Alone in a Cave

One of the Openings to the Cave of Adullam

One of the Openings to the Cave of Adullam

Dealing with life at its darkest and most difficult times

If People Magazine had been around in ancient Israel, for months the cover would have featured the face of David, the giant-slayer.  Young women sang about the handsome, national hero.  David was the man women adored and men admired.

God had already chosen David to follow Saul as the next King of Israel. David must have thought this fame and notoriety was all part of the plan.  It all looked so perfect. God was doing something incredible!

But a few spears aimed at David by a jealous King Saul seemed to change everything! Saul’s jealous rage caused him to become obsessed with destroying David.  We learn in 1 Samuel 21 that David even fled to his enemies for help. He turned up in Goliath’s hometown of Gath – the capital of the Philistines.

After asking to see Achish, the Philistine King, David realized this was a bad idea. So, he presented himself to Achish and he pretended to be insane, even drooling in his beard. Achish sent the supposed madman packing.

According to the opening sentence of 1 Samuel 22, “David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam.” Scholars believe David spent three to six months living in the muddy, dark, lonely cave. We pick up the story there with David sitting defeated — his own drool dried up in his beard. What a low point!

Most of us come to a cold, dark cave experience. We find ourselves alone, facing the shattered dreams, inexplicable pain, and desperate grief that life sometimes deals. Cold, dark, difficult caves, indeed!

David’s experience in the cave teaches us about handling life at its darkest and most difficult times. David wrote several Psalms during his months alone in the cave. Let’s look at three keys to handling a cold, dark cave experience. 

#1: Tell God How You Feel (Psalm 142)

Read Psalm 142 and you will sense the overwhelming emotions David experienced after he arrived in the Cave of Adullam. While there are hints of determination and even worship of God, the predominant mood is one of deep discouragement.

Early in his time in the cave, he learns the importance of simply telling God how he feels.  Notice his dejected phrases:

  • “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need” (v. 6)
  • “No one is concerned for me” (v. 4)
  • “No one cares for my soul” (v. 4)
  • “Set me free from prison.” (v. 7)

Ever been there? Have you ever been so low that you felt like no one cared and despair wrapped its tentacles around you?

Some think it is wrong to tell God how badly life stinks. They think that being grateful means you never express your pain and emotions to God.  But, for David, telling God how bad he felt, with a raw honesty, was key to the process of experiencing God in a cold, lonely cave.  Whatever you are going through today, no matter how dark and difficult, tell God how you feel. 

#2: Praise God for Who He is (Psalm 57)

As you read through the second Psalm David wrote while in the cave of Adullam, you sense a subtle shift in tone.  Many people discover the value of telling God how they feel when they are stuck in a cave experience.  But too few turn the corner to praise God even in the cave.

David declares, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (57:5). Boldly he commits to God, “I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples” (57:9).

Proactive praise does something transformative in us. When we choose to praise God based on Who He is, instead of what our circumstances are, good things happen.  We see the eternal God in Whom we have put our trust.

True worship is not based on what our circumstances are but on Who our God is! Our circumstances will change, but our God never changes. 

#3: Serve God by Helping others (Psalm 34)

God does a work in David’s heart at one of the lowest points in David’s entire life. God listens as David tells God how he feels. He refocuses David’s heart as David chooses to praise his God for Who He is. Back in 1 Samuel 22 we learn that some of David’s friends and relatives choose to join David in the cave. Samuel tells us that “all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him there” (1 Samuel 22:2). Few of us want people with problems showing up while we are still dealing with our own issues. But God knew what David needed next.

The most practical way we serve God is by helping others. David did that.

God expects us to use our dark, difficult experiences to help others. We may not even be fully free from the cave when He brings a bunch of broken people to our doorstep.  So, look around. Maybe God has planted some hurting people near your cave. You don’t have to have it all together for God to use you. 

Maybe you are at one of the lowest points of your life… a dark cave with spit on your face.  Learn from David.

Tell God how you feel, praise God for Who He is, and serve God by helping others. Watch what God does to transform you and use you to impact others!

The Power of Words

We speak to people all day, every day and the words that we choose either help us build people up, or tear them down. In this short devotional, Pastor Shawn challenges us with the words of Scripture that apply to the tongue. Watch this and be reminded of the power of our tongue in the lives of others.

 

Ambassadoring

In this short devotional video, Pastor Shawn challenges us to be ‘ambassadoring’ for Christ. As Christians, we are always representing Christ, sometimes well, and sometimes not so well. Listen to this devotional thought and be challenged to be an ambassador for Christ that helps draw people to Him.

 

Be Still

Life is noisy. There is so much going on with us and around us at all times that we find it difficult to just be still. We are told in the Scriptures to ‘be still and know that He is God’, but this discipline can be tough. Watch this short devotional thought from Pastor Shawn as he encourages us to ‘Be Still’.

 

The Anchor of Our Hope

One of the commonalities that humans share is the fact that we will experience pain. The circumstances of our lives may be different, but hurt and heartache will come to us. It’s part of being a person who lives in this world. In this short devotional, Pastor Shawn invites us to look at the example of Job and challenges us to find hope in the One who redeems us.

 

Serve

Serving each other and those in need is one of the things that brings the greatest joy into the life of a Christian. In this devotional thought, Pastor Shawn looks at how serving became an integral part of being the community of believers God has designed us to be.

Ups and Downs

Life has its ebbs and flows, its ups and downs. We all experience those seasons of good, and the seasons that are much more difficult. In this devotional, Pastor Shawn talks about how we keep our eyes focused on the big picture of what God is doing in the world, even in the midst of our ups and downs.

Togetherness

Friendship and the concept of togetherness are incredibly important things to the Christian. God knew that a life following Christ would be tough and full of difficult seasons. Take a few moments and watch/listen to Pastor Shawn address the principle of friendship through the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer.

Childlike Faith

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1) Faith is foundational to our Christian life and can carry us through any circumstance we may face.

Many times, as we get older, our faith in the unseen can lessen and we need to be able to explain things logically to accept them as true. Jesus, however, commends the childlike faith. The faith that allows us to trust and believe in something bigger than ourselves. Take a minute and listen as Pastor Shawn talks about the faith of a child that made a huge difference in another’s life