But the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and instead, the Lord had sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. Some of Saul’s aides suggested a cure. “We’ll find a good harpist to play for you whenever the tormenting spirit is bothering you,” they said. “The harp music will quiet you and you’ll soon be well again.”
“All right,” Saul said. “Find me a harpist.” One of them said he knew a young fellow in Bethlehem, the son of a man named Jesse, who was not only a talented harp player, but was handsome, brave, and strong, and had good, solid judgment. “What’s more,” he added, “the Lord is with him.” Then Saul wrote to Jesse, “Please let David join my staff, for I am very fond of him.” And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would feel better, and the evil spirit would go away.
1 Samuel 16:14-23 (TLB)
Do I have any praisers in the house who don’t mind testifying and agreeing with the ancients that music warded off evil spirits?
You need God’s Spirit just to survive,
You need God’s Spirit to give you strength and comfort,
You need God’s Spirit because without it where would you be?
Because you need it just to make it through.
I have a problem with 1 Samuel 16:14, because it says, “But the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and instead, the Lord had sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.”
The text lets us know that a distressing spirit came to Saul, and troubled him. My problem is, if God is all-good, why did he send a distressing spirit upon Saul? If God is all-good, why does he send distress, disappointment, and even depression into our lives? I mean we declare that, “God is good – all the time – and all the time – God is good”!
But if God is so good, why did he allow a distressing spirit to come upon Saul? If God is so good, why does he allow us to go through all the hell we go through? If God is so good, why have many of us been on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Left wanting to give up and throw in the towel? If God is so good, why are our lives so jacked up?
But let me get you straight real quick: God never initiates or performs evil; that’s what makes God so good. God may withdraw his hand of his protection, and allow evil to come, without God being the source of the evil itself.
God is good all the time.
All I said was: it’s when God lets up that the devil starts messing up. Because the text says that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul. This meant Saul lost his spiritual “protection” and covering. And my brothers and sisters there is too much going on not to be protected and covered by God. Just last week on Dewitt, between Spring and Putnam Streets, two black men were shot and left for dead. I don’t know about you, but we need God’s protection and God’s covering.
We are sick and tired of the toxic music being thrust onto our children by radio stations, making them think that they are meant to be nothing but hoochies, ballers, rappers, thugs, killers and players.
I don’t know about you, but we need God’s protection and God’s covering.
We use to sing back in the day one of Fred Hammond jam:
Jesus be a fence all around me everyday
Jesus I want you to protect me as I travel along the way
I know you can (yes Lord)
I know you will (yes Lord)
Fight my battle (yes Lord)
If I just keep still (yes lord)
Lord be a fence all around me everyday
Somebody holler, “protection!”
So, Satan dispatched a distressing spirit from the command center of hell to fill the void in Saul. But while Saul was being tormented, David was being faithful in his hustle. David was a shepherd leading his father’s flock of sheep through the pastures to water, but while he was hustling he still was giving God praise by playing his harp. And David, while minding his own business praising the Lord with a harp, under a tree and hustling watching over the flock, was summoned by Saul.
Saul had been afflicted by a distressing spirit and the text says from God. God didn’t send the spirit, but God allow the spirit to afflict Saul. And can I park on this curve some of the hell in your life that’s tormenting you might have come from the pit of hell, but God allowed it. And as a result of the spirit afflicting Saul, David was minding his own business, hustling watching sheep, and praising God by playing his harp, and was hired as a musician so that the distressing spirit might depart from Saul.
And can I help somebody right along here:
It’s a good thing when you mind your business.
It’s a good thing when you hussle while you wait.
It’s a good thing when your harp helps your haters.
You don’t have to cuss nobody out—just play your harp.
You don’t have to jack nobody up—just play your harp.
You don’t have to run down lies and rumors—just play your harp.
It’s a good thing when your harp helps your haters.
I come by this morning in search of some contemporary Davids who have learned how to
play your harp,
mind your own business,
hustle while you are waiting,
and harp until your haters are helped!
And I know that some of you are super-saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost, so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. And you don’t know what it means to hustle, mind your own business and harp until your haters are helped.
Because everybody ain’t from the hood, I’m from the country. Webster defines hustle as, “to move or work rapidly to get the job done.” Do I have any hustlers in the house who don’t mind testifying that while I was minding my own business, working the fields, playing my harp that the Lord hired me without an application?
Some of Saul’s aides suggested a cure.“We’ll find a good harpist to play for you whenever the tormenting spirit is bothering you,” they said. “The harp music will quiet you and you’ll soon be well again.”
