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For Cave Dwellers Only, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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June 9, 2022 7:05 am

For Cave Dwellers Only, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 9, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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Today, on Insight for Living, from Chuck Swindoll. We are convinced that when He brings us to nothing, it is to reroute our lives. Human perspective says, uh-huh, you've lost this, you've lost that, you've lost that. You have caused this, you have caused that. You have ruined this, you have ruined that. God says no, no, you're in the cave, reroute your life. Your first direction was wrong. Few things are worse than the betrayal of those you once trusted.

Whether it's a former spouse or a former boss, disloyalty hurts. Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll introduces another message in his biographical series on David. In this portion of our study, we find David on the run and hiding in a cave of all places.

He'd been betrayed, and in fact was being hunted by his adversary. The lessