there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the LORD, and SATAN WAS AMONG THEM. Б In verse 11 Satan challenged God to remove His hand of blessing on Job and then he would curse God. God gave Satan permission to test Job in verse 12, БAnd the LORD said unto Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. Б In this case God was using Satan to TEST Job, NOT to PUNISH him, but it still teaches us that Satan and his demons are not allowed to act unless God permits it. And when God does permit it, He is NOT tempting people to sin, but either PUNISHING them or TESTING them. (257. 7) (DO)
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