“All right,” Saul said. “Find me a harpist.”
My brothers and sisters,
- We can’t afford to lose God’s Spirit.
Whenever the Lord lifts his Spirit you might as well prepare for mental, emotional, and psychological repercussions. We are trying to operate with the wrong spirit. You say you saved, but you are mean as hell, your attitude is bad, you’re moody and negative about everything. You say you’re a Christian, but we can see no Christ in you because some of us are trying to operate with the wrong spirit.
David has just been anointed Israel’s king because Saul had shown himself unworthy of the crown. Samuel proclaims David as God’s chosen and anoints him, but in the real world at that time Saul is still functioned as king. Let me point out here that despite David’s rights to the throne, despite the fact that Saul had lost the anointing of God to be king, David showed nothing but respect for Saul.
You have to learn how to respect leadership whether you like them or not, agree with them or not, because all leadership is from God even if it’s not Godly. Have you ever worked a job and the position came up and they brought somebody in instead of bringing somebody up? And you knew more than the one they hired, but in order to keep your job and keep peace in the office you had to dumb down so they could dumb up. David showed nothing but respect for Saul.
I don’t know about you this morning but I feel prophetic: I speak elevation over your life: you have been in the second seat long enough. Somebody ought to shout, “I receive it!”
One of them said well we know a young man in Bethlehem, who’s minding his business, hustling by watching his father’s sheep, and not only is he a talented harp player, but he’s handsome, brave, and strong, and has good sense and solid judgment. And “the Lord is with him.”
Not only can we not afford to lose his Spirit but,
- We can’t afford to do it by ourselves.
The harp was the national instrument of the Hebrews, Moses had it made. Josephus records that the harp had ten strings, sometimes it was smaller having only eight, and was usually played with the fingers.
Isn’t it interesting that it took David’s fingers to relieve Saul’s fears? Isn’t it sad how your haters don’t know how helpful you are?
I tell you it doesn’t matter if you’re handsome, cute, brave, strong, and educated, it’s alright to have a good appearance, but make sure you’re working with something. It’s alright to be educated and degreed, but you have to have the learning and the burning.
If you don’t have the Lord with you, you are just a fine good looking failure: biceps without benefits, triceps without a testimony, you might be tall, dark, and handsome but without the Lord you are just a fine failure.
Is there anybody here with the testimony that,
The presence of the Lord is here;
I feel it in the atmosphere,
the power of the Lord is here,
I feel it in the atmosphere,
Everybody blow the trumpet,
And sound the alarm,
Because the Lord is in the temple,
Let everybody bow,
Let all the people praise Him now,
The Lord is here!
We can’t afford to do it by ourselves; we need the Spirit of the Lord.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in hell you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me,
And your right hand shall hold me.
You ought to tell your neighbor, “The Lord is with me,” and “we can’t afford to do it by ourselves!”
Because elevation takes preparation, because God’s not blessing any overnight wonders. It costs to be anointed, you have to go through some things for this anointing to overcome some opposition, and even deal with betrayal from people who God has assigned you to help. Do you not know that God’s anointing is upon your life and the only reason you are still here is because he kept you? In order to be eligible for elevation you have to learn how to have wisdom to make the best of what you already have.
- We can’t afford to waste time.
My brothers and sisters it’s a dangerous thing to be fired by God and his Spirit be removed, repossessed, and retired from your life.
It’s a dangerous thing to be labeled as anointed and have no anointing on your life.
It’s a dangerous thing to be in a position of power and have no power.
It’s a dangerous thing to be a part of ministry and have no ministry.
It’s a dangerous thing to
sing in the choir,
preach in the pulpit,
and sit in the pews
and not realize that the Spirit of the Lord makes you do more than shout, dance, and speak in tongues.
But when the spirit of the Lord is really upon you it should be evident after the praise break, after the music stops, after the praise team sits down, and after the preacher celebrates that we ought to have enough power and enough Holy Ghost on the inside of us to declare like Jesus in Luke 4:18 that,
The Spirit of the Lord is on us,
Because he has anointed us
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Is there anybody here who knows that the hand of God is upon your life?
And if it had not been the Lord who was on your side you wouldn’t be up in Varick this morning giving him glory and declaring that I don’t mind having a holy hustle until God opens up the position! Because you should never become comfortable in your temporary place. In other words, while you are working that side hustle, while you are working that job that you have to clock in to that’s nerve wracking and stressful never forget that what’s coming is better then what is.
