About 25 years passed between David’s anointing by Samuel and his ultimate appointment as King of Israel. And for 10 of those years, David was on the run.
Our message this past Sunday referenced the time David spent hiding in a cave in the hills outside Philistia. Those particular caves are made of limestone and the water carved out a huge natural room where David and at least 400 others hid from Saul and his army.
This cave was near to the town of Adullum. That term appropriately means “justice” or “refuge of the people.” That cave became a refuge for David, his family, and his friends. And scholars believe that at least three psalms were penned while David languished in that dark, damp environment.
Psalm 142 was probably written first. David is on his face (so to speak) and pours out his feelings to His God: “I cry aloud … I pour out my complaint … I cry to you … set me free from my prison.”
Sometime later, we believe that he wrote Psalm 57. Now we see him on his knees. His prayer has an element of praise in it. He is still crying out from the cave, but David remembers: “My heart is steadfast … I will praise you … for great is your love.”
And finally, David wrote Psalm 34 as he stood ready to act. Perhaps this song was written after the prophet Gad encouraged David to leave the cave and go on into Judah. At any rate, it appears that David is on his feet now and shifting his attention to what’s next.
He starts boasting in His goodness and declares that he is ready to start exalting Yahweh with others. He is ready to get back into the fight.
It occurs to me that David isn’t the only caveman in the history of God’s kids. Quite a few of us spend extended time tucked away in a gloomy corner (some of our own making, others boarded up for us by family, friends, and co-workers).
So, what do we do when we find ourselves in such a difficult place? Remember God’s faithfulness in your life. Rehearse His goodness. Speak of His grace and mercy. Wait for His deliverance.
This week, if you sense there are dark walls closing in (welcome to Cave Dwellers United), encourage yourself by studying those three psalms David wrote just for this occasion!