How Are You Advising Others?

Most of us do not serve as official counselors nor do we typically sit down with someone on a regular basis to counsel them. Neither did the servants in the example below.  However, in a general sense we all counsel others daily whether it is a spouse, our children or just our friends in conversation. Do you consider well your counsel before giving it?

An interesting story in the book of 1 Samuel is the story of Saul being tormented by the evil spirit.

1 Samuel 16:14-23

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.
15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.
16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.”
17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”
19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.”
20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul.
21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.
22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.”
23 And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
ESV

When Saul was being tormented what did his servants counsel him to do?

1 Samuel 16:15-16
15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.
16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.

Listen to soothing music. (While the soothing music issue is a very interesting issue, it is for a later discussion.) But what did they not advise Saul to do?

  • Pray
  • Seek God
  • Read the Scriptures

Was Saul ultimately helped by listening to David’s music?

No.

He was only helped temporarily. There was no lasting effect. Listening to soothing and even God centered music did not calm the torment in Saul’s soul. We can see that as we read further into the book of 1 Samuel. Saul was tormented such that he tried to kill David on several occasions and Saul suffered under paranoia and delusional attacks thinking David was trying to kill him.

The music only was a temporary balm, or band-aid, to his troubled soul. The true relief that Saul could have found in turning to God and his Word was not offered to him by his counselors.

It is a lot easier if we just stick band-aids on another’s soul than when we actually deal with the real issue, separation from God. How can we not direct another to the true source of healing from the torments they face?

I’m sure the servants that counseled Saul were concerned for themselves and they sought immediate relieve for Saul if only to make their own life easier. It would have been much harder to point out to Saul that his disobedience had turned God away from him.

1 Samuel 28:16-18

16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy?
17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.
18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.
ESV

Is it easier for us to seek the immediate relief when counseling another than to deal with the real issues and direct another back to the Lord?

You bet it is.

But temporary fixes do not work.

Despite the fact that Saul was soothed by David’s music, he was also more and more tormented as time went on. Throwing spears in the castle are not signs of a soothed soul. I’m sure that the servants suffered even more during Saul’s mental breakdown.

Oh that we would always encourage another to seek the Lord.

Isaiah 55:6-7
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
ESV



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