Does God send evil spirits?

I came across this scripture today during Morning Prayer:

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. ~ 1 Samuel 16:14 KJV (emphasis added)

What in the world??

An evil spirit from the LORD?

Is this humanly possible?

Is this spiritually possible?

Let’s find out!

Like any good bible studier, I turned to the Internet and all my phone apps. And, evidently this is a hard question to answer because a LOT of people I researched have said so.

But, one thing is for sure:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

~James 1: 13-15

Interesting, right? God tempts no one. This means that as much as we want to blame God for our bad behaviors, we have no one to blame but our affiliation to sin. YIKES!

Now back to my question:

Did God literally send this “tormenting spirit”, or did he simply remove his covering and allow Satan to come into the picture? Similar to the story of Job where God allowed calamity as a test to prove that Job was a faithful servant, was God allowing calamity in Saul’s life to see if he’d return to God?

This makes me think. How often do we blame God for our calamities when in reality it’s Satan and the spirits of evil all along?

Now, I could be getting into “nonsense” territory for you. But, the spirits mentioned in the bible are real. And, if they were around then, they are most certainly still around now. Maybe that accounts for all this craziness in our world right now?

The thing about Saul: He repeatedly disobeyed God. Israel begged for a ruler, against God’s wishes. But He caved because He loved them, however He gave them a stipulation through His prophet in 1 Samuel 8:

10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you:  he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men1 and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

And, yet they still wanted a king.

So, God chose Saul. Who after being anointed by Samuel and the Holy Spirit coming upon him, returned to his home to plow his fields. Priorities, y’all.

I love the Bible.

The history goes on to say that Samuel would prophesy about what to do, Saul would do most but not all of it, thus being disobedient to God.

Repeatedly.

So God chose someone else. David. Who at this time was just a teenager. I love how David’s role begins. Saul, who in 1 Samuel 16:14 has now been stripped of the Holy Spirit and had it replaced with a “tormenting” (or “terrorizing” in other translations) spirit finds comfort in one thing…

The lyre. (It’s like a guitar and a harp had a baby. Here’s some pics and info.)

And, guess who’s known for playing the lyre?

That’s right! You win the prize!

David.

A lonely shepherd—is now summoned to the palace to play for King Saul to console him when the spirits plague him the most. And, it works.

God gives Saul some relief. But, I find it ironic that it’s in his successor.

And, later on, he hates him for it. Go check it out. It’s a good read. 1 Samuel 16 | ESV.org

So, back to my question again:

Did God really send a spirit to torment Saul? What do you think? Or, do you feel God removed his hand and allowed evil to enter in?

5 thoughts on “Does God send evil spirits?

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