Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for a peace at this time.
1 Samuel 16:14-23 (NRSV)
Now the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the LORD is with him.” So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David who is with the sheep.” Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
This text is a melding point of sorts. The preceding story in chapter 16 is the story of Samuel anointing David, and in verse 13 the oracle says, “The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.” Our text begins with an exodus of the Spirit—“The spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (verse 14). David received what Saul lost. These events serve to bring them together. When Saul was tormented, David would play for him and Saul would feel relieved and the evil spirit would leave him.
We all probably have an acquaintance or two who brings that kind of relief to us. We may even have a song or an artist that soothes the savage of our soul. Give thanks for these gifts today. Know that in the ordinary unfolding of our days we will experience distress, frustration, pain, and anger. These “evil” spirits can distract us and prevent us from engaging in the kingdom’s work with the people around us. Retreat to a friend who gives the spirit of the Lord as a gift. Retreat to the gift of music, which can satisfy an inner longing. And, give thanks.
Ever present God, in the twists and turns of one day we can find ourselves with feelings of abandonment and despair. Remind us of how you are always near and how you provide us with sanctuaries of people, places, and gifts that return us to peaceful living. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.