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 harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon 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 harp. 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."
Lessons from marginal headings:
David plays the harp for Saul-contemporary English Bible
David – An Excellent Musician – the Message
David in Saul's Service/ David serves in Saul’s court- New Living Translation/NIV
A Distressing Spirit Troubles Saul- New King James
Different emphasis from different translators
The Contemporary English Bible and the Message focused on the Musical ability and service of David
The New Living Translation and the NIV concentrated on David serving in Saul’s Service
The King James hones in on The Evil spirit that disturbed Saul.
What would your marginal heading be? It can be different and yet correct.
When the Spirit Departs
Remember when Saul was anointed initially and the Holy Spirit came on him and he began to prophesy. Here we see the Holy spirit departing and an evil spirit taking over. You either have the Holy Spirit or you would have another spirit -an unholy spirit who, in this case tormented Saul, just as air occupies spaces any void in our lives will have to be occupied. If the good is forced out because of our disobedience, the evil is welcomed in. We have as it were, given place, a foothold, a bridgehead to the enemy. Saul’s disobedience resulted in the departure of the Holy Spirit and the entry of the evil spirit.
The Holy Spirit is holy, graceful, peaceful, gentle, comforting, directional, instructional, strengthening, empowering, refreshing, good in all respects, but the evil spirit is destructive, tormenting, deceptive, corrosive, murderous, pain-inflicting, confusion -initiating and promoting and bent on stealing our peace, joy and destiny.
Excel at what you do
Your gift will make room for you. But you have to hone it to keep you in that room.
David was not only a gifted musician who played the harp, he also wrote anointed songs that have blessed countless generations. He did not take his gift for granted but must have practised and practised to make perfect. He was well known for his skill and virtuoso. He was a master of his craft, an adept musician who put his heart and soul into what he did. And we can see the reward here- standing before the king like the scripture says. You and I also, when we are diligent in our calling, excelling at every turn, promotion will look for us, God will make a way for us to glorify Him. We will not stand before mere men, but before kings. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart, mind and strength. Do whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord.
It is however good and comforting to know that excellence does not come overnight, but progressively as we apply ourselves passionately to our calling and adopting the attitude of ‘I have not arrived’ and ‘I want to know more, I want to improve.’
When you go before the king, do not go empty –handed.
We see in this passage that David’s father provided super-abundantly for his son as he was called to serve at the king’s palace. It was customary in those days that you do not go to the king’s presence empty-handed. You went loaded with a gift for him. We too need to have that generous attitude when we come into God’s presence and the Lord will make His grace abound to us to have all sufficiency to abound in every good work. He will fulfil his word and cause us to be given, good measure, pressed down skaken together and running over. He will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings on us such that there will not be room enough to contain it. No good thing will He withhold from us. Our barns will be filled.
Promotion does not come from the east nor from the west but from the Lord.
David had served well in backwaters- behind the scenes, hence he was well known by Saul’s servants. He had also served his father tending his sheep. Now it was time for promotion to serve the king. God would also want us to go through little beginnings where we are in training for reigning, just like Joshua served Moses before stepping into his shoes and Elisha, Elijah.
We also see that David becomes an armour bearer for Saul, his right hand man. He must have learned many lessons in this role before he became the king.
The placement of David was a divine orchestration. God was giving David a preview of what He had in store for him. How marvellous and wonderful are His ways.
The Power of Music.
We are told that when David played, Saul was healed, refreshed and delivered- the three-fold ministry of a psalmist. There is power in music for good or for bad, so we need to listen to spirit-inspired music that would uplift us, glorify God, heal us , comfort and deliver us. We are to guard well your heart, for out of it are the issues or forces of life. Watch what you let into your ‘ear or eye gate’.
Please let me know if you come up with any other insights.