Summary: The way that David’s music ministered to Saul’s heart, music in worship can minister to ours. I include some suggestions for getting the most out of our music in worship.


A. Music is a powerful force – It gets our attention; it grabs our hearts; it transforms our souls.

1. This is the case because God has made it so.

2. God is the one who has created music and created us in a way that music ministers to us.

3. Not only that, God has also given certain individuals the ability to make music.

4. All the way back in the Bible’s first genealogical records we read that Jubal “was the father of all who play the harp and flute.” (Gen. 4:21)

I. David The Music Minister:

A. David, the man whose life we are studying, the man after God’s own heart, was a man of music.

1. Right in the middle of the Bible we find the book Psalms, all 150 of them.

2. More than half of them were written by David, and some of them, no doubt, were written in the very context we’re going to look at today, in the threatening presence of a madman named Saul.

B. After Samuel anointed David with oil, indicating God’s choice of him as the next king of Israel, we read some disturbing things about Saul.

1. The Bible says, “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.” (1 Sam. 16:14)

2. Before we talk about the misery of this malady that Saul wrestled with, I think it’s important that we notice that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul before an evil spirit came.

3. It’s also important for us to understand that the indwelling of the Spirit is different for Christians than it was for the people of the Old Testament.

4. Before the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Spirit of God never permanently rested on any person, perhaps with the exception of David and John the Baptist.

5. In Old Testament times, it was common for the Spirit of God to come for a temporary period of strengthening or insight or whatever was the need of the moment, and then to depart.

6. However, at Pentecost and from that time on, when the Holy Spirit comes into the believing sinner upon their baptism, He stays.

7. We remain sealed by the Holy Spirit, as Paul wrote, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of salvation.” (Eph. 4:30)

8. And as you know, our very bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God resides in us! (1 Cor. 6:19) We who are Christians.

C. But what is happening here in 1 Samuel 16 with King Saul is centuries before Pentecost.

1. We should not be surprised to read that as the Spirit of God departed from Saul, a vacuum was created into which God sent an evil spirit to torment him.

2. No one knows the exact reason that the Lord did this, but we can certainly speculate.

3. What seems most probable is that the Lord was disgusted with Saul.

4. It’s as if God was saying to Saul, “You have not taken me seriously. This will teach you to do that, Saul.”

5. The Hebrew word used here for “torment” means “to fall upon, to startle, to overwhelm.”

6. Keil and Delitzsch, two reputable Old Testament scholars, say this about the evil spirit that came upon Saul, “The “evil spirit from Jehovah” which came into Saul in the place of the Spirit of Jehovah, was not merely an inward feeling of depression at the rejection announced to him, which grew into melancholy, and occasionally broke out in passing fits of insanity, but a higher evil power, which took possession of him, and not only deprived him of his peace of mind, but stirred up the feelings, ideas, imagination, and thoughts of his soul to such an extent that at times it drove him even into madness. The demon is called “an evil spirit (coming) from Jehovah” because Jehovah had sent it as a punishment…”

D. So that was Saul’s malady, and it was so visible to those around him that even his servant realized he needed help and boldly suggested, “‘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.’ So Saul said to his attendants, ‘Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.’” (1 Sam. 16:15-17)

1. Earliest archaeological records, carvings, and inscriptions show us that the ancients believed music soothed passions, healed mental diseases, and even held in check riots.

2. It is interesting how God uses this belief to provide the link needed to connect David to Saul and the throne.

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