The Presence of God, and gifts of the spirit, will not change a human heart….
As I read this passage, I am reminded of so many I have met over the years:
1 Sam 19:19 And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
20 And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
Surely, we see a divine encounter with the kingdom of God here. Let’s think about what is going on here.
Saul disobeyed God, and the kingdom was stripped from him. The anointing of God was taken from him, and given to David, and an evil spirit came upon Saul. Saul, hates David, because he sees in him, that which he lacks in himself: courage, bravery, excellence of spirit, purity of heart, and a heart that is in love with God Himself.
Despite the fact that Saul has been throwing spears at him, and hunting him to kill him, David, on the run, refuses to take Saul’s life, and he continually cries out to God on behalf of Saul. Yet, Saul, determined to keep the kingdom, continually sends soldiers to attempt to kill David, and David, by hearing intimately the voice of God, is able to avoid them, every time.
Why did God allow David all those years in the wilderness running from Saul? I think it is because:
David had to hear God accurately, in life or death situations, if he was ever going to be fit to be king.
In this account, David has run for refuge from Saul to Samuel’s house, and they are having a revival meeting where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are very much in operation, so much so that when Saul’s soldiers come chasing David there, they are arrested by the Spirit of God, and find themselves prophesying under the anointing of God.
Saul does not want to hear this, so sends two more sets of messengers to Ramah, and each time, they too succumb to the power of God, and find themselves prophesying by the Spirit of God, and unable to apprehend David.
So, Saul Himself goes down to Samuel’s revival meeting, and what happens: v 24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night.
Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
So, you would think, after the Holy Spirit so humbled Saul, that he would repent, and begin again to serve the Lord, and leave David alone.
Yet, what did he do?
He went home, and again began to plot again how to murder king David!
Even after the presence of God had caused him to prophesy naked for a day and a night at the feet of Samuel!
In Luke 16, we read the account of the rich man and Lazarus. Notice here that this is not an allegory or parable, but a true story Jesus is recounting. The rich man went to hell, and the poor beggar went to Abraham’s bosum or paradise (Jesus had not yet risen from the dead, so heaven was not open yet).
We see this rich man in hell, seeing father Abraham, and crying out that someone be sent to his family, that they not end up in the same place.
Yes, people in hell are praying that we share the gospel with their families!
Let’s pick it up here:
Luke 16: 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Notice what Abraham, in the afterlife said: that it is more important for people to hear the word of God, and repent, than to see miracles. In fact the implication here is strong: That if someone will not hear the word of God, even if they saw someone raised from the dead telling them of what was to come, they would not change!
So what is the moral of the story?
Simple: The gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of God, will not change a human heart, unless that heart is willing to be changed.
I have heard it said:
that the only thing greater than the power of God in the earth, is the free will of man.
Saul might have been able to repent here, and be of some use to king David in his future reign, had he humbled himself, but he absolutely refused!
It eventually cost him his life, and the life of his son, and many others.
The only safe prayer I see in all of this, is the repeated theme of my life and ministry:
‘Father, please grant me purity of heart and purpose. Please open my eyes, and deliver me from my own delusions of grandeur, my will, and my way. Jesus, you are the way, please become my way, with no other agenda, no compromise. May I serve and fully obey You, in spirit and in truth, whatever the cost, for your name and honors sake, Amen’