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When The Light Goes Out Inside You

Aug 13, 2023 | Sunday Devotional | 0 comments

First Samuel 16:14 “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.”

It happened to one of the most promising and powerful people in Israel’s history. His name was Saul, the first king of God’s people.

The ninth chapter of first Samuel tells us Saul was a favored son of a prosperous man. Verse 2 declares he was more handsome than any other man in the kingdom- and a full head taller.

One day Saul’s father, Kish, sent him and a servant to find a strayed herd of donkeys. They searched long and hard but without success. Finally Saul said to the servant: “… let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us”(First Samuel 9:5).

The servant had heard of a highly respected prophet who was nearby. The servant persuaded Saul to stay longer in other to find Samuel and ask for his help.

In the meantime God had revealed to Samuel that He had heard the people’s prayers for a king and soon Samuel would meet God’s choice for king of the land. The next paragraphs tells of God’s convincing both Samuel and Saul that Saul was to be the King. The word declares the “Spirit of God came upon Saul” (First Samuel 11:6). Immediately he became a valiant and wise warrior and leader. He was crowned king, the first king of Israel.

What a man! More handsome and at least six inches taller than any other man in the kingdom. He was brave and wise. He was not proud and arrogant, but humble and reluctant to receive honor from his people. He was not vengeful to those who opposed his appointment as king. He was blessed with the Spirit of God. The light of God’s Spirit shone within him.

A few years later we see the same man. Still talk, of course, still handsome, yet his face is changed. There is a hardness, and a look in the eyes betrays the difference. Now he is vengeful, violent, suspicious, and unloving. Rest comes hard for him, and he must have music to soothe his frayed nerves. Once he commanded an admiring and committed army of thousands, but now his troops number in the hundreds, and they serve for reasons other than admiration of their commander.

His own courage is gone. This once fearless warrior sit quaking in his tent while Goliath girls insult at Saul, his army, and worst of all, at God everyday for more than a month. The dark around him mirrors the dark within him. His light has gone out.

In first Samuel 16:14, we read the chilling words: “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him”.

Reading through this section of the Scripture brings both encouragement and warning. It floods our emotions with the thrill of the story of David’s rise and the agony of Saul’s tragic decline. It pictures the joy of a sunrise in one life and the anguish of premature loss of purpose and light in another. Saul’s decline was not a sunset. It was too early for the sun to set on his life. It was an eclipse at midday – a sinful eclipse marked by decline and disobedience which led to frustration, darkness, and death.

James 1:14-15 could be a commentary on the decline of Saul or any of us: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished it brings forth death”.

The Spirit of God departed from Saul. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God would come as God blessed and empowered people for their calling. His Spirit would leave when sin started the process of disqualification and death. With Pentecost, the Spirit came to stay in believer’s hearts; but the power, the filling of the Spirit, is a thing we must seek continually in our daily walk.

Saul was experiencing this tragic absence of the presence of God.

This is a hard thing for anyone to be out of touch with the best in them. But it is the most difficult time for a Christian. When once you you’ve known the blessing of His filling, and you lost that, it is a tragic loss. Although people without Christ are facing the judgment of God and eternity without Him, it doesn’t bother most of them. They simply refuse to think about it. The first chapter of Romans declares that they choose to darken their minds. In the name wisdom they became fools ( Rom.1:22-23).

But when someone has known the joy of God’s presence, has gloried in the glow of the new life in Christ, and then lost that awareness of His presence, how hard it is. How does it happen? Why did Saul lose the blessing of God in his life? Why do we? Saul disobeyed God. He thought his way was better than God’s way. He lost purpose in life.

It happens to most of us. Even David, “a man after God’s own heart”, yielded to the sin of “leaning to his own understanding”, and thus started the death – producing sin cycle in his life. In Psalm 51 we read the lines most of us have felt: “Have mercy upon me O God… My sin is ever before me… Purge me… Cleanse me… Wash me… Make me to hear joy and gladness. Hide Thy face from my sins… Create in me a clean heart, O God. Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me… Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation…” Oh, the agony of the absence of God.

You know, of course, we can come back. We don’t have to stay in a spiritual winter. It can be spring again in our hearts. David came back. Elijah did. Peter did, too. So did the prodigal son. The Bible is a book about the Gospel of beginning again.

Come Back To God In True Repentance And He Will Restore The Joy Of Your Salvation.

Pastor Paul Okonkwo
Independent Baptist Bible Church (IBBC),
New Haven,
Enugu

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