Mental Illness & End Times #7 (Saul)

Hi all,

Wouldn’t you think the presence of God in a person’s life would cause a person’s emotional and mental health to change for the better? Our question is; How can a person allow the anointing (manifest presence of God) restore their mind and emotions?

Jesus said in the last days sin will be increasing, but at the same time the gospel will be preached in all the world. That means as the gospel is preached, some of those people who come to Him do so emotionally and/or mentally damaged or ill. How can the anointing heal our emotions? (Matthew 24:12-14)

King Saul

When Samuel confronted King Saul he said: “When you were little in your own sight, didn’t the Lord make you the head over all the tribes of Israel, and anoint you to be king over Israel?” (I Samuel 15:17)

“When you were little in your own sight” is the key to understanding King Saul’s descent into mental illness, and it presents us with the two truths every believer faces: What I say versus and what God says about me.

Little in his own sight

Saul’s story begins I Samuel 9:1-2 where it says he came from a very wealthy family, that he was taller than anyone else and the most handsome man in Israel. Yet he was small in his own sight.

We aren’t told about his home life, how he failed to be rooted and grounded in unconditional love, we just know that was the case, for he didn’t see himself as he should. This opened the door to the ‘fear of man’, an inability to stand against the pressure of circumstances and other’s opinions – exactly what Mark 4:17 & Ephesians 3:17 say of those not rooted and grounded in unconditional love.

King Saul became a paranoid man, known for depression and outbursts of anger, and then just as quickly turn emotionally ‘up’ and tender to the Lord. Today we might call him bi-polar, certainly anti-social, paranoid and delusional. But as I said, he became that way – he didn’t start out that way.

Not able to see the facts clearly

When Samuel told Saul he was called to be king, he replied Samuel must be wrong, for he was merely a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes, and his family is least of all the families in that small tribe.

Notice that Satan often speaks half truths, yet a half truth is a whole lie. The tribe of Benjamin was a small if not the smallest of the tribes. Yet his dad was very wealthy, not the least of the families as he stated – but that is how he saw himself and his family, and as a result he couldn’t believe God’s good plan for him.

This is what self-hate or being ‘small in your own sight’ will do to you – you will see facts construed through the eyes of self-loathing and find reasons why God really doesn’t want to use you, reasons He doesn’t really want you and love you. That’s what Saul was doing when Samuel spoke to him of the call on his life.

Where healing starts

Healing the emotions requires more than a simple choice, it requires an experience with God’s presence. Saul was told God’s plan, but then God showed up by coming upon him so he prophesied. The Father doesn’t want us to believe without evidence, He provides His presence in our lives.

You cannot use logic on an emotionally damaged or mentally ill person. For every scripture you show them to say for instance, that they are saved, they will show others they think proves they are not. But like Saul, the presence of the Holy Spirit is what the Father expects the person to believe and upon which to focus.

When I was a teenager and dealing with a horrible self-image, fear of man and lack of confidence, I remember barely feeling His presence inside me. I felt my emotions and own thoughts MUCH more than His presence within. But I remembered those ‘prayer meetings’ I went to and His presence I felt all around me. I remember disciplining my mind to say that Presence lives in me even if I don’t feel Him. I remember doing that over and over again. Gradually I could detect that same presence I felt in the meetings down in my spirit.

At first it was hit and miss. Like tuning an old radio, I was trying to find His wavelength by seemingly going just past Him on the dial and turning the knob too far on the turn back. Gradually I became aware of His ever-abiding Presence in my spirit, and that became stronger than my own thoughts and emotions.

That is a process Saul never attempted

In chapter 10 the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied with the prophets. Yet when he saw his uncle and talked about some of the family business, 10:16 says: “But of the matter of the kingdom Samuel told him about, he told him not.” Again, it isn’t just logic of chapter and verse the Lord expects us to use to regain mental health, but along with that, experiencing His presence as proof. Saul didn’t let his time in the anointing change him, so he was still afraid to tell anyone about the call and Presence on his life.

When the time came to gather the nation and anoint the king, Saul hid himself. Through a word of knowledge, 10:22 says, “He was hiding among the stuff.” In other words, the whole nation is gathered in one area, but they have pulled their animals and supplies into another area aside from the meeting area, and Saul was hiding among all that ‘stuff’ until the Lord told on him and he was discovered.

Saul is wrestling with what he believes of himself versus God’s call and presence in his life, and he was not letting the presence of the Lord change him. He didn’t let it ‘stick’. He never let the Presence and experiences in the Lord become evidence enough for him to change his thoughts and emotions.

Fear of man the result of poor self-image

In I Samuel 11:6, after news of an impending Ammonite attack reach him, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him” – giving Saul an opportunity to move in his calling as King, and for the next couple of years Israel successfully fought enemies all around it. We would think moving in this anointing over these years would have changed him.

But if a person refuses to believe what the Lord tells them at each experience with Him, and refuses to believe evidence of His presence in their life, they will not be able to change. Everyone around them will see evidence of His presence in their life, but they will refuse to admit it, and become more despondent and conflicted as a result.

What we find is that the Lord moves us along anyway, according to His call and plan, and expects us to deal with our internal issues along the way. He expects us to ‘commune with our own heart’ and let His presence change us, let all we have seen and all we have done in Him, change us. But whether we do or whether we don’t, He moves on in our lives as if we are changing on the inside.

He finally admits his issue

By the time of I Samuel 15 the Lord asks Saul to finish a promise He had made to Moses some 400 years earlier, to destroy every Amalekite from the face of the earth because though cousins to Israel, they fought against the fledgling nation just after leaving Egypt. Saul disobeys, allowing the people to keep the best of the livestock as spoil, and keeps the king of the Amalekites alive. (Exodus 17:8-16, Genesis 36:12, Amalek was a son of Esau)

Saul finally confesses his issue in 15:24: “I confess. I have disobeyed the command of the Lord and your instructions because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice (instead).

Being little in his own sight and having the fear of man is where his story opened in chapter 9. Here we are in chapter 15 with him having been king for years, yet Saul never let God’s Word nor His presence change him.

He never internalized, never thought through and allowed the great mercy and grace given him change him. The Lord rejected him as king that day, and Samuel mourned greatly for him – he remained king, but the Lord moved quickly to anoint a teenager named David as a replacement for Saul.

Samuel’s mourning for Saul can be likened to our own disappointment in ourselves when we miss it, When we fail God or when He uses us and yet when we are alone, we come to grips with the fact we still battle self-image issues. That is the point, the point of mourning, where we should repent and change our thinking to believe what He says about us.

Next week I’ll close the series sharing about how to let the anointing change us – practical steps. Until then, blessings,

John Fenn

Comments are closed.