The Other Spirits of God

By on January 24, 2015

“The Other Spirits of God”
1Samuel 16:14-23

November 11, 2007
by C.W. Powell


“14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 15 And Saul’s ser-vants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. 18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. 19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. 20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”
(1Sa 16:14-23 av)

I. There is a spirit world, that interacts with the world of sense. These spirits not only can make things happen in the physical world, but they themselves are affected by things that take place in the world.


A. That there is such a world is clearly set forth in the Bible, particularly in the Gospels, for Jesus and the apostles encountered them everywhere.

B. This world is hidden to the eyes of men except as God chooses to reveal it, and we are not to be curious about it or seek to know it or seek to manipulate it. Those who did so, in the time of the law, were to be put to death Such things are forbidden for us to seek, but must be left to God.

C. But neither are we to be ignorant and careless, as though we in ourselves might be invulnerable, for ours safety is in Christ alone and the blood of his cross.

D. We are neither to be obsessed with the powers of evil, not naively think that they do not affect the things that take place in the world.

E. This passage also tells us that even these powers of evil are subject to the authority of God and serve at His command.

F. That being so, we must leave their government and power to the restraint and authority of God and not seek to intrude into those things that are hidden. We are forbidden to do so Thus we read:

“17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Ro 16:17-20 av)

“19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lascivi-ousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envy-ings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Ga 5:19-21 av)


The word is really “sorcery” or those who try to manipulate the spiritual world from the world of sense. We are not to stir up such spirits, but follow David in putting them to rest.

Remember that Samuel told David, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” Those who are in rebellion against the authority that God has chosen to govern the world are in league with the devil and are to be treated as such. Unquiet souls who chaff against the rule of God will do more harm to the church than a great many of the remnants of pagan sorcery that have no standing in the modern world.

II. David, by a singular act of providence, is introduced to the court, and thus given preparation for the work for which God anointed him.


A. David played the harp. The proper and godly use of His gifts would be used to quiet this evil spirit that had been sent from God as a mark of Saul’s abandonment.

B. The sweetness of David’s music calmed Saul.

C. There is no doubt that music is a powerful instrument for both good and evil. Music can be used with other things to move men powerfully for both good and evil. There is nothing of itself that is unclean, but things can be put to uses that are unclean and wicked.

D. This was an “evil spirit” from God. That is, it was under the power and authority of God, as all spirits are. It was not some sadness or melancholy in Saul, but was a malignant and foul spirit that was sent to torment Saul because he was rejected of God. It was probably sent, also, to discipline Saul and to restrain him in his evil, perhaps to keep Saul, as it were, in a sort of spiritual bondage, chained up so that he would not do the evil he was capable of, now that the spirit of the Lord had departed from him.

E. It is true that you and I are ruled by the spirit world much more than we think we are. Those who minister the gospel are engaged in spiritual warfare and must be on their guard.


1. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2Ti 2:22-26)

a. He is not to strive: The servant of the lord is to sooth the untamed temperament. The methods are indirect, in terms of the sovereignty of God The minister is the servant of the Lord called to to spiritual warfare, but to do it in the way that God has ordained. Our weapons are not carnal—of the flesh—but are mighty through God. “Strive” with swords, with words, at law.

b. Gentle to all men.

c. Apt to teach: [skillful in teaching] he should have the ability to teach. Knowledge does not teach its own use. Knowing, and knowing how to teach are two different skills.

d. Patient: willing to take the time to allow truth to soak in and be experienced.

e. Meekness: I cannot deliver men from the power of the devil: only God can do that, and He does not do it to all men: “peradventure”

f. Acknowledging of the truth: those who are blind are blind. ‘oppose themselves’ means to place yourself in opposition. We are to have the Lord in view here on how he dealt with difficult people:

g. Repentance is what men must do to recover themselves from the devil. As long as men live in rebellion to God, they live under the power of the devil. They just dream that they are in control of their own lives: it is their rebellion that drives their lives by the work of the devil.

h. Notice: there is nothing in this passage about spells, or incense, or exorcisms, or all that nonsense. The devil’s kingdom is opposed by turning away from youthful lusts to join with those who call on the Lord our of a pure heart, following righteousness, faith, charity, peace.

2. Note also 1Tim. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1Ti 3:2-7)

1. His house is a house of peace, not turmoil and of evil spirits. 1-5

2. The condemnation of the devil: Satan fell through pride, and the proud will receive the same condemnation that the devil received.

3. Snare of the devil: The figure is a snare for birds: sudden and deadly. You can’t get out; trapped. The devil snares them and devours them and they become useless to the church.

III. It would be well for us to heed the warnings and promises of 1Corinthians 10.
This passage I will deal with in Sunday School today, and postpone today’s lesson until next week.

May God bless you.

May God bless you.

Amen and Amen

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