Would God Send a Demon to Attack Someone?


Would God ever send a demon to attack a person? You might think, “Of course not! He wants us free from demons, He’d never send a demon to torment anyone!” If you thought that, you’d be wrong. 1 Samuel 16:14 says, “The Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (see also 1 Samuel 16;15-16, 23; 18:10; 19:9). Did God really do that? Why would He do such a thing?

First of all, He really did it. The demon “from the Lord” was allowed to attack and harass Saul. Saul started out following God, but then he disobeyed several times (1 Samuel 13:1-14; 15:1-35). As a result, God removed His Holy Spirit and allowed a demon to do what demons love to do – attack and bring misery. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Sin has consequences, and for Saul part of his was that God stopped protecting him from demonic attacks. God allowed them to do what they always want to do.

God allowed this not just so Saul would suffer the consequences of his sin, but also because it would bring David into Saul’s life and ultimately become king instead of Saul. Only soothing music could bring Saul some relief from the demonic attacks he suffered, and David could play such music (1 Samuel 16:15-23).

This demon was allowed to come and go, attacking Saul and tormenting him. Saul opened the door by his disobedience, and God withdrew His protection. The demon came “from” God. But God overruled everything and used it for His good. The torment was allowed to cause Saul to turn back to God (which didn’t happen) as well as bring David into the court and set him up to kill Goliath and ultimately become king. God uses everything for His purpose, even demons (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20). We can clearly see that truth in the life of Job.

Saul isn’t the only example in the Bible of God allowing demonic attack as a consequence of sin but using it to give the person an opportunity to repent and turn back to God. God also used it as a warning to others. We also see this in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and the Corinthian believer who was involved with incest and adultery (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was demonic torment that God didn’t stop so Paul would learn to rely on God’s grace and power (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Jesus used demons to show how great He was by defeating them and casting them out of people, even when there were 2,000 or more in one person (Mark 5:1-13).

It is no different today. God allows demons to work against people today so they will turn to Him for victory and see His power and might. He uses them for our growth and His glory (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20). They can only do what He allows (Job 1:12; 2:6). God is in sovereign control over them.

If you feel you are being attacked, ask God to show you why that is happening. Is it a result of sin in your life that God wants you to confess? Are you in any way being disobedient to Him? Does He want you to see His power and glorify Him as He brings you victory? This isn’t always done by removing the demons. It could be, like with Paul, by giving you the grace you need to bear up under the attacks (2 Corinthians 12:7). It could be He wants you to trust Him and stay faithful no matter what happens – like Job did.

2 Corinthians 12:7–10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What are some of the most common ways that Satan and his forces attack you?

What have your learned from past battles and victories?

What could He be trying to teach you from what you are facing today?


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