You can play your harp when you know that God has promised you greater, bigger, brighter, and better.
When the Spirit of the Lord is upon your life you can play your harp because you have been anointed to handle hell, haters, and hypocrites.
When the anointing is on your life you can play your harp because
you are able to handle opposition,
overcome stumbling block,
speak life to dead situations,
and proclaim good news even in the midst of problematic situations.
When the anointing is on your life you can play your harp because you have a spirit of freedom to
break every chain,
and imprison that which is trying to hold you hostage to your past pains, predicaments, and problems.
Can I prophesy to somebody up in this place this morning? Keep on playing your harp! You are too anointed to allow the devil to dictate your destiny. You are too anointed to allow issues to limit you, you are too anointed to allow imps to integrate you, you are too anointed to allow hellhounds to hinder you.
And I stop by to make an announcement to somebody who has been battling with depression, struggling with stress, crying over what you lost instead of appreciating what you have? Welcome to the year of the Lord’s favor!
If you are a harp player-play your harp!
If you are a soloist-sing your song!
If you are a preacher- preach your sermon!
If you are a musician- hit your note!
If you are a servant-get involved in ministry!
If you are a baller-pay your tithes!
Because you have to perfect what God has already give you before you qualify for more. All I said was, you have to be faithful over a few things, then the Lord will make your ruler over many. You have to be like David and hustle until your haters ask if you’re hiring. Welcome to the year of the Lord’s favor!
If the truth be told your life have been so jacked up that the Lord should have fired you like Saul, but it seems like every time you turn around favor was looking you right in the face.
You know you weren’t qualified for that job, but you’re working it.
You know your credit report was low, but you’re still styling and profiling.
You know your GPA wasn’t high but you’re still in college.
You know you should have cracked up and went crazy by now, but you’re still here in your right mind.
You know you should have had a nervous breakdown trying to raise children as a single parent, but you still have food on your table.
But when the Spirit of the Lord is upon your life and his anointing is activated, favor will skip over the qualified and find somebody that’s sanctified. Somebody that made up in their minds come hell or high waters,
I’m going to give God praise
not because he keeps on blessing me,
but the reason I dance, shout, and give him glory
is because he didn’t fire me
and he didn’t remove his Spirit from me.
And Varick, whenever you make ministry about you, whenever you feel that the church should cater to your needs, whenever you feel that you direct the vision, mission, and mandate of the church, you have placed yourself on God’s spiritual repossession list. Some of us are so egoistic and caught up in ourselves that the Lord has placed spiritual boots on our lives and we are fired like King Saul and don’t even know it.
We are singing for performance rather than praise?
You are fired!
And no deliverance is taking place.
We are serving for money rather than ministry?
You are fired!
And people still walk out the door the same way they came.
We want so much from God, but give so little to God; it’s dangerous to get fired by God and not even know it. Because of Saul’s rebellion, God allowed him to stay in position but removed his power. And that’s why I don’t understand why everybody wants a title. Because a title without power and God’s Spirit is nothing more than a false advertisement. Because with every level comes a new devil and you better make sure that your title is in sync with God’s spirit or like Saul you will find yourself being tormented.
The text says that God removed his Spirit from the king and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Please understand that depression is real, some of us are well put together on the outside but are struggling on the inside to hold it together. Some of us are fighting to hold back tears because you feel like things are not going to get better, but I stop by with a Word!
When the Spirit of the Lord is upon your life you have the power to torment what’s trying to torment you.
And my brothers and sisters when God has singled you out for greatness,
Like David some people will try to ignore you, but they can’t deny that the hand of God is upon your life.
Like David some people will criticize you, but they can’t cripple you.
Like David some people will underestimate you, but God will appreciate you.
Like David some people who you helped will hate on you like King Saul.
But I don’t know about you, I don’t mind hustling while I’m waiting!
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I stopped by to preach to somebody and let them know: don’t stop the music!
Praise Him in Advance
I’ve had my share of ups and downs, times when there was no one around,
God came and spoke these words to me,
Praise will confuse the enemy.
I started singing,
I started clapping,
I started dancing,
People were laughing,
They knew my problems,
They knew my pain,
But I knew God would take them away.
That’s why I praise him with my hands,
That’s why I praise him with a dance,
He’s given me a second chance,
Come on lets praise him in advance.
That’s why I praise him with a song,
When things are right and when they’re wrong,
He’s given me a second chance,
Come on lets praise Him in advance.