I came across two verses in the Old Testament which refer to God sending evil spirits upon people. The first is
“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech that the crime done to the 70 sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon] might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his own brothers.”
And the second is 1 Samuel 16:14
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
Some translations actually say “evil spirit” instead of “distressing spirit.” Does that mean God will send evil spirits into our lives? No, not necessarily. But He might allow evil spirits to get to us if we are constantly sinning. Both Abimelech and Saul had it coming. They were severely disobedient to God and His laws. They didn’t run from evil. They didn’t fear God.
My MacArthur Study Bible notes that God allowed these evil spirits to torment Abimelech and Saul because of their considerable sin. It says, “There are several NT occasions where God turned people over to demons or Satan for judgement (see Acts 5:1-3; 1 Cor 5:1-7; 1 Tim 1:18-20).”
Yikes. This is pretty heavy motivation to keep on the straight and narrow and to listen to my conscience. There’s demons out there and I don’t want them getting through my hedge of protection.
For Further Reading: