Monday, October 26, 2015

A Cave, Crutches and a Captain

When I was a boy I remember visiting the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I remember the caverns to be very cold and damp! They had lighted paths to walk on, but at one point on the tour when we were deep in the cave they shut off all the lights and the underground chamber was pitch black! It was so dark that you could not see your hand in front of your face! They left the lights off for only maybe a minute but it was long enough to get a very uncomfortable feeling!

Sometimes visiting a cave can be fun to explore, but it’s really not a place you would want to live in for any length of time. But in 1 Samuel 22 we see that David did just that when he was on the run from King Saul. But the Lord uses the Cave of Adullam to break David down in order to build him up again to use him to encourage others and to fulfill His purposes for his life! Sometimes it is in the darkest caves of our lives that God does His deepest work in us so that He can use us!

The Pathway to the Cave of Adullam 
David went from obscurity to prominence when the prophet Samuel came to David’s home and anointed him as the next King of Israel. David’s fame grew even more when he defeated Goliath. That victory gave him a place in the palace of King Saul, where the King kept a close eye on David! David became a very successful commander and his name became a house hold name (1 Sam. 18:30). David best friend was the King’s son Jonathan and he even married one of Saul’s daughters. This all set the stage for the King to become very jealous of David tempting several attacks with a spear on David’s life! David had to run for his life fleeing first to Gath, the city of very people he had defeated when he had killed the Philistine giant, Goliath! There David ending up pretending to be insane! This was a very low point in David’s life! He had lost everything that meant anything to him!

The Crutches Removed 
In fleeing from Saul David had lost his wife Michal (who would return later), his family (who also came to him later), his job as a commander in Saul’s army, his spiritual counselor Samuel who had died while he was on the run, his best friend Jonathan, his self-respect and his security! The Lord had removed everything that David leaned upon out from underneath him and now He can begin to work in David! So David finds himself alone, discouraged and running for his life.

David didn’t realize it when he ran into the cave of Adullam; he wasn’t running into a cave, he was running into the classroom of the School of God! At one point David would call this cave a prison (Ps. 142:7), but the Lord used this prison of a cave as a closet of prayer for David!

The Closet of Prayer leads a Chamber of Praise 
C.H. Spurgeon once wrote, “Had David prayed as much in his palace as he did in his cave, he might never have fallen into the acts which brought such misery upon his latter days.” God allowed David to experience the difficult days of discouragement and despair to draw him to Himself! While David was in the cave was going through the experiences of the cave he wrote at least two Psalms, Psalm 142 and 57. Psalm 142 seems to be the first, for it is filled with a sense of despair! Psalm 57 could have been written second as it contains more hope and confidence!

David had already been anointed king, but why did it take so long for him to take the throne? Scripture teaches us in the life of our Lord Jesus, whom David is a picture of, that suffering comes before glory (1Peter 1:10-12). Before the crown there had to be the cross! So it is in our lives, before God can use us, He must prepare us and teach to rely on Him! David ran to Adullam, which means “justice,” “a testimony” or “a refuge.” But God had to teach David that the cave was not his refuge but that God Himself was! The word “refuge” means “protective place,” “place of security,” or “place of secrecy.” In Deuteronomy 33:27 we read, “The eternal Go is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you and will say ‘Destroy!’” This is what David had to learn!

The Cries from the Cave 
We have all felt discouragement and maybe despair! But what did David do? He cried out to the Lord. This Cave was a Cave of:

1. Complaint (Ps. 142:2). David poured out his heart to the Lord, begging the Lord for help and deliverance!

2. Trouble (Ps. 142:2). His heart was full of anxiety and distress, but he was taking to the Lord in prayer!

3. Fainting (Ps. 142:3). The word for overwhelmed here means fainting. David was ready to give up; he had nowhere else to turn!

4. Snares (Ps. 142:3). When we feel trapped in a corner there are many snares that wait for us. But even then the Lord has promised a way out for us if we trust Him (1 Cor. 10:13).

5. Loneliness (Ps.142:4). David felt all alone, like he had no one that understood where he was at! 

6. Despair (Ps. 142:6). David says that he is brought very low, discouraged and depressed.

7. Bondage (Ps. 142:7) He describes his feelings as being in prison!

Who hasn’t experienced caves like this in our own lives? David felt alone in that cave and maybe you are experiencing a cave of your own right now. David was not alone in that cave and neither are you! David hurt enough to admit his need before God. He was honest enough to cry for help and humble enough to learn from God. The Lord allows us to get to this point in order to transform us so that we can fulfill his plan!

Lessons Learned Alone with God in the Cave 
The Lord is glorified as we trust Him in the darkest hours of our lives! It is then that we begin to learn and enjoy:

· Intimacy with the Lord: David verbally communicated with the Lord during this dark time in his life! The Lord is there and we have access into His presence to cast our cares upon Him (Heb. 4:14-16, 1 Pet. 5:7). 

· He is Enough: David had lost everything but as he poured out his heart to the Lord he learn that the Lord was his portion (Ps. 142:5)! Prophetically, this is what the Lord Jesus said in Psalm 16:5! When we realize that all our resources, all our sustains is found in Him, we actually are acting the way He did while He was here as a man when He God His Father was His portion! He is not only our resource for life, He is our life (Col. 3:4), and He is our portion!

· His Character: David began to learn what God was like and praised Him for who He was (Ps. 142:7)! David no longer focused on who or what he lost but on who was with Him! This comes out even clearer in Psalm 57.

In Psalm 57 we see David as the Lord strengthen Him in the cave and prepared him for what was next. The Lord changed David’s heart from being a discouraged heart to a heart encouraged by the presence and power of the Lord! Let’s look briefly at Psalm 57 to learn more of David’s heart:

1. Humble Heart (Ps. 57:1): David had humbled himself in the presence of the Lord and now his perspective is totally different! He sees the Lord as the One who is full of mercy and who is trust worthy! He has learned that the Lord is willing to take him under His wings and that He is a refuge until the calamities pass!

2. Prayerful Heart (Ps. 57:2): He is now willing to depend on the One who is above all others in His person and in His power!

3. Realistic Heart (Ps. 57:4, 6): David is not denying the difficulties, but He is acknowledging that His God is greater than his problems!

4. Trusting Heart (Ps. 57:5, 7-11): David gives the Lord all the praise and again emphasizes that His God is above everything else!

David had learned total dependence upon His God while in the Cave of Adullam and now he is prepared to be used by the Lord!

Going from being Isolated to being an Insulator 
David went to hide out alone in the cave, but was now prepared to be used by the Lord. He went there discouraged and the Lord sends people to him who needed to be encouraged! David had learned to trust the Lord fully, first his family arrives, and even his brothers who once called him prideful now come to him!

We are told the number of people, 400 and the type of people who came, everyone who was in distress, in debt and discontent. This word “distress” has the idea of “those under pressure.” This would remind us that before we came to Christ we were under the burden of Sin, but coming to our David the burden was lifted at Calvary! “Everyone who was in debt” has the thought of “have many creditors.” We were bankrupt and own a debt that we never could repay, but we come to the One who has paid it in full! “Everyone who was discontent” mean to be in bitterness of soul.” This reminds us that nothing could ever fill the God shaped vacuum that is in each of our lives before we came to Christ!

The Captain of the Cave 
These men were unhappy with Saul, the man after the flesh and sought out David the man after God’s own heart! They left Saul and the city and went out to David. Here we have a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church. We are told to go unto Him, outside the camp and He is the Captain of our Salvation (Heb. 13:13, 2:10). The flesh can never satisfy; no matter if it is sinful flesh or religious flesh, flesh of any kind cannot satisfy! Only Christ can meet the needs of the human heart!

We learn from 2 Samuel 23 that these men come from all over Israel. Some were from Benjamin, which was Saul’s own tribe. Some came to David from Judah, Dan, Ephraim and some were even Gentiles. This reminds us that the Lord Jesus will have those around Him in a Day to come out of every tribe, every tongue and out of every nation! 

These men came to David just as they were, in their distress, debt and discontent and the Lord satisfied them through the man after His own heart! These 400 men came to David when he was rejected and in exile. He was but He had won their hearts. Their aim in life would later be to please their Captain and to fulfill his every desire as we see in 2 Samuel 23:8-23. This ought to be our aim today. The apostle Paul states this in 2 Corinthians 5:9 “Therefore we make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him.” 

The Cave of Adullam became a training ground for David and his mighty men. Everyone experiences cave like circumstances in life. Your cave can be a dark, cold and lonely place or it can became a class room in the school of God where we learn that He is our refuge and He is all we need!

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