Summary: How a person anointed for a position works for someone who is no longer serving God.
Working for the King
1 Sam. 16:14-23
Last week we started our study in the life of David by looking at the characteristics that made him a man after God’s own heart. We said that David had spirituality, humility and integrity, and then we applied those same characteristics to our own life.
This morning I want to look at the next section of 1 Sam. 16 and discover the ways David began to live his life in service to King Saul after Samuel anointed him, because I believe there are some significant lessons for us here on the ways we can live our lives as we work for our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. READ 1 Sam. 16:14-23.
About twenty years after Saul becomes king, David was anointed by Samuel to be the king, but he didn’t actually become the king over all of Israel for about another twenty years. For twenty years he was a king without looking like a king, holding the position of a king, having the authority of a king or being recognized by the people as the king. But God’s anointing was upon David and not upon Saul. Saul, who had the position, the power and the recognition to be the king lacked the one thing he needed most to actually be the leader of Israel: He did not have God’s approval. David, who did not have the position or the power or the people’s recognition but did have God’s approval, lived his life in obedience to God and the formerly anointed Saul and slowly became the leader of Israel in the eyes of the people, for God appoints those He anoints according to His ways, not ours.
It is important to notice in verse 14 that the Spirit of God left Saul before the evil spirit found a place to rest. An evil spirit cannot inhabit a house where the Holy Spirit dwells. When you are living a life dedicated to God, then evil cannot live in you. All the devil can do is stand outside the door or your heart and mind and yell at you, accuse you, suggest different ways you can live. He can entice you, tempt you and show you pictures of how great life would be if you did it his way. This is what Satan did to Jesus during His forty days of temptation. But Satan could not make Jesus do anything because the Holy Spirit was in Him. And the same thing goes for us because “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
But Saul chose to live in disobedience to God and so God’s anointing left him and fell on another. As a result an evil spirit began to torment Saul. Psalm 18:25-27 says, “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.” A natural result of disobeying God over a long enough time is that the spirit of holiness gets replaced by the spirit of evil. God doesn’t have to send it; it naturally occupies the empty space vacated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24), but every person on earth must serve one. It is a natural law in the spirit that if you are not serving God you are serving something else. I don’t believe that God has to personally send an evil spirit to torment people. The evil spirits go all on their own because that is the way God created the spirit world. So in one sense yes, God “sent” the spirit to torment Saul because that is how His creation works. But in the other sense God didn’t actually send it as much as Saul invited it through his own disobedience. Furthermore, the people around Saul, even people not dedicated to God, can tell evil when they see it.
Now, good and godly advisors who see a friend being tormented by an evil spirit would tell you to repent, not hire a musician. At least, that’s what I hope you do for me. If I reject God and am tormented by an evil spirit, please tell me to repent and don’t try to send me nice Christian music. Even though music is central to our worship of God, it won’t do any lasting good to a person whose life is not centered on God.
So God’s anointing is no longer with Saul but is with David, but what does that mean? The word “anoint” in the OT basically means to “rub” or “smear” with a liquid. It was used in the sense of painting a house (Jer. 22:14), rubbing a shield with oil (2 Sam. 1:21; Isa. 21:5) or using a cosmetic lotion (Amos 6:6). Religious objects in the Tabernacle were anointed at the time of their dedication (Amos 6:6), and so were people such as priests (Ex. 30:30), kings (1 Sam. 16:12-13; Ps. 89:20) and at least one prophet (1 Kings 19:16).