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A Heart for God

When the Spirit Departs

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

I. The departure of the Holy Spirit means the loss of God’s presence.

A. “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Sam. 16:14). Psalm 51:11-12: “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” David is not asking for God to restore his salvation after he sins because his salvation rests on God’s grace alone. Instead, David is asking for God to restore his experience of that salvation.

B. B. Look at what you lose if you have no experience of the Holy Spirit in your life. One of the men in King Saul’s court finishes a description of David with this sentence at the end of vs. 18: “And the LORD is with him.” David had a reputation of being someone with whom the LORD Himself was present. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is obvious to all that God lives in you and is present with you. That is why it is vital that we be filled with the Spirit.

II. The departure of the Holy Spirit means the loss of authority and ability.

A. One of the things the Holy Spirit does for Christians is He gives us gifts and abilities. See 1 Corinthians 12. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people to equip them for specific tasks. For kings, the Holy Spirit provided them with the authority and the ability to rule. The departure of the Spirit from Saul meant a corresponding loss of authority and ability to rule. He had lost the helper he needed in the person of the Holy Spirit.

B. The reason King Saul had the Spirit depart from him was his pride. Saul thought he could be the king all by himself. Actually, he couldn’t be king by himself. He needed the authority and ability that came from the Holy Spirit to lead well and to live well. And so do you. Don’t be proud like Saul was proud. Don’t try to live without the Holy Spirit.

III. The departure of the Holy Spirit means the loss of identity.

A. We read about King Saul’s loss of identity in 1 Samuel 16:1. Saul has lost his identity as Israel’s king. You also lose your identity when you neglect the Holy Spirit in your life. Romans 8:15-16: “But you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” You are a child of God. You also share in Christ’s anointing by the Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27): “You have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge… The anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you.”

Don’t neglect the ministry of the Holy Spirit in you. Ask for His filling today.

The book of 1 Samuel
Commentaries on 1 Samuel by Robert Bergen, Dale Davis and Tim Chester

Sermon Discussion Questions

1) When you are filled with the Spirit, it is clear that God is with you. Do you have a sense of the presence of God in your life? If not, what can you do?

2) What did an anointing by the Spirit mean for a king in Saul and David’s day? How does our anointing by the Spirit give us authority and ability today? 

3) What is the significance of the fact that Jesus Himself was anointed by the Holy Spirit like David was? How are we united with Jesus in His anointing? How does that change your view of what you say and do today?