Go From the Stronghold to a Stronger Place

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Samuel 22:1 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. 2 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

5 But the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

It is not difficult to empathize with David as he retreated to a cave in Adullam after escaping from Gath. He had a difficult time in Gath and even pretended to be insane in order to escape. Truth be told, we may all have experienced situations that left us feeling the same way.

The "Encounter in the Cave" seemed to begin on a positive note with brothers and family members gathering around him for comfort and consolation. In our distress we are thankful for the support of family and friends. We are happy to discover that we are not alone during difficult times. A distress can become a rallying point for others who can identify with our pain. Commiserating feels good. "Commiserate" means, "To express or feel sympathy and pity."

However, commiserating in a cave can transform comfort into complacency.

As people heard about David's retreat into the cave of Adullam, the notion of joining with him and others in the cave felt "right." It seemed like the place to be: "All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader." (1 Sam. 22:2) It may have been considered a "move of God."

Without a doubt, we want to minister to hurting people. God wants to help hurting people. The solution is not to gather all the hurting people in one place for the purpose of feeling one another's pain. This may "feel good," but it will not produce victory.

Basically, the Encounter in the Cave mostly attracted people who, in the Hudson Translation were, "Broke, Busted, and Disgusted!" Along with genuine expressions of care and concern shown in the cave, one can only imagine the dramatic stories that were shared. Releasing one's pain is good, but wallowing in pain is bad.

This may have been a necessary season in David's life, yet that season had to change. After a period of time in this "stronghold" God sent a prophet with a simple message, "Do not stay in the stronghold, go to Judah."

With this instruction came an end to his distress AND the place of his distress. Judah is also a term connected to the concept of "Praise" or dwelling with God.

  • You may retreat into a cave, but recognize it as a temporary place.
  • You may gather people who feel as you do, but don't commiserate long with them.
  • You may find a comfort zone in the cave, but don't accept it.
  • You may feel empowered by having hurting people around you, but don't let pain define your ministry.
  • You may want to make a cave your "stronghold," but a stronger place awaits you. That's the place of praise and God's sweet presence.