1 Samuel 22:1-2
READ: 1 Samuel 22:1-2
[Describe scene: David on the run – the cave – the ragtag band of
men day by day joining him.]
1. Adullam’s Cave is a Picture of the Church
The name Adullam likely comes from a Hebrew word that means
“refuge”. And this place for David and the men who came to him
certainly did come to be a “cave of refuge”.
Men came to him from everywhere. 400 of them at this point …
- Everyone who was IN DISTRESS
- Everyone who was IN DEBT
- Everyone who was DISCONTENTED
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
They came to the cave …
a) For protection
b) For training
c) For a cause
2. God Wants to Turn the “Are Nots” into an Army
- Stories of David’s 400 mighty men are legendary (recount some in
- These great men started out like "the dirty dozen". (Misfits and
outcasts) But David welded them into a fiercesome fighting force.
- This is Ezekiel’s vision! An army comes to life.
(God taught David the leadership he would need to lead the nation
while he was here in this cave leading 400 men.)
3. Each Man Had a Choice to Make
It was a choice to lay down the past.
a) The DISTRESSED had to move on to freedom. The word distressed
here literally means “someone who is oppressed, particularly
oppressed by an enemy”. The hounded came to David at Adullam’s Cave,
and he took them in. They had a choice to make – they could keep on
running from the enemy who was pursuing them, or they could take
their stand in the Cave of Adullam with David and 400 men just like
Now to me it doesn’t sound like a hard choice! It’s a “no-brainer”,
right?! Who wants to live life in distress? Who wants to be hounded
by an oppressing enemy? But it is incredible how some people don’t
want to give up the oppressions of the enemy! The devil has a
foothold, and if the truth be known, we like the foothold he has! We
hold on to our sin – we prolong our bondages.
If God has delivered you from the bondage of oppression, you need to
fill your life with new things! Godly things. “Whatever things are
true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever
things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of
good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything
praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The battle begins in your mind, whatever you’re dwelling on is going
to control you. The Bible says to “take every thought captive to the
obedience of Christ.” You’re a new creation – fill your life with
new things; new thoughts, new ways, new standards, new priorities.
If you remain idle, and hanker back after old ways, that old bondage
will return seven times stronger than before.
You’ve got to hate that oppression. Run to God for once-and-for-all
deliverance. No turning back. Get away to the Cave of Adullam – be
with God’s people (in the victory camp) – let God make you into a
soldier and weld you into His army.
b) The INDEBTED had to trust the God of the cave. David had nothing
to offer them, but they forged a community where each were equally
committed to one another. They looked to God together. Sounds an
awful lot like the church in Acts chapter 2. Listen to the
description (Acts 2:44-45): “Now all who believed were together, and
had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods and
divided them among all, as anyone had need.” There weren’t too many
wealthy people, just common folk, they hardly had two cents to rub
together – but what they did have they used to look after each
c) The DISCONTENTED had to find rest. People came to David who were
not satisfied with the status quo of the kingdom. Not satisfied with
serving under a king who was not hearing from God and was leading
the nation in disobedience to the direction of the Lord through
They came to David to find a future and a hope. That cause worth
fighting for. A destiny together.
And God mightily gave them that. But, you know, life with David
wasn’t all fun and games. It was difficult. I mean, apart from the
very real threat of attack by Saul, just living day to day each man
found that he was surrounded by 400 men distressed, in debt, and
discontented. It took time for them to become an army.
Some people move from church to church because of discontentment.
There may be a time that God calls you out of one place to another
for a very good reason, but if it’s just a case of moving around to
find the “perfect church” – guess what? Your search will never end!
EVERY church is an Adullam’s Cave! Full of people who have come
there because of their distress, their debt and their discontent.
It’s time to throw in your lot in the Cave of Adullam—where God’s
people are, even if it isn’t perfect—and let God build an army right
David wrote Psalm 34 while he was here at Adullam’s Cave. On the run
from mad king Saul – hold up in a cave with all these needy men
coming to him. I’m sure he felt vulnerable many times, but he
strengthened himself in God, and he wrote these words - Psalm 34:6-7
“This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out
of all his troubles. The Angel of the LORD encamps all around those
who fear Him, and delivers them.”
God was with him.
“The Angel of the LORD” in the Old Testament speaks of God’s
visiting presence with His people – specifically the “Angel of the
LORD” was the second person of the Trinity: the SON. The One who
would centuries later be born in Bethlehem. It was Jesus. “The Angel
of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers
Are you trusting in God today? Jesus Christ is encamped all around
you! He said: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
And what’s more He gives His angels charge over you – they’re camped
around you too. “…ministering spirits sent out to minister for those
who will inherit salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14).
How many of you have ever wished to see Jesus? Or ever wished to see
an angel? Well, they’re not often seen, but they’re there! God’s
Word says they are. You only need Jesus – but all His angels are
with us as well.
But you know sometimes I’m like the little girl who was frightened
by a great storm in the middle of the night, and she called out to
her daddy in the next room. Her daddy came in and said: “Why are you
afraid, don’t you know that God is with you and He’ll take care of
you?” And she said, “Yes daddy, I know God loves me and He’ll take
care of me, but right now I need someone with skin on to love me!”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need “someone with skin on
to love me”. I don’t doubt God’s presence for one moment – never
have. I trust Him that things are going to work out. But there’s
moments that I need to hear an audible voice tell me it’s going to
be OK – to feel a physical embrace. And that’s where YOU come in.
The church … God’s love with skin on!
David was hiding from Saul in a cave. Hard times. But He knew (he
wrote songs about it) that God was with him – and God’s angelic host
was with him – and then there were these most precious angels: the
400 men who came to him from everywhere. Distressed, in debt,
discontented they came. And they camped around about David. Why, he
needed them as much as they needed him. He was training them, but
they were strengthening him.
That is the church. It’s not a building we go to. It’s not a meeting
we attend. It’s not a club we join. It’s an army God is welding
together, to stand strong shoulder-to-shoulder in every circumstance
of life. Protecting, encouraging, supporting.
It’s Adullam’s Cave.
But you and I have to make a choice. That we will turn away from our
life on the run from the oppressing enemy. That we will trust God
for His full provision – living alongside others who are also
trusting God. Encouraging one another – sharing whatever blessing we
have with each other. And it’s time to give up your discontentment –
searching for that one place where everything will go your way, and
you won’t have a care in the world. Adullam’s cave is not a picnic.
The church is not a Rose Garden. But it’s God’s provision for you,
and it’s so much better than every alternative. And in the local
church – in this church – God will weld together an army for His
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