1 Samuel 16:14-23 – Used By God

Read 1 Samuel 16:14-23

harp against black background

We know from our earlier reading that Saul had fallen out of God’s good graces for his “innocent” rebellion. I put it that way because his disobedience was “innocent” if you listen to Saul’s account. God didn’t care about the reason or excuse Saul came up with, he was still apart from God because he had disobeyed.

What did surprise me a little was the troubling spirit God sent to torment Saul. I thought immediately of those odd days that happen for me, when I’m feeling out of sorts. Could that be God teaching me a lesson? I don’t think so. Saul’s affliction seems permanent, more than just a temporary attitude adjustment.

Yet Saul was rescued from his fear and depression. His servants, those closest to him, suggested that music would soothe him in these times of distress. Saul seemed open to try anything. Arrangements were made for David, the same David who was just anointed king, to be Saul’s personal musician.

(These series of stories involving Saul and David are given to us to illustrate the relationship being built between these two men. Don’t let the exact chronology of events keep you from enjoying the beautiful messages each of these stories reveals.)

Other than being a talented musician, David’s description given to Saul, was “a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.” That is certainly a description designed to please a warrior king like Saul. We didn’t hear reference to David being the boy who tends his father’s sheep.

It worked! Saul’s tormented spirit was calmed by David’s harp playing. God was allowing this situation to bring comfort to Saul. What do you think about God using a future king to soothe the current one? God still loved Saul, he was just very upset with his behavior. David was also able to get an up close and personal look at kingly activities.

Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.” The relationship was deepening on Saul’s part. Saul had no idea that David had been (or would soon be) anointed as his replacement. All in God’s timing will this be revealed. For now, God was building a relationship.

God’s in the relationship business. I think about the people who have come into my life during times of struggle. Looking back, I almost think of them as angels sent by God to help me navigate. Can you think of a time in your life when someone unfamiliar or unexpected helped you in a significant way? Take some time to be still and marvel at God’s provisions in your life.

Perhaps you were the “angel” God used in someone else’s time of crisis. That is certainly a possibility, too. I believe God can use each one of us for his purposes. Have you ever prayed to be used as Jesus’ hands and feet? I know I have. Regularly, in fact.

I can’t think of anything more precious than to be God’s instrument in helping another. David had that honor in this passage. Just when we think we may not be equipped or ready to do something so magnificent, God empowers us. We may just find ourselves in the midst of something we could never have orchestrated on our own. What examples are coming to mind for you?

It’s never too late to be used by God. If it’s been a while since you had a mission, ask for another. Here’s a word of caution – don’t ask if you’re not ready to move! God has a way of enlisting us for service even if we don’t feel ready. Welcome the challenge! Know God will give you what you need.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for how you have used me to be a light to others. I feel such a privilege to be your hands and feet in this world full of darkness and confusion. Equip me for the tasks you have and open the opportunities to serve you. Thank you for never leaving me alone but trusting me as your servant. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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