The Caves of Life

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 16 

David is a God-centered man, reduced to living in caves.

imagesDavid spends more than a decade of his life fleeing the assassination attempts of King Saul. Many of those days and weeks are spent hiding in caves. That must have been excruciating for this former shepherd boy, used to the open sky! How did he make that transition so joyfully?

Psalm 57:1 offers a clue, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” Another insight comes from Psalm 142:5, “I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”

Though the caves offer physical refuge, David needs a soul-place—a shelter, a haven for his spiritual well-being. The LORD is that place of refuge to which he turns continually, “I cry out to the LORD with my voice; with my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble” (142:1-2).

David understands that his decade of running from King Saul somehow fulfills a purpose of God that he simply has to accept by faith until he comes to full understanding. God is big, His purposes grand; therefore, David can trust His character when he can’t understand his cave life. Every morning David chooses to cry out to God, “I cry out to You, O LORD: I said, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low” (Ps. 142:5-6).

Temptations abound that entice both believers and unbelievers to avoid turning to the Lord. Many turn to drugs (legal or illegal), alcohol, sex, food, sleep, entertainment, exercise, etc., when their sky-worlds collapse into cave-worlds. Not David! David turns to the Lord.

David’s response to his change in circumstances reveals a number of helpful truths about cave life.

  • Worship under open skies prepares David for worship in caves. Same God, different circumstances. True for you, too!
  • Doubting God’s love is counter-productive. The truth of that love had already been settled years earlier when David worshiped God under the open sky. He acknowledged his limitations to understand God’s ways as he lifted his eyes from his circumstances to God’s dwelling above the heavens. God is bigger than shepherd-life and cave-life—open skies or restricting circumstances.
  • David submits to the Lord of his circumstances and petitions God to manifest His glory.

Questions from today’s reading (1 Samuel 22:1-23:12; Psalm 57; 142; 52):

  • What do the mighty men from Gad, Benjamin, and Judah recognize about David?
  • Who is Doeg? What does Doeg’s slaughter of Ahimelech and the priests at Saul’s command reveal about the king?
  • What does David understand about God that comforts him when he hears of the death of Ahimelech?
  • How do the people of Keilah return David’s kindness? What does this reveal about how they view King Saul? What does this reveal about the fear of man?