When Trouble Presses In

1 Samuel 22
1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.
2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.”
4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.
5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

When we left David on Friday, he was hiding out from Saul in enemy territory, feigning insanity. Now he moves back into Judah and back into danger from the true madman who would kill him given the slightest chance. He now begins to gather around him the poor and the disenfranchised and a collection of 400 men (and one must assume their families as well) become his to command over the next several years. This band of soldiers would prove to be a major problem for Saul although David never allowed them to hurt Saul. David also takes care to move his mother and father out of harm’s way by moving them into Moab and away from Saul’s power. Interestingly, Moab was a very good and logical choice for protecting his parents. David was, through his great-great-grandmother Ruth, a descendant of Moab. Should you want a quick and interesting story, read the book of Ruth to learn of David’s ancestry.) The Cave of Adullam was located just inside of the Judean border with Philistia, 5 miles south of Beth-Shemesh and 10 miles from the Philistine capital of Gath. This puts him within Saul’s reach again.

While experiencing this upheaval of his life, David does what David does best – he prays. That prayer is written by him and enjoyed by us as Psalm 52. Here we see the heart of David as he is pursued and tormented by Saul. His ability to surrender his struggles into the hands of an all-powerful God is amazing and we would do well to emulate it.

To the choirmaster. A Maskil[type of song] of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”
1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying,
7 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
9 I will thank You forever, because You have done it. I will wait for Your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

(FYI – the “Selah” has been widely discussed and several different meanings have been put forth. Generally it seems to come down to a moment in the song where God is exalted, praised, or lifted up. It is a pause to stop and think about what was said / read and praise God for it.)

Having read David’s story up to this point, you know that his life is not good. Hundreds of people are looking to him for leadership and safety. His own life is daily in danger. And he is literally hiding out in the forest. What does he do? He goes directly to God with his complaint. Notice that he doesn’t try to sugar coat his situation for God. He lays is flat out. Someone is trying to destroy him and he lets God know about every detail. Then he expresses a trust in God that is phenomenal. He surrendered the whole ugly situation over to God and declares that God is trustworthy to handle the problem. Right here is why we are admonished to read the Psalms daily, for inside of those poems and songs is the heart of the true believer. Nothing is held back and God’s total perfection is displayed. What an awesome way to start the week!