Q. 1 Samuel 19:9 says, “And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand.” I don’t understand what it means when it says “the evil spirit from the LORD”. I believe the Bible, but can the evil spirit come from the LORD?
A. Before the cross, the Holy Spirit was not sealed within believers like He is with us (Ephesians 1:13-14). He could come upon believers and be with them, but He could also be withdrawn. For example in Psalm 51:11 David pleaded with the Lord not to take His Holy Spirit away.
In 1 Samuel 15:26 we’re told that the Lord rejected Saul as King of Israel due to his disobedience. And in 1 Samuel 16:14 we read that because of this the Spirit of the Lord departed from him and an evil spirit “from the Lord” tormented him. While the Spirit of the Lord was with Saul, he was protected from things like this, but when the Sprit of the Lord departed, an evil spirit was able to gain access to Saul. In a sense by removing His Spirit from Saul, the Lord had permitted the evil spirit access to him, even though it was Saul’s own behavior that caused it.