Saul Loses His Greatest Gift

Things continue to get worse for Saul.  You will recall that he was given a special gift of God’s Spirit the day he was anointed to be king – see here.  But that time has passed – Saul has done things that displeased the Lord, and has apparently not been forgiven by God (this is a major point where the life of Saul differs from that of David).  To make matters worse, we see:

Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.  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.”  — 1 Samuel 16:14-16

Saul’s most important gift – the Spirit of the Lord – is now taken away.  And in the hole left by the Spirit, an evil spirit takes residence.  This evil spirit will govern the rest of Saul’s life – through some wicked decisions on his part, and ultimately to his defeat in battle and death along with his son.

Note:  For those who make the spiritual claim of “once saved, always saved” – that is, that God’s blessing of forgiveness is secure and eternal once it has been handed out, never to be revoked – take note of this example.  The Bible tells us clearly that God’s Spirit was poured out onto Saul in his early reign as king (1 Samuel 10:10).  But here in chapter 16, we see God removing that Spirit because of Saul’s ways and unrepentant heart.  Truly, the Old Testament gives us a very clear example of God granting His Spirit and then taking it away in the life of one individual.  Are there later verses in the Bible to make me think this has changed in any way?  I cannot find one which firmly counteracts the possibility that salvation, once gained, can also be lost – just like Saul.  For more on this topic, see this future post regarding the comparison between the lives of Saul and David.


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