The cave of Adullum
The cave of Adullum.
[P] 1 Samuel 22:1-2 So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him. We all know the story of David [P] – those are the stories we heard in Sunday School. Even leaving out their spiritual value, they are just great drama: violence and military campaigns, political intrigue and plots, sex, interplay of human relationships, betrayal, family tensions – it has it all. We all know the story of David the after-thought, the youngest by far and despised. Yet God chose Him and called him – this insignificant and rejected one was going to be king [P]. Remember Samuel the prophet coming to anoint him? That verse we know so well: [1 Samuel 16:7 But יְהוָה said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, (referring to Eliab, the eldest) because I have rejected him. For God does not see what man sees, for a man looks on the outward appearance, but יְהוָה looks on the heart.”] He was anointed [P], the Messiah, that is what “Messiah” means – he was Divinely appointed to office. And, of course, we all know that David came to be a type, a picture or symbol, of the Messiah [P] – the Anointed One who was going to come. That is Jesus, isn’t it? He came from David’s line! That is what the Bible does; it uses real people and their life to be prophetic pictures of what God is going to do. Yet another thing that only works if God is in absolute sovereign control of all that takes place. For instance, we all are familiar with Abraham offering his only son Isaac as a sacrifice being a picture of God sacrificing His only Son. Real people are given the privilege of acting out in their actual lives what God is going to do in the future. As David was anointed king, so too, One from His line would be God’s anointed King, who is going to rule: [Psalm 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.] Hallelujah! Of course David wasn’t a precise picture, he sinned, Jesus would not commit adultery; but still David’s life is a shadow picture of the Messiah. David was going to be king! Jesus is going to be king! But it didn’t happen straight away. There was already a king [P] – now David was a man after God’s own heart; but Saul, he stood head and shoulders above everyone else – he is the epitome of man [P] - impressive in stature, military hero, politically conniving, jealous and paranoiac. Here we are at the point of a change of dynasty! From the king that the people demanded, to the king יְהוָה delighted in. Saul came at the end of the era of the Judges [P]. After that came the reign of David – which pictures the coming reign of Jesus, the Messiah. In our family Bible time we have been doing the walk-through the Bible summary – their summary of Judges was: “cycles”. The nation would go away from God, disaster would come, they would turn back to Him and He would send a deliverer and there would be spiritual revival – for 5 minutes! The people would abandon יְהוָה and the cycle would start again. Now, I believe Jesus’ return as King is imminent! We are just before that, we are in the period of the judges [P] – look at church history and you will see it is cycles – the church becomes corrupt and worldly, then a new move, a revival, a great man of God turns people back to God, often a new denomination results; but then the cycle repeats, the life dissipates and again the church needs reviving. Just as in the time of the judges, [Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.]. There was no ruler, people doing their own thing, the people ruling according to their opinion – we call it “democracy”. Today every man does what seems good in his own eyes. Man is determined to rule. And Saul was determined to hold on to the kingdom at any cost and he saw David as a threat. David had shown nothing but loyalty, he was an amazing asset in the army. He served Saul faithfully – Saul had departed from יְהוָה rebelled; and He sent an evil spirit that tormented him. Only David could calm the insanity that overcame him. Yet despite all this, even although he was son-in-law, Saul was determined to kill David and pursued him all over the country. David was on the run! He fled the country, even there he was under threat, so he fled to a cave – the only place where he could find refuge, the cave of Adullam. [P] [1 Samuel 22:1-2 So David departed from there (“there”, being Gath) and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him (those chased by creditors, those with problems, those unhappy with the present regime, the complainers, came – what a bunch of malcontents and misfits); and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.] Down in verses 4 & 5 it refers to this cave as “the stronghold”. It was later that David found refuge in another cave at En Gedi – the one where Saul came in and he cut a bit off of his robe. David fled to Adullam, but others came to him there – the rejects of society. Now I have some fancy Bible software and it gives me pictures of the cave of Adullam [P]. But this seems a trifle lush and green; this old black and white photo [P] is more like the territory. It was in the wilderness. Away from people barren and deserted. This [P] is the region that it was in. Here is Judah [P], with the Dead sea [P] to the east. Here is Jerusalem [P], which was a Jebusite town at that time, Saul’s capital being at Gibeah [P]. To the south was Hebron [P] and Lachish [P] – and in between was the cave of Adullam [P], in the hill country of Judea. The site has been discovered about 2 miles south of the scene of David’s triumph over Goliath, and about 13 miles west from Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced with numerous caverns, some of which are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. Here are a couple of images from someone who recently went to the alleged site: the entrance [P]; and from the inside [P]. Not comfortable. You are away from people and civilization, roughing it; but safe. You have found a place of refuge! Adullam means: “a sealed off place.” There were these ones who had fled, for whatever reason, and they were sealed off from those who were after them. Sealed off from their enemy but not cut off from God – there in the cave David cried out to God, and we have his prayers preserved: [P] [Psalm 142 Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer. I cry aloud with my voice to יְהוָה; I make supplication with my voice to יְהוָה. