Summary: When all your crutches are gone and you feel your life is being lived in a cave, then David has some lessons to teach us. First, he shows us how to react, then he shows us who we will attract.
How to Behave in a Cave
When we ended our study last week, we saw how God had taken everything away from David. We saw how David lost every crutch he had that could have taken the place of God. He lost his position, his wife, his prophet, his friend Jonathan and finally his self-respect. Even his enemy the King of Achish, Goliath’s king, didn’t want anything to do with David.
Now let’s read our passage and see where David goes next. “David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.”
Now without a country or a home, David takes shelter in a cave. David has hit absolute rock bottom. In a matter of days David has gone from living in a palace to living in a hole in the side of a hill. He’s gone from having friends and family to having nothing. And if you want to know how he feels, David isn’t shy about telling us. In fact, there are at three Psalms that identify how David was feeling at this low point in his life. Psalm 142, Psalm 57 and Psalm 34 were all written after David left King Achish of Gath and was in the cave, so have your bibles ready because we’re going to read from all three. We’ll start by reading Psalm 142, so turn there. As we read this, remember that David has no security, no food, no one to talk to and very little to look forward to. He was alone in a dark cave and away from his friends and family. It doesn’t get much bleaker than this. It isn’t very long, so let’s read it together.
That is very dramatic. In verse 4 David says, “I look for someone to help me, but no one gives me a passing thought. No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me” (vs. 4). David has a severe case of the “Whoa is me’s!” But now look again at verse 5. David says, “Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
When your life is in a cave – a cave God probably brought you to so He could remove all the crutches in your life – then your first mode of behavior should be like David’s. We’re going to see two things happened with David in that cave. First we are going to see how David reacted, and then we are going to see who he attracted. The first thing David did was he—
1. Cried out to God (Ps. 142). In the midst of David’s lowest point he never lost sight of God. How different that is from so many people, even proclaiming Christians, who have gone through difficult times and wonder where God is.
Have you ever been to the place where the only thing you thought you had left was God? I vividly remember a time when I was at the monastery when I felt like David. I was apart from family and friends who were in California. I was the only non-Catholic at the community, and it seemed like some people took delight in telling me how I was not only different, but in some way inferior. I had no idea what my future was and I was beginning to doubt my sanity for even asking God if I could join the Little Portion community. I remember sitting in a nearly dark chapel, alone with my back against a wall and my hood pulled up over my head. I felt I literally had nobody left in my life and nothing to look forward to. It was then I could only pray one thing over and over again: “You and me, Jesus, You and me. If there is nothing left in my life but You, Lord, then it will be You and me.”
Here is something we all need to know before we can go any further in our study. When the Lord brings us to the place where we feel we have nothing, it is not to end our lives but to reroute it. But it is precisely when we feel like we’ve lost everything that the enemy will whisper in our ear, “This is your fault. You caused it. You sinned. You’re nothing like you thought you were and you’ll never get out of this cave and you have nothing to return to and nothing to look forward to.” If you’ve ever been at that point in your life, you know just what I’m talking about.