So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming-men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented- until David was the captain of about 400 men….One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth. The news of his arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time, the King was sitting beneath the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers.
1 Samuel 22:1-2,5-6
This biblical passage speaks deeply to me. I hope it does to you as well. You have to understand the historical context in these few scriptures. David was running for his life. You want to talk about life being a roller coaster. The beginning of David’s journey was incredible! He was anointed to be King over all of Israel. He killed Goliath as a teenager, was put in charge of an entire army, got married (and everybody said…AMEN), found a best friend, and served as one of the King’s personal assistants. Life was good.
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse. The King of Israel (Saul) became jealous and set out to murder David. Soon after, David was forced to depart his home, his job, wife, friends, all become lost. Talk about a tragic turn of events. To protect himself and his family David lived as a fugitive and would travel from place to place to avoid running into his murderous former boss. Eventually, David escaped to the cave of Adullam and it was there were other men and his family joined him. The bible says that this place became a stronghold for him. A place of stability. I can only imagine what was going through David’s mind at that time…what happened to the promise!? The promise of being the King over an entire nation. I don’t know about you, but life as a fugitive and living in caves is hardly the life of royalty and kingship that I would envision. I don’t think David understood why this was happening to him. Despite hardship, though, David still trusted God. Psalm 142 is a psalm of David, regarding his experience in the cave. It was a prayer. It was a perspective.
1 I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
2 I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.
3 When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me.
4 I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!
No one will help me;
no one cares a bit what happens to me.
5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life.
6 Hear my cry,
for I am very low.
Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Bring me out of prison
so I can thank you.
The godly will crowd around me,
for you are good to me.”
David’s perspective remained constant. He was a realist. He understood the dire straits he was in, but despite hardship he said “You are my place of refuge”. Not this cave, not these men, not even the promise of being King. No, lord, you are all I really want in life. Do we do that in our lives? When things collapse around us? The bible says in Acts 13:22, that David was a man after God’s heart. We can learn a lesson from his situation. You may be in a “cave” so to speak. You may not understand the position you are in, but I want to encourage you to trust the Lord. Because He cares for you. You may be convinced there is no way out of your particular situation, David didn’t really know either so he began to make the best of his situation by living in this cave with his family and friends. God didn’t want him to stay there though.
I write this because I think it’s easy to build and live in our own personal strongholds, places where we control the outcome of what happens in our lives. We must move beyond our personal comfort zones, take a step of faith, and leave our strongholds, like David eventually did. Your personal stronghold may have everything you think you need in life. Financial stability, relationships, location. In David’s case it was security from a murderous lunatic. Things were convenient in David’s stronghold, in the cave of Adullam, but his destiny wasn’t in the cave, his destiny was in Judah, the place he was anointed to be King. He had to leave his personal stronghold to walk in the fullness of all that God had purposed for his life, and to do that it took faith. Faith to leave that cave and trust what God had said through the prophet Gad. No matter how great our personal stronghold seems we must remember to trust solely in God for our provision and protection. Not our stronghold. Not our money, not our families, not our friends, not our education. Those things are good, but we must not build our lives on them. We must build our lives on the cornerstone, the rock eternal, Jesus Christ.
What are your strongholds? What do you feel that Jesus is calling you to leave behind? What area in your life does God want you to take a step out in faith and trust him?
David had to surrender his desire for security and comfort and take a bold step of faith to walk in the purpose that God had for him. You need to know, though, that David’s divine direction led to Saul knowing where he was and planning to kill him. How about that for providential guidance? We may take a big step of faith in something and things may turn out to be harder than they were before. Keep trusting God. As you keep reading through the book, David returning to Judah was integral in him becoming King. The same thing happened to Moses when he fled Egypt as a fugitive. Eventually, God brought him back to the very place he ran from because Moses’ destiny wasn’t to tend sheep and raise a family out in the middle of nowhere. He was called to be a deliverer to the people of Israel.
I pray that we have the courage to step pass our place of comfort into the destiny that the Lord has for us. No matter how daunting it seems, let us remember the words of David in the cave of Adullam, “when I am overwhelmed you alone know the way I should turn.”
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.