Daily Devotionals

June 15th, 2023

Read: 1 Samuel 16:14-23 NRSV

Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skilful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better.’ So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me.’ One of the young men answered, ‘I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skilful in playing, a man of valour, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him.’ So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me your son David who is with the sheep.’ Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armour-bearer. Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David remain in my service, for he has found favour in my sight.’ And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

“The spirit of the LORD departed from Saul…and the LORD is with [David]” From this moment through the rest of the story, all we need to do to understand Hell is to witness the difference in behavior between Saul and David. Saul represents the people of Israel who have rejected God and who seek to replace him with a man. David represents a man chosen by God to lead the people and back to God and reestablish the kingdom. Saul’s fate is to have the presence of God stripped away from him, rendering him a madman who makes increasingly manic and paranoid decisions. David becomes a hero of the people and the king. 

When we remove God from our hearts and anoint ourselves as mini-gods we become a tiny fraction of who we were meant to be. The splendor of Heaven is God working through us and showing Himself in the billions of unique creations that bear his likeness. His glory shines through us. Hell is the chaff that is left over when God is removed. Hell is a spot of mold. There’s barely anything remaining when God is removed from us. One must shrink and melt to even fit into it.

Saul spends the remainder of the story making terrible decisions and can only be calmed by someone else who carries the Spirit of God. “A man of valour, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence.” David is a man chosen by God and filled with His qualities. Our goodness comes from Him. David is like a stained glass window that sunlight pours through while Saul is like a tiny penlight trying to light up a pitch-black cave. It’s useless trying to compare Hell to Heaven because Hell barely is anything.

Hell is emptiness.