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. (it is a prayer, an audible cry to יְהוָה [P]. He wasn’t happy about his situation, it was a complaint, he was in trouble [P], overwhelmed by it) When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me; there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O יְהוָה; I said, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. (He finds his refuge [P], not in the cave but in יְהוָה) “Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. (he is honest, tells it like it is, it is really a bit of “woe is me”, self pity) “Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Your Name; the righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me.” (but that self pity is transformed into praise [P], the problems are real but יְהוָה is his refuge and deliverer)] It is exactly the same in [P] [Psalm 57 For the choir director; set to Mikhtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by (again the refuge in יְהוָה [P]). I will cry to God Most High (again the cry to God [P]), to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His loving-kindness and His truth. My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword (again, he is in deep trouble [P]). Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; they dug a pit before me; they themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your loving-kindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. (again the self-pity is transformed into praise [P])]. That is what happens in the cave. So David found a place of refuge in the cave, and that refuge was in יְהוָה. Then people found David in the cave. All these malcontents, outcasts and misfits came to him – it made me think of us at Tedder ave! It’s not good form to insult the congregation. But look at us! We are a motley bunch! We would never be here together but for the fact of Jesus; that we are gathering to Him. And it is my prayer that this place may be a refuge, a cave of Adullam. But look who gathered there: [P] Look, you don’t live in a cave for fun! It’s a lot more comfortable at home, there has to be a reason that drives you there. His family came [P] – they were marked men because of David. Saul was after them too because through them he could get at David. So they had to flee, they fled to the cave. And we too are marked men because of Jesus – the world hates us – if it doesn’t you have to question whether you are genuinely His, because this is what Jesus said: [John 15:18-21 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of My Name, because they do not know the One who sent Me.] You live the life of Christ before people, working hard, being faithful and loyal, helping others showing kindness – you would think that people would appreciate you, but on the contrary they despise you – hated because your life is a testimony to Jesus. So you are not at home in the world, you flee to a place where you are among those you belong to, family. Then there were those in distress. [P] People came to the cave because they were in trouble. They had problems, problems so big that the only solution that they could see was to run away from it – they fled to the cave to get out of their situation that was intolerable. And why did we come to Jesus initially? – because we were in deep schtuck – we were oppressed by the devil and the consequences of our sin – we flee to Jesus for refuge. Some of you will be here because you are in distress. Others that came to the cave were in debt [P] – the creditors were after them. They had debts that they couldn’t possibly pay and so to avoid the debt collectors and possible slavery they fled to the cave. Do you know that there is not one of us here that didn’t owe a vast debt, a debt of sin that there was no possible way of ever repaying? We fled to Jesus because of our overwhelming debt. If that debt was exacted it would mean death [Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death!] Also it was the discontent who came, the grumblers. [P[ They were not happy with the current administration, they did not like the way Saul was running things. Now I am sure that we have no one here who is discontent. But are you happy with the way things are going in this nation? Are you happy that it is against the law to discipline your child in the way the Bible advocates? Are you pleased that a relationship that God calls “an abomination” is legalized and promoted? That the state financially encourages immoral relationships? Are you discontent? If not, you should be! This is what the Bible says of Lot living in a society such as ours: [2 Peter 2:7-8 He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)] We should not be happy with the rule of man, it is the rule of Jesus that we should be longing for. We don’t belong to this world – it is alien to us, Peter calls us “strangers”: [1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.] The administration of Saul is opposed to us – we are misfits. There were only misfits in the cave. You don’t go there unless you have to. If you are at home among the world, the rule of man, you are Saul’s subject – there is no need for you to flee. You sometimes hear people say of a talented or gifted person: “they would make such a great Christian”. But that is not the way it is – God takes these outcasts from society, not the great, noble, rich and gifted; and makes something out of them: [1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brothers, that not many were wise according to human standards, not many were powerful, not many were well born. But the foolish things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the strong, and the insignificant of the world, and the despised, God chose, the things that are not, in order that he might abolish the things that are, so that all flesh may not boast before God. ] If God accomplished His work through a great man, like Saul was, then that man gets the glory. But if He does it through a nobody like me, then it has to be God – He alone gets the glory: [2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthenware jars, in order that the extraordinary degree of the power may be from God and not from us.] So this bunch of outcasts was in this cave; they were on the run, they fled. But there are many caves in Israel, why this cave, the cave of Adullam? The reason was that David was there – they didn’t gather to the cave, they gathered to David! [P] He was the reason. Why are we here, because of the church, the building, the structure, the leadership? – no, we are gathering together unto Him! Jesus is the only reason we are here. They were a disparate bunch, individuals who had come, each for his own reason, and that usually a desperate one. But under David they became something – instead of a collection of malcontent individualists – David “became captain over them” [P] – they came together under His rule, under His authority – and that transformed them. He led them. The cave represented the answer to a spiritual need. Saul had the office of king and a great following. His was all the machinery of government, and God in sovereignty recognized him, but you will not find God with Saul. The Spirit had departed from Saul, it