Daily Devotional

The Spirit on Saul

"Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they reported to him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and he became very angry."
  I Samuel 11:5-6 NASB

Having been anointed to be king of Israel, and also having been selected by God by lot, when Saul hears of the threats of the Ammonites and sees the tears of the people of Jabesh, he becomes very angry.  The Spirit of God had come upon Saul mightily.

As contemporary believers in 2022, we do not like to believe that the coming of the Spirit on a  believer might make him angry.  Our love, and “turn the other cheek” mentality makes us believe that such a thing could not happen.

But when we think that I believe we sell God short, and hem Him in a little box, the box of “Approved Reactions of the Holy Spirit Working in a Believer.”

However, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit might stir up in us any type of emotion fitting with the situation.  The word says that the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20).  But is there not a righteous anger of God working in man at times, as in Saul?  Should not our emotions spur us to Christian action?  Like Wilberforce against England’s slavery? Might we be grieved by the Spirit?  Made sad?  Feel compassion?  Feel love?  Beware, lest we become the Star Trek Spocks of the Christian world!

Might we be deeply convicted in the Spirit, and move in all manner of emotions?  God has not made us some kind of automatons as believers.  We remain humans, moved by the Spirit!
We might be appalled!  Disgusted!  We might be overjoyed!  Full of praise!  Shouting to the glory of God!  Jesus was angry at a fig tree! (Matthew 21:19).  He was incensed and drove the money changers out of the temple! (Matthew 21:12).  David danced in all excitement, bringing in the ark of God to Jerusalem! (2 Samuel 6:14)

There are certainly inappropriate actions Christians take, believing they have been led by the Holy Spirit to do so.  We have all heard the stories!  But I think it might be more common that we are being moved by the Spirit, but do not act as He is leading.

Saul cut up a yoke of oxen in pieces, and sent them throughout Israel, demanding and threatening the men to come out and join him in going to war!

He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out as one man.  (Verse 7)

This also seems inappropriate, and really base and disgusting.  Can you imagine the arriving package?  But we can see that it not only worked, but also that the Lord was working in it – “the dread of the Lord fell on the people.”   Yes, this is Old Testament.  But it is also the same Holy Spirit.

How does the church rise up and do all that is on God’s heart in our time?  It starts with good leadership, men moved by the Spirit, like in Saul’s example here.  Then it follows by the people moved by the Spirit in response, as the people did with Saul.

I think our job is to be attentive to the Spirit, each one of us.  And in that attention, do as the Lord is directing in our hearts.  Who knows what might take place as we do?  Most of the moves of God we read about in church history took place through men and women who did not act conventionally in the Lord.  What does He want to do today?  Don’t let it be convention that moves you, but the Spirit.

Have an exciting time!
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation