YES, WE CAN RUN HIM OUT OF OUR LIVES, BUT IT’S NEVER A GOOD THING
Initial Publication, March 8, 2014; Updated July 31st, 2020
1st Samuel 16.14 — “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.”
At Mammoth Cave National Park, in Cave City, Kentucky, on the basic, Mammoth Passage Tour, there is a point in which the Cave Guides and Park Rangers turn off all of the lights in Mammoth Cave. The darkness is so deep that a person cannot even see his or her and front of his or her face. The Cave Guides and Park Rangers do this to give the tourists a small taste of what cave exploration was like when Mammoth cave was first discovered and explored many years ago. There is also something very similar to this “lights out” experience and being totally and completely lost. Have you, reader, ever felt that kind of darkness, that kind of lack of the presence of spiritual light in your life? Has there (or is there now) been a time in your life where you were totally and completely cut-off from the people that you loved the most? How is all the lights being off in a cave the same or similar to the lack of the presence of the LORD God in one’s life?
Where the Spirit of the LORD is……… Just what is the Spirit of the LORD? And what does the Spirit of the LORD have to do with being alone or in spiritual darkness? According to the Bible, the Spirit of the LORD is another title for the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost, in turn, according to Acts 5.1–11, is God, and one part of the Trinity, as described in 1st John 5.7. 2nd Corinthians 3.17 says that “…the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Jesus, according to John’s Gospel, calls the Holy Ghost the Comforter who will teach and lead his followers into all truth. Basically, the Spirit of the Lord is the Holy Ghost, and wherever the Holy Ghost resides or lives, there will be freedom, understanding, and peace. The good news is that EVERYONE who receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is given the promise of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost lives inside everyone who believes, from the youngest child to the oldest saint. As Paul States in his letter, the Holy Ghost brings “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” and he “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.7)
Like a Cat Without Whiskers — It is said that when a person cuts off the whiskers of a cat, that the cat will act in a similar way as a blind man. The whiskers of a cat are one of the ways that a cat uses its senses, and to cut them off is like placing a blindfold over a person. It is hard for a cat to move if it does not have its whiskers! In the same way, a person who has had the experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit is usually equally lost and bewildered when the Presence of the LORD departs. Case in point is a student friend of this writer who was in Mexico, named Joseph. Joseph went to Mexico to finish his studied in Spanish, and also to study to become a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Joseph relates that, while in Mexico, he was invited to go to a church that turned out not to be a Christian Church. While at this church, when the speaker was speaking, Joseph said that he could not understand one single word of Spanish that the preacher at this church was preaching. In fact, Joseph also told how even when talking with the pastor after church, the words to him were gibberish: he could understand not one word of what he was hearing, and Joseph is fluent in Spanish now, and was then, too! Yet, ten minutes after he left the church with his Mexican friends, Joseph’s complete understanding of Spanish came back. Joseph said, “It was like coming in out of the cold, and having a warm blanket wrapped around me! The sense of the vacuum that the Holy Ghost had left was eerie and disturbing!” For Joseph, the experience was the same as a cat not having its whiskers! His senses and his ability in using the Spanish Language left him when he went to the cult-church, but when he left that place, the Spirit of the LORD returned, and with it, came Joseph’s Spanish-speaking abilities! Yet, what Joseph had done was out of innocence, as he had been invited to this church by his friends, and told it was a Christian Church. Imagine the utter horror of willingly causing the Spirit of the LORD to depart! In such a case, what do you suppose can and will happen when someone willingly rejects the Spirit of the LORD?
