among the prophets

Today's devotion from 1 Samuel 19.

Saul is melting down. There's really no other way to describe what is happening. He is under God's judgement, and beginning to snap. He is impulsive and rash. He is tormented by fits of jealous rage. He will not rest until one of his greatest and most loyal men is dead. Saul is coming unraveled, and it is evident. However, we need to address a question: why?

The answer is simple. Saul has lost the protective and blessing hand of God. God has removed His Spirit and sent another in His place. Many english translations may describe this spirit as "evil" in previous chapters and "harmful" here, in the English Standard Version. Can/does God send evil or harmful spirits against people?

Some look at this and state that God has sent a spirit of judgement on Saul. Others may note their belief that this is actually a passive move by God in removing the protection around Saul to allow demonic activity in his life. Still others liken this to the hardening of heart suffered earlier by pharaoh, and now by Saul. Regardless of the theological lens through which we interpret these events, the outcome is the same. Saul's state of mind is completely off balance. Saul's life has been so turned upside down that what once was a sign of blessing (prophesying) is now a tool used to prevent him from afflicting harm on God's chosen.

Yet, in all of this discussion we have forgotten something, or rather, someone: David. David is God's chosen who has been anointed king and victorious in battle. However we find him having to flee one rejected by God by climbing out of his window. He is forced into hiding like a fugitive. He has done nothing wrong at this point, yet it is he, not Saul, that is living like God has turned against him.

In this we see a powerful truth that each of us must wrestle with at some point in our lives. The reality is that even when we follow God we will face trials and difficulty. He may preserve us through them, but through them we must go. Maybe today you are in a hard spot. I know that I'm often tempted to ask God what I've done wrong. Sometimes it's not what you've done wrong. Sometimes it's what you are doing right. Stay the course!