The Cave 1 Sam 24
1 Samuel 24 In the Cave:
God said to Adam âAdam I want you to do something for meâ
Adam replied, “Gladly, Lord, what do You want me to do?”
“I want you to go down into that valley, across the river, and over to the hill. On the other side of the hill you will find a cave. In the cave you will find a woman.” “What’s a woman, Lord?’
God told him, and said, “And I want you to reproduce.” “Reproduce, Lord?” God explained it to him, and Adam rushed forth into the valley, across the river, over the hill, into the cave, and found the woman. But in about five minutes, he was back, looking puzzled.
God sighed. “What is it now, Adam?” And Adam said, “What’s a headache?”
I wonder how many of us physically or figuratively speaking, have been in or are at present in a cave? A cave a dark recess often damp and smelly however sometimes used to hide or shelter in. Here we have David physically hiding, taking refuge from King Saul who was out to kill him. Why was Saul after his blood? What heinous crime had he committed towards Saul that demanded such drastic action? The answer is simpleâ¦. Nothing! If fact in human terms David should have been elevated onto a pedestal not confined to a dark dismal smelly cave, even more so after Saul used it as a urinal! Hadnât he previously not only killed Goliath but many more of Saulâs enemies! He had also on many occasions smoothed Saulâs troubled mind by his music ministry! The problem was one that still exists today in governments, workplaces and even in some churches. Jealousy, power struggles and feeling threatened by others abilities! It was not uncommon in those ancient days for kings or heads of state to eliminate any potential threat to their leadership!
As I looked into this dark cave a number of issues came to light that I believe we might need to address. When we are in despair, depression or anxious we can often withdraw to our emotional cave, seeking shelter from the big wide world and those around us. How many do we know within our own fellowship who appeared super spiritual but when trials and tribulation came they chose to distance themselves. I know Iâve been there! Too often they say things like, âgive me spaceâ or âI can work things out without your help! Yet this is the very time they need to be closer to God and draw support from the fellowship, not remove themselves from the scene.
Some may seek advice or counselling from within or outside the church. This can be a good positive reaction but there are dangers. We must always check any advice against Godâs will and purpose for our lives. It must always be in line with His teaching and guidance. For those of us to whom people might seek advice from, make sure we are in tune with God and use his wisdom not our own when offering advice! Pay attention to v4 of our reading âThis is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wishâ even though there is no previous record of any such divine revelation alluded to by Davidâs men. What did they base this statement on? Maybe their own interpretation of another revelation or by Davidâs own assurances that he would succeed Saul as king. Some may have considered this statement as divine authority to kill Saul. But David for all his faults was in tune with God, the bible tells us he had a heart for God, he knew killing Saul the appointed and anointed leader was wrong in Godâs sight.
In my last sermon I mentioned how I struggle with some the scriptures for example in Romans 13 it tells us to submit to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established etc. Although Saul was not a good leader, David knew and understood this, killing Saul would go against Godâs plans.
Not only was David a man who knew Godâs heart, and a mighty warrior, he was also a gifted musician and composer. The vast majority of the Psalms were written by him. I want to read his psalm 142 to you, donât panic itâs only 7 verses longâ¦.. a maskil Hebrew word indicating the psalm contains instruction in godliness â¦â¦. Can you not feel his emotions, although obviously depressed, fearful, desperate in fear of his life, he cries out to the Lord, he knows that God is his refuge his only hope.
What cave or prison are we in? Are we depressed? Fearful, desperate. Have we been unfairly treated, even abused. Maybe those with authority over us have exceeded their authority. You may be at the point of wanting to seek revenge in all itâs forms. I know itâs not easy letting go or trusting God to be judge and jury.
When Maggie and I were privileged to visit the Holylands, although not on the official itinerary, our guide took us to En Gedi. Although impossible to point out the actual cave, as there were many in the cliffs, we shall never forget this experience because outside these caves along a fairly short but precarious footpath, a reason why not many tourist are taken along it, you come to a beautiful waterfall an oasis in the desert.
I believe God is saying to us all, donât stay in that dark, depressing cave, come outside into my oasis, let Jesus my stream of living water refresh and revive you.
Our Christian walk will not always be easy, it too can be precarious, we will stumble, sometimes fall, but get back on the track as blessing await you.
Be encouraged that God is always in control, even in difficult times. I donât believe in coincidences only God Incidents. Out of all the caves at En Gedi and there are many, Saul was guided into the one where David and his men were hid. We might be able to hide away from man but not God, he knows our every move! What a frightening thought! Just remember the next time we feel that weâve been unfairly treated we are in good company, not only David but also the greatest injustice ever, Jesus the perfect man murdered for doing only what was right.
The story is told of a Bible class that had been asked the question, in your time of discouragement, what is your favourite Scripture.Â¨ A young man said, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want Psalm 23:1. A middle age woman said, God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1. Another woman said, In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world. John 16:33-35. Then old Mr. John who was 80 years old, with a head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, and it came to pass 85 times in the bible. The class started to laugh a little thinking that old Mr. Johnâs lack of memory was getting the best of him. When the snickering stopped, he said. At 30 I lost my job with six hungry mouths and a wife to feed. I didnât know how I would make it. At 40 my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At 50 my house burned to the ground. Nothing was saved out of the house. At 60 my wife of 40 years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At 65 she died. I still miss her today. The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where was God. But each time I looked in the bible I saw one of those 85 verses that said, and it came to pass. I felt that God was telling me, my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through it.
You know God wants us all to know him, to trust him to turn to him in the good and bad times. Behind nearly every front door there are people in their emotional caves, they need to know that God is our help and refuge. God doesnât reside just in a church building. Itâs not just on a Sunday we can meet with him, there is a takeaway service! He wants to reside in every human heart 24/7. Yet he doesnât force his way in, like a squatter. He awaits the invitation. Jesus said in Rev 3 v20-21 âHere I am, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him that overcomes I will give him the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.â How will people hear unless we are the voice of Jesus? Remember also that sometimes actions speak louder than words!