is David who is under the Spirit’s anointing, and he must go with God into the wilderness. So the cave became his headquarters. To it there found their way a band of those who were weary of existing conditions, and he became their captain. They came to Adullam in desperation, because their need was met nowhere else. David is a type of the Lord Jesus in His present rejection. Even today, multitudes are on their way to His retreat. They crave for the reality to be found where the Spirit rules. They come to Him and He owns them as His loyal band. It is a lonely way. It is always lonely to stand against the man-made system. But that nucleus, gathered to the Lord Jesus in this day of His rejection, will be very dear to Him when He comes to the throne. Let’s look at this process of transformation: As I have said, they fled to the cave, and found refuge [P] there. They were overwhelmed by circumstances; they had not got it together. They just needed out of the present situation, into a place of security – and they found it there; and it is my prayer that this fellowship will be a place of refuge from the world and its troubles – not a reliance on the place but that here you will find יְהוָה – for it is: [Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:11 יְהוָה of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.] This is a common theme in the Psalms: [Psalm 9:9-10 And יְהוָה will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of distress. And those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You do not forsake those who seek You, O יְהוָה.] And it’s not just the Psalms: [Jeremiah 16:19 O יְהוָה, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth.] – that is us! So they found refuge, but why did they come? There were many caves if you just wanted to hide out – the reason they came was David was there. They didn’t gather to the cave, they gathered to David, to the anointed leader [P] the Messiah. We don’t gather to Tedder ave or North Brighton Christian fellowship – the reason we come here is because Jesus is here! Hallelujah! Jesus is the anointed King! – the One who will rule all of creation. We gather to Him now before He takes up that throne. We are with Him in His rejection, before He returns as glorious King. Those who are loyal to Him in those early days will have special place in His Kingdom. The ragtag bunch grew – there came to be 400 of them in the cave – they were a minority but their number increased – people gathered to them – it is a picture of evangelism – people heard of the refuge that was to be found in the anointed, the good news spread. And those that came to the anointed, under His captaincy were gradually changed from desperate ones fleeing for refuge, they gained strength. Their captain knit them together. Instead of individuals they were united. They gained strength. Loyalty developed first to David and then to each other. First you flee – you are on the run, in trouble, hunted – these weren’t the pillars of society that came – they found refuge, safety from the pursuer, the accuser, the one to whom they owed debts. There was the mutual support of others – a band of misfits and outcasts became knitted together. The refuge became a stronghold. [P] Under their Captain they had been transformed. Instead of a place of escape, it became a stronghold from which they went out and did exploits – deeds that expressed their loyalty and love for their Captain: [2 Samuel 23:13-17 Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to יְהוָה; and he said, “Be it far from me, O יְהוָה, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.] They showed amazing LOYALTY – חֶסֶד, the great quality יְהוָה is looking to build in His people, because it is His own character. The cave had become a stronghold. I said that the cave of Adullam was called “the stronghold” but the cave wasn’t the stronghold that David relied upon; he came to know a far more secure stronghold – He called יְהוָה “my Stronghold” [Psalm 18:1-6 For the music director. Of David, the servant of יְהוָה, who spoke to יְהוָה the words of this song when יְהוָה delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said: “I love you, O יְהוָה, my strength.” יְהוָה is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I have taken refuge, my shield and the horn of my deliverance, my stronghold. (יְהוָה is his stronghold) I called upon יְהוָה, who is worthy to be praised, and I was saved from my enemies. The ropes of death encircled me, and streams of ruin overwhelmed me. The ropes of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my trouble I called on יְהוָה, and to my God I cried for help. He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry for help came up before His presence into His ears.] So the cave was not just sanctuary from the world, they went out and did exploits, deeds of courage. We are in a spiritual conflict, not only do we flee to Christ as our refuge; but out of love and loyalty to Him, we stand against the spiritual foes. The refuge became a stronghold – love and loyalty had been built up among these misfits, they went out and did exploits – but that raid on Bethlehem was not going to overthrow Saul’s regime – that required an army. From carrying out daring raids they were transformed into an army. [P] From the lower class and outcasts of society, David formed an army – these men formed the nucleus of David’s army. Militarism may not sit easy with us, but Scripture speaks of us being in the army of the conquering returning King. [Revelation 19:11-18 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war ….. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”] We sing: [Psalm 149:6-9 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written; this is an honour for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord! ] They are honoured – those who were with him in the cave end up being recorded among his mighty men of valour. [P] And it is those who have been loyal from the beginning, associated with Jesus in His humiliation and rejection, who will share in His glory. Jesus said: [John 15:27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.] They had been loyal to Him when He was rejected: [Luke 22:28-30 You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.] They are in the place of honour because they identified with Him in His place of suffering [Hebrews 13:13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.] Jesus said: [Revelation 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.] We may be a bunch of misfits who have fled to Jesus in desperation; but our Captain will complete the work that He has begun in us – He will knit us together into a loyal band through which He will accomplish great things – so that the excellency of the glory may be of God and not of us.