Sunday 9 August, 2020

1 Samuel 16:14-23

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. 15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” 17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” 19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Immediately preceding this scripture, we read that David has been anointed by Samuel, and the Spirit of the Lord has come upon David powerfully. Wow!

My thoughts reading this include:

David’s life surely would have been turned upside down in that moment, all that he had planned or conceived of for his future suddenly looked very different. How did David react when he was anointed? What was going through his mind? What did he do after this life altering turn of events?

We read that Samuel went on to Ramah, but it doesn’t tell us what David said or did after this occurred.

When we get to the passage from today, we cut straight to Saul and his problem of an evil spirit. As we get to verse 16, we see that David is mentioned once again, this time by a servant who knew of him as a brave warrior who played the lyre. David is mentioned before the king because his reputation proceeded him, thus beginning his journey to ultimately becoming the king of Israel. 

I wonder what David had done in the meantime – did he just return to his usual daily life? Clearly he kept up his training as a warrior and his lyre practice! But surely it must have been bizarre for David to wait to see how the anointing that he was given was going to play out. 

For me the key here is that he was filled powerfully with the Spirit of the Lord. I believe the Spirit would have guided and sustained David in the waiting, because I know the same Spirit has done the same thing for me and many others I know. When God calls us to something, it always happens in His timing, which is often different to our preferred timelines! How encouraging to see that God always delivers, never leaves us or forsakes us, even as we hold tight to all that He has promised. 

Thank you God that you provide your Spirit to lead and guide and sustain us, even when we are in a season of waiting or when we can’t see the full picture yet. Help us to continue to rely on you Lord, that we may hold on to your promises and the calling you have for each of us. Amen. 

Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko

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