“And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” 1 Samuel 16:23
How do you respond when the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin upon you heart? Is it sometime distressing?
King Saul was going crazy. He had sin against God. His pride had led him to take prerogatives that were not his to take and in doing so he had dishonored himself, his office and God. But Saul had sought to justify and excuse his actions. Not wanting to humble himself and admit his sins he had treasured resentment in his heart that God had taken the throne of Israel from his descendants.
Then God sent him on a mission of judgment and once again his pride led him to seek honor and reward for himself when God had already laid claimed to everything. God’s plan is that no one is to be enriched by the sin and punishment of another.
Once again Saul fought with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit upon his heart. So great was the struggle that he began to show signs of losing his reason.
Many wonder about this “distressing spirit from the Lord” that came upon Saul thinking that perhaps God had sent a demon to torment the disobedient king. But friends, in James chapter one, verse thirteen, the apostle tells us that God is not tempt by evil,and neither does he tempt anyone. It’s not God’s way to bring this kind of torment upon anyone. God does not punish or fight evil with evil.
But God does, through the Holy Spirit, seek to bring conviction upon the heart of his wayward child. Only when there is sincere, humble confession of sin can it be truly rejected and God’s righteousness accepted. God’s work while we’re holding onto sin is to bring us to the point where we acknowledge our sin and truly repent of it.
But Saul, resentful that God had remonstrated with him through Samuel and had rejected himself and his lineage as kings over Israel fought with God and refused to be led to humble himself. Instead of being blessed by the working of the Holy Spirit, as he had previously been, he was now distressed and tormented.
Saul’s family, and those attending him, seeing his agitation and distress advised that a skillful player of the hard be found to come and play soothing music for Saul to quite his distress and soothe his trouble heart. But the effect of this music was temporary. Only for a time would the affect of the music serve to salve Saul’s pride and resentfulness.
Friends, it’s fearful to resist the urging of the Holy Spirit to turn from the path of sin. We’ve all experience the distress of having the convicting hand of God weighing heavily upon our hearts, and I can attest that true relief comes only when full confession and repentance is given.
We’ll never know what could have been as regards to King Saul, we only see the result of his resistance. But we can experience the blessing of freedom and cleansing that comes to us when we open our hearts to God as we admit our sins and let him set our lives in the path of righteousness.