20 Jun An “Evil” Spirit
Quarterbacks (and leaders, in general) are said to get too much credit for wins and too much blame for defeats. The proverbial buck has to stop somewhere, and we are usually glad it does not stop with us. We see this play out in many areas of our lives, and we also see it when it comes to the Bible.
This past Sunday, we looked at Saul and his struggles with mental illness. There was a great deal of biblical content there, so I was not able to address everything, but one question must be addressed: Does God send evil to get us? Many people struggle with this question, and Saul’s story helps shed some light on the topic.
Many people who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God manifesting in a predetermined life will point to the Exodus account with Pharaoh’s hardened heart and the 1 Samuel 18 passage for support. The logic is: God selects some to be saved and some to perish, and God can send good and evil. I disagree because of the tenor—or consistent thought—throughout Scripture that points to free will. Good friends can disagree, which is why there are so many denominations, but let’s get back to Saul.
I referenced an article from Dr. Dave Miller in my sermon because he summed up my understanding from years of biblical study about this topic. Miller suggests three reasons that God did not send the evil spirit but allowed it. First, it was punitive like a judge handing out a sentence. Saul was being punished for rebelling against God and his refusal to repent. Second, study of ancient Hebrew reveals that people are often credited with something by the authority they have over another. In this sense, God allowed it, so God is responsible. Third, the word spirit has multiple translations and can mean a host of things like “disposition of mind or attitude.” Saul was rejecting God, and he brought a host of problems into his life and the kingdom of Israel.
God is sovereign, but God allows us to reject Him to our peril…and to injure others around us. When we are up, we think we must be doing something right in God’s eyes, and when we are down, we think we must have done something to turn God against us. We turn into the quarterbacks of our lives: too much credit and too much blame, depending on the circumstance.
Whether we are up or whether we are down, we follow Jesus. The church starter Paul wrote in Romans 14:7-8: “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” God’s promises are true and will be realized. There will be ups and downs on this journey, but Jesus has won the victory for us for all eternity. Our struggles will end in this life or the next. To God be the glory and praise!
Blessings to you,