|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."
... 23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1Samuel16:14-23)
This passage is a lovely picture of how a Godly leader who lives in the presence of the Lord can bring peace to those around him...
This is a difficult passage. It describes Saul's ongoing spiritual and emotional decline. God's Spirit has left Saul and now an evil spirit besets him.
What is difficult about this passage is that it indicates that the evil spirit is from God. This does not mean that God is the author of evil, but simply that He allows it - It is a reminder that God is still sovereign over evil. The best example we have of this is when Satan has to go to God to get permission to torment Job.
Although God allows the evil spirit to come, it is Saul who has rebelled against God. It is Saul who does not heed Samuel's warnings and Saul who would rather keep up appearances than repent. God's Spirit departs from Saul and, as he feeds himself on insecurity and jealousy, he opens himself up to evil influence.
Saul's servants recognise the presence of evil and they recognise that music (presumably hymns of praise to God) will banish the darkness. They recommend David. Look at the criteria they mention:
- Plays the harp. Skilled musician (and, judging by his success in soothing Saul, a true worshipper)
- Brave man and a Warrior: Someone who would not be intimidated by the evil spirit in Saul and the melancholic mood swings he was prone to. (We know that Saul twice tried to make a sosaatie out of David with his spear.)
- Speaks well and is a fine-looking man. One can only assume that David's refinement would give Saul an anchor - to inspire him toward better things. Beauty is a powerful antidote to darkness.
- And the Lord is with him: David lived in the presence of the Lord and could therefore exude God's presence.
Godly leaders, like David, will carry God's peace with them. The OT word for peace is Shalom (wholeness, blessing and harmony) - I believe that peace-bringing is a significant criteria of Godly leaders.