In today’s reading we find David on the run from Saul in Psalm 52 because of the treachery of an Edomite named Doeg. I refreshed my memory of this story by reading I Samuel 22 and was once again reminded of the evil that is resident in the hearts of men. The murder of 85 men of God, their wives, children and even their flocks and herds happened because of Doeg’s love for “sharing” the tidbits of information he possessed. David was fleeing from Saul and stopped in to see Ahimelech, a priest where he was given bread and the sword of Goliath. Doeg happened to be there and delighted in being able to share David’s whereabouts and the events at Ahimelech’s with Saul. Saul ordered his men to go and execute a whole community of priests because of the information. When his men refused to raise a hand against the priests of God, Saul commissioned Doeg to do the deed and he was only too eager to accomplish the task.
In Psalm 57 we find David hiding in the cave called Adullah which in Hebrew means “failure”. David is on the run even though he has been anointed king, being chased by the reigning king. He leaves Israel and enters the land of his enemies, the Philistines, and takes up residence in the cave near the hometown of his slain enemy Goliath – the city of Gath. We know from the story in I Samuel that about 400 men followed him there and the Bible specifically calls them the ones who were in distress, in debt, and discontented. In other words, he attracted those just like himself. He was at a low point in his life, but through his writings in Psalms 57 and 142, we see that David would rather please God and live in a cave than displease God and sit on the throne. We also see that David didn’t calculate his safety in his distance away from Saul, but in his closeness to God. We see that so profoundly in his words in Psalm 57:1 “My soul trusts in You. In the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge until these calamities have passed by.” Then again in verses 7-11 “Awake my heart, play and sing.” “Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, Your truth unto the clouds.”
After a period of time, the Prophet Gad came to visit David and advised him to leave that cave and go back into the land of Israel. Safety for the Christian is not in hiding out or isolating ourselves from the dangers of the world; but in casting ourselves on God for His care and guidance as we seek to do His work and His will in or lives. We can’t be a light if we don’t inhabit some dark places! I guess if you’re dwelling in a cave, it’s not easy to believe that it’s part of His divine plan for your life.
From Psalm 142 we can learn how to handle the times in our life that contain overwhelming stress. 1) Cry out to the Lord – the Hebrew actually means to bellow or thunder! 2) Level with Him – tell Him how it is. 3) Pray. David realizes that this dark, depressing place is actually very much a part of God’s plan for his life. You see, God resurrects dead things in caves! I guess we could say that He does some of His best work there. Jesus came out of His cave-tomb glorified. David will emerge from this cave to go on and claim the throne, but never losing his humility. When Saul and his sons are slain and nailed to a city gate, David rescues their bodies and sees them buried with honor. David’s 400 downcast men will emerge to be called in later scripture David’s mighty men! They will do exploits that will live in history. The Edomites of which Doeg was a part will go on to join forces with the Babylonians to sack Jerusalem and desecrate Israel.
If you find yourself now, or in the future, in a dark place — a cave of sorts — listen to David’s words and praise in the midst of calamity; awaken your heart and sing to God. For His “mercy reaches to the heavens and His truth unto the clouds.” Psalm 57:10