1 Samuel 16:13-14
13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil[a] spirit from the Lord tormented him.
The contrast between David and Saul now begins to become clearer. The Spirit of the LORD comes powerfully upon David having left Saul to be replaced by an ‘evil spirit’. How does this show in David? Unlike other examples in the Bible, he doesn’t start performing miracles or speaking prophecies or such like. Actually, although this can be exciting and powerful, this isn’t the main purpose of the Spirit. The main purpose of the Spirit coming on us is to lead us into a deeper more faithful relationship with God and with each other. Do you have a relationship with God? The God’s Spirit is working in you! Whatever David’s faults, and there were many, his life was marked by a living relationship with God. So what are we to make of Saul’s experience. To say that God sent an evil spirit into him is problematic, but the NIV footnote offers another way of understanding this, a ‘harmful spirit’. Without a living relationship with God, we can find ourselves feeling restless, unfulfilled, troubled even. Is this what Saul was experiencing through having neglected his relationship with God?
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
St. Augustine, St. Augustine’s Confessions