Summary: The cave of Adullam, where David gathered men to himself to form an army, is a picture of the church.
READ: 1 Samuel 22:1-2
[Describe scene: David on the run – the cave – the ragtag band of men day by day joining him.]
1. Adullam’s Cave is a Picture of the Church
The name Adullam likely comes from a Hebrew word that means “refuge”. And this place for David and the men who came to him certainly did come to be a “cave of refuge”.
Men came to him from everywhere. 400 of them at this point …
- Everyone who was IN DISTRESS
- Everyone who was IN DEBT
- Everyone who was DISCONTENTED
They came to the cave …
a) For protection
b) For training
c) For a cause
2. God Wants to Turn the “Are Nots” into an Army
- Stories of David’s 400 mighty men are legendary (recount some in brief).
- These great men started out like "the dirty dozen". (Misfits and outcasts) But David welded them into a fiercesome fighting force.
- This is Ezekiel’s vision! An army comes to life.
(God taught David the leadership he would need to lead the nation while he was here in this cave leading 400 men.)
3. Each Man Had a Choice to Make
It was a choice to lay down the past.
a) The DISTRESSED had to move on to freedom. The word distressed here literally means “someone who is oppressed, particularly oppressed by an enemy”. The hounded came to David at Adullam’s Cave, and he took them in. They had a choice to make – they could keep on running from the enemy who was pursuing them, or they could take their stand in the Cave of Adullam with David and 400 men just like themselves.
Now to me it doesn’t sound like a hard choice! It’s a “no-brainer”, right?! Who wants to live life in distress? Who wants to be hounded by an oppressing enemy? But it is incredible how some people don’t want to give up the oppressions of the enemy! The devil has a foothold, and if the truth be known, we like the foothold he has! We hold on to our sin – we prolong our bondages.
If God has delivered you from the bondage of oppression, you need to fill your life with new things! Godly things. “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The battle begins in your mind, whatever you’re dwelling on is going to control you. The Bible says to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” You’re a new creation – fill your life with new things; new thoughts, new ways, new standards, new priorities.
If you remain idle, and hanker back after old ways, that old bondage will return seven times stronger than before.
You’ve got to hate that oppression. Run to God for once-and-for-all deliverance. No turning back. Get away to the Cave of Adullam – be with God’s people (in the victory camp) – let God make you into a soldier and weld you into His army.
b) The INDEBTED had to trust the God of the cave. David had nothing to offer them, but they forged a community where each were equally committed to one another. They looked to God together. Sounds an awful lot like the church in Acts chapter 2. Listen to the description (Acts 2:44-45): “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” There weren’t too many wealthy people, just common folk, they hardly had two cents to rub together – but what they did have they used to look after each other.
c) The DISCONTENTED had to find rest. People came to David who were not satisfied with the status quo of the kingdom. Not satisfied with serving under a king who was not hearing from God and was leading the nation in disobedience to the direction of the Lord through Samuel.
They came to David to find a future and a hope. That cause worth fighting for. A destiny together.
And God mightily gave them that. But, you know, life with David wasn’t all fun and games. It was difficult. I mean, apart from the very real threat of attack by Saul, just living day to day each man found that he was surrounded by 400 men distressed, in debt, and discontented. It took time for them to become an army.
Some people move from church to church because of discontentment. There may be a time that God calls you out of one place to another for a very good reason, but if it’s just a case of moving around to find the “perfect church” – guess what? Your search will never end! EVERY church is an Adullam’s Cave! Full of people who have come there because of their distress, their debt and their discontent.