Humiliated and Chased Away — In the Scripture references for today, we see what can happen on the field of battle when the Spirit of the LORD has departed. In four of these instances, the Israelites and Samson ended up being beaten, captured, chased away, and utterly humiliated. In Samson’s case, it ended his freedom, and with the loss of his physical vision. The Bible states time and again that when people follow the LORD, and trust in his word and his promises, that their enemies will flee from them in every direction. However, just the opposite is true, as well: when people reject the LORD and cast off his presence through his Spirit, their enemies will chase them away in every direction, and their hearts will melt with fear. Such is the case in each and every one of the Scripture references for this particular lesson. Friend, without the presence of the Spirit of the LORD, you really can do nothing. You may turn to everything known to man under the sun. You may turn to drugs, to sex, to alcohol, to false religion and belief, to money, to fame and power, but the end result will be a person who is bound by fear and heading towards total defeat and humiliation. Think of all the great sports stars who’ve been brought down by drugs. Why is it that these great and talented folk decided to try drugs instead of competing on their own physical and athletic merits? Think about the famous rock stars or actors/actresses whose lives have been totally wiped out by chemical addiction. Why is it that these people turned to such avenues? Further, think about how many modern celebrities have been married multiple times. Again, why is it that these people, with so much wealth, so much fame, so much power, have such messed-up, ruined and peaceless lives? The reason is, there is no Presence of the Spirit of the LORD. Each and every one of these people will very likely deny totally the truth of that fact, but the symptoms are there for all the world to see, and if one has eyes to see and ears to hear, the remedy is all too easy to render.
Why Does the Spirit of the LORD Depart? There really is only one reason that the Spirit of the LORD, his presence, and his peace departs: Sin. The reason why the Children of Israel in Numbers — following their rejection of going into the Promised Land, then sudden change of heart — were defeated and chased away from Canaan and left to wander for forty years is precisely because the Spirit of the LORD was not present with them. The reason why Joshua and the Israelites suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the tiny City-State of Ai is because of one man’s sin. The only reason Samson was subdued is because he transgressed the Lord God’s command and sinned when he told Delilah the secret of his strength. The reason why King Saul was troubled by an evil spirit and heard nothing from God is because he had sin in his life that he never repented of. Friends, it is the same for us today. If we sin and carry it around, the Spirit of the LORD will depart. Why? The reason is because God will not share space with sin. Either the sin has to go, or God, and his presence through his Spirit, must go. There can be no middle ground. Paul writes this:
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
—1st Corinthians 10.21
Friends, it is abundantly clear: God and sin cannot and will not cohabit. God will not share pace in a person’s life with sin, and this is especially true for a Christian.
The End Result — The end result of living a life without the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD is always death. In our passage from Numbers 14, the Israelites of the Generation that first came out of Egypt all died in the wilderness, forgotten, unrecorded, and remembered only as a footnote to the Bible as a reminder of how not to live. Only two men — Caleb and Joshua, who were faithful to God — were allowed to enter into the Promised Land. In Joshua 7, three dozen Israelite Soldiers were killed as a result of trying to fight without the presence of the LORD, and the man who sinned and caused such trouble to Israel was also executed, his family and possessions burnt with fire. Samson, though he was able to avenge himself of his enemies, was utterly humiliated and ended up dying in a way that was less than God’s best. Worst of these, is Saul. King Saul was full of the Spirit of the LORD when he first became king of Israel. However, because he refused to give up his sin, refused to confess and turn back to God in repentance and humiliation, King Saul and all of his sons were killed. The end result of rejecting the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD is always death, and it can be not only death for the individual, but also death for the nation. Look at Israel and Judah in the Bible. How many times did they reject the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD, only to be defeated, and enslaved? The end result was Assyria conquering the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC, and the fall of the Southern Kingdom in 536. Further, every other kingdom of the world, and every other ruler of the world, that can be found in history has passed into dust and ashes when the Presence of the Spirit of the Lord is rejected.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A Dire Warning — In these post-post-modern, second-decade-of-the-21st-Century days, a great danger is on the horizon. The United States of America — long the defender of freedom and the bastion for Christian Ideals and Religious freedom — is rapidly becoming a place that is rejecting the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD. Since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in 1962 that outlawed prayer in public school, the United States has slowly but surely rejected God and cast away the Presence of His Spirit in ever-increasing frequency. The freedoms that citizens once had to freely and openly express faith in Jesus Christ are day-by-day being eroded, so much so that homosexuality is now protected with greater severity than Christianity. The danger here is that the United States has long been protected, blessed, and strengthened by the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD in the past. Case in point is the US involvement in World War Two. The USA, in 1941, was still coming out of a deep economic depression that had crippled it in the decade before. It was the first time in the history of the world that a nation in severe economic depression was able not only to fight a war and win, but come out economically stronger than it was before. This can only because of the blessings of God on the United States of America. Unfortunately, in the years since, times have only changed for the worse in the USA. No longer is God respected, even by out-and-out sinners, but instead he is mocked day after day after day by a media bent on erasing any vestige of Jesus Christ in the airwaves and in US Culture at large. Unless the United States turns back to God, repents of its sins of recognition of homosexuality as a normal and healthy lifestyle, the killing of the innocents in the form of abortion on demand (legalized prenatal infanticide), the drunkenness from the open sale of alcohol, and the total disregard and mockery of God in the public forum the USA will crumble just as surely as greater and nobler civilizations have passed into the dust and ashes of history. For the USA, it iA Grisly Example but A Glorious Redemption — We have, written in the Scriptures, a grisly, graphic, and blatant example of a man who was living in total spiritual darkness without the Spirit of the LORD in his life…
“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, ‘What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.’ For he said unto him, ‘Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.’ And he asked him, ‘What is thy name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’ And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.’ And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.”
