1 Samuel 21:10–22:2; Psalm 142
1 Samuel 21:10-22:210 And David arose and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?22 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.Psalm 142142 I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.5 I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
David had bottomed out. This was the lowest moment of David’s life to date, and if you want to know how he really felt, just read the song he composed during those days, Psalm 142.
Can you feel the loneliness of that desolate spot? The dampness of that cave? Can you sense David’s despair? The depths to which his life has sunk? There is no escape. There is nothing left. Nothing.
Yet in the midst of all this, David has not lost sight of God. He cries out for the Lord to deliver him. It’s here we catch sight of the very heart of the man, that inward place that God alone truly sees, that unseen quality that God saw back when He chose and anointed the young shepherd boy from Bethlehem.
David has been brought to the place where God can truly begin to shape him and use him. When the sovereign God brings us to nothing, it is to reroute our life, not to end it. Human perspective says, “Aha, you’ve lost this, you’ve lost that. You’ve caused this, you’ve caused that. You’ve ruined this, you’ve ruined that. End your life!” But God says, “No. No. You’re in the cave. But that doesn’t mean it’s curtains. That means it’s time to reroute your life. Now’s the time to start anew!” That’s exactly what He does with David.
Here he is, broken, at the end, without crutches . . . crushed in spirit. And would you look who comes to him? Those same brothers and his father along with the rest of the household. Sometimes when you’re in the cave, you don’t want others around. Sometimes you just can’t stand to be with people. You hate to admit it publicly; in fact, you usually don’t. But it’s true. Sometimes you just want to be alone. And I have a feeling that at that moment in his life, this cave dweller, David, wanted nobody around. Because if he wasn’t worth anything to himself, he didn’t see his worth to anybody else.
David didn’t want his family, but they came. He didn’t want them there, but God brought them anyway. I love it that they crawled right into that cave with him.
When God brings us to a dead end, it’s to reroute our life—not to end it.
— Charles R. Swindoll