And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.—1 Samuel 18:12
That had to be a difficult moment of realization. I cannot help but think it would have been a terrifying experience to have the Lord “depart” from you especially when at one time, the Lord was with you mightily.
Now, we understand the difference in God’s dealings with people in the Old Testament era. The Holy Spirit did not indwell and fill His people constantly as He does today. He came upon people to accomplish great things for the Lord and sometimes left when those tasks were done. But consider this, there was a time when Saul was powerfully filled by God. In 1 Samuel 10 we read “and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee… and [Saul] shalt be turned into another man… do as occasion serve thee, for God is with thee… God gave him another heart… and the Spirit of God came upon him….”
Now ponder the verse we began with. It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to figure out what went wrong. Saul became lifted up in himself, he took on things that did not belong to him (offering sacrifices), he disobeyed the clear instructions of the Lord in the matter of the Amalekites, the list goes on and on. Saul’s life continued to spiral downward until his tragic end.
Even though we know the how and why, it is still so very sad—Saul, afraid of David because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul. It had to have been a grim day for him.
So what lesson is there to be learned? Well, I am glad that the Lord won’t completely depart from us, but He may still go silent and leave us looking in the dark for answers, direction, and hope. Why? because of our own self-will, disobedience, spiritual apathy, and sin.
Do you long for the power of God in your life? Then keep “short accounts” with the Lord. Strive to live for Him and when you fall short, confess quickly and get back on track with Him. God wants to fill us with His power and joy. Let’s not block His blessing or “limit” His working because of going our own way. Take heed to the warning of the sad life of king Saul.