We can see with great ease the situation of this man who met Jesus and his disciples: he was naked, living in the tombs, and possessed with at least five thousand devils (a Roman Legion consisted of five thousand to six thousand legionnaires). What caused this man to get and find himself in such a state? Simply put, he did not have the Spirit of the LORD within him. You see, friends, when we don’t have the Spirit of the LORD within us, that leaves us open to in-habitation and possession of spirits of the Devil. What does this mean? It means that an evil spirit cannot inhabit where the Spirit of the LORD dwells. Can a spirit from the devil enter into a Christian’s life? The answer here is “Yes”, but only if said Christian allows that evil spirit in. Such an invitation by a Christian or possession of an unbeliever always leads to a depraved end, such as we see form the Gadarene man who was possessed by Legion. He was living with the dead; could not be bound nor chained; screamed and wailed while cutting himself with rocks; and walked about naked and unkempt (does any of this sound familiar to those who do drugs or live lives of debauchery in modern times?). This man is the prime example of one who lived in total spiritual darkness. But there’s good news! This man was changed…
“And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, ‘Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.’ And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”
Do you see the change? After this demon possessed man met Jesus and had the Spirit of the LORD enter into him, he was found clothed, sitting with Jesus and his disciples, and in his right mind. Though we don’t know what happened to this man, we do know that his testimony of Christ’s Love and Change in his life caused many to marvel and wonder. This is what the Spirit of the LORD does: He sets captives free, chases away the devils and demons, and puts people into their right mind. He never enters without permission, but when he does come in, everything changes!s now or never.
CONCLUSION: What The Spirit of the LORD Brings — We have seen throughout this treatise, and we can see throughout the Bible, that wherever the Spirit of the LORD resides, there is always peace, hope, safety, joy, love, fellowship, and goodness of any and every kind. There is light and vision where the Spirit of the LORD is, along with eternal life and the very Presence of GOD Almighty. See what the LORD Jesus states in this passage…
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
This is what the Spirit of the LORD brings: everything Good and GOD-ly. The result of the presence of the Spirit of the LORD in a person’s life is simply Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our LORD. To reject the Spirit of the LORD is simply to invite death. There are many on the outside of the faith in Jesus Christ who declare that living for GOD is simply using GOD as a crutch and that being a Christian means being a weakling. This question makes one wonder: if GOD is a crutch for Christians, what is the crutch for those who are not? The simple answer is immoral sex, drug use, alcohol abuse, power, money, fame — basically things that people place as idols over and above GOD. All of these things lead to spiritual darkness and, when placed above GOD, leave one bereft of the Spirit of the LORD. Simply put, the Spirit of the LORD always brings good things and righteousness to a person, not to mention salvation from sin and sins. Without him, we are nothing and can do nothing. With The Spirit of the LORD, all things are possible! Hear and read and listen to what Jesus states…
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
What Say You? Do you believe this, as Jesus asks? Only you can answer.
Prayer — Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day! We praise you, dearest LORD for your presence through your Holy Ghost! We pray and we ask, Father, that if there is anyone here today who is seeking that Light in the spiritually dark cave, that they will come to you today, Lord. Help us all to remember that giving in to sin is rejection of the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD. Help us to remember, Father, that to reject the Spirit of the LORD is to invite fear, humiliation, defeat, and ultimately death. We praise you, and we love you, and pray all these things in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.
THE LAST WORD:
“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
—2nd Corinthians 3.17
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