1 Samuel 16:14-16, 19, 23 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.” … … Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” … … Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
Perhaps the most powerful and inescapable message that comes to us from these verses is that the LORD God is absolutely sovereign over EVERYthing that happens in HIS world.
It is a part of our fallen nature that we react against this basic Reformed doctrine, especially as we watch the news about the seemingly uncontrollable spread of the pandemic, and the terrible suffering of the poor ‘innocent’ people in Afghanistan, Haiti, and as a result of the floods in Germany and Turkey and the fires in Turkey and Greece and the hurricanes in America.
But, we note here that the ’EVIL spirit’ that tormented King Saul was ‘FROM THE LORD’, and even Saul’s attendants acknowledged that it was ‘FROM GOD’! Moreover, it is clear that the ‘decision’ by Saul and his court to hire the musically gifted shepherd boy to provide music therapy was a significant part of the progress of David to the throne, which, in turn, was a vital step in the sending of Jesus to be the Promised Saviour. Yes, there was NO part of the outworking of God’s Eternal Plan of Salvation that was outside HIS sovereign control.
And, if we are among those who have come to know Jesus as our personal Saviour and have taken hold of the provision of God’s Eternal Plan, it is only because HE has taken the initiative and sent his Holy Spirit to graciously grant spiritual LIFE to an otherwise spiritually DEAD heart (Ephesians 2:1-10) – or as Luke tells us: “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were APPOINTED FOR ETERNAL LIFE believed”, (Acts 13:48), so that even our FAITH is a GIFT of God’s UNCONDITIONAL GRACE. Our proud, fallen hearts often find it hard to acknowledge this aspect of God’s ABSOLUTE sovereign, but gracious, rule – it is all VERY humbling!