“… the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played (the harp) with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.” (1 Samuel 18: 10,11)
That, and other Scripture passages, beg a question that’s puzzled me for years, How could an “evil” spirit could come from God?
Today’s Our Daily Bread meditation by Julie Ackerman Link suggested an answer:
“Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done. where What’s the difference between an “ill wind,” and a “fair wind,” or “a destructive fire,” and “a productive fire?” One works against you, and the other works for you, but both are simply natural functions, with no agenda of their own.”
For further insight, I consulted some classic commentaries in eSword ,* discovering that actual theologians agree with me about God unleashing anything bad on his people. Characterizing phenomena as “good” or “evil” is the human perception, but in God’s economy all is ultimately good for those who follow Jesus. So many Scripture passages support that idea that laying them all out here would defeat the purpose of a blog post. Those who want to study it out can find many excellent tools such as the one I mentioned. When we study out answers to our own questions we’ll have them ready for anyone who asks us about it. Being prepared could pay eternal dividends.
* The free Bible-study program from Rick Meyers, whose life work is making Bible-study tools freely available to all who want to wield God’s sword more effectively.