It is interesting how anger can affect us. I have read that if we play loud angry rock music while driving, we tend to become more prone to an outburst of road-rage in ourselves – never mind in others. I have also seen it demonstrated that in getting a group of people all to pretend to be angry and shout etc, it is so contagious and effective that sometimes it is hard to get the meeting back on track again to be able explain the effects of the anger exercise in the first place.
I was interested, therefore, to read about anger in the Bible and its affects on us, or to be more correct, on King Saul, Israel’s first king. But then again, if it can happen to him, it can happen to us, for was he not a man just like one of us?
At the beginning of his reign, Saul was a great King and a great man. He well knew the feeling of prophesying under the unction, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We read of this in First Samuel 10:10 which says “And they came there to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him. And the Spirit of God came on him, and he prophesied among them.” (To be honest, I did not recall King Saul was a Prophet either, until I read this.) Certainly King Saul knew what it was like to enter into battle and perform heroic conquests under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (First Samuel 11:6-11) and he fought and won many great battles for the Lord.
Eventually, however, as we know, King Saul became jealous of the young David and this anger burnt deeply inside him, such that it drove him to jealousy and rage, as we read in First Samuel 18:6-9:
“And it happened as they came in, as David returned from striking the Philistine, the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.
And the women answered as they played, and said, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
And Saul was very angry, and this thing was evil in his eyes. And he said, They have given David ten thousands, and to me they have given only thousands. And what more can he have but the kingdom?
And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.”
It did not take long for this change in Saul’s attitude to have a spiritual effect and a physical effect, as we read in First Samuel 18:10-11:
“And it happened on the next day the evil spirit from God came on Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house. And David played with his hand, as at other times. And a spear was in Saul’s hand. And Saul threw the spear. For he said, I will strike David even to the wall. And David drew back out of his presence twice.”
It says here that the next day an “evil spirit from God came on Saul.” This could be translated as a spirit cam forcefully up on Saul, for the word used here for “came on” invokes the idea of breaking our mightily and with force. Indeed, the same word is used in the other two passages of scripture above, in v10:10 as well as v11:6. Similarly, the same word for prophesying is used in v10:10 as well as in v18:10, so Saul was indeed prophesying just before he threw the spear.
Although King Saul was at one moment full of the Spirit of God and prophesying in the spirit, the next, a spirit of anger came upon him. What happened next, was that King Saul took the urging of the spirit of anger as being the word of God, and threw a spear ad David.
Because of his change into a state where jealousy and anger had become the norm, King Saul, even when prophesying under the power of the Holy spirit, was no longer able to tell whether the words he was hearing were from God, or from the enemy. Jealousy and anger had more than clouded King Saul’s mind and vision, they had obscured God from Saul and deceived him into thinking the Spirit of Anger, was the Holy Spirit.
What does this mean for us? It means that when we are jealous and angry, we also cannot trust our feelings or thoughts, especially negative ones. It is beholden on all Christians to be on guard of ourselves and in times of jealousy and anger, to revert to the company of the Lord Jesus in prayer and silence. In that process, let us remember what James 3:8 says about our tongue:
“But no one can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
If the Spirit of Anger was able to get the better of King Paul even when he was in the Spirit, we need to accept that the same can happen to us if we are not prepared for it. Yes, in times of jealousy and anger we need to bridle our tongue as well as our actions, as we get Jesus back in the centre of our lives again.
Many Christians tend to take the view that “God is Love” and therefore would not do a thing like putting an evil spirit into someone, or even letting it happen, especially when someone was at the time prophesying in the Holy Spirit. However the bible says differently: God allowed it and did it. The scriptures say so. God is above all other powers, no matter whether they be supernatural, natural, political, government or whatever. God is quite able and willing to use any and all means to achieve his end as He deems apt. The Bible examples show time and time again. Indeed, it happened numerous times to Saul, as well as to King David himself later, as well as to many others in the Bible.
My personal testimony also supports the argument that God still uses whatever He determines as “suitable means” to obtain His objectives; in my case sending me separately, over the space of one weekend, three non-Christian religious ‘holy-men’ and women to tell me that Jesus wanted me to go back to Church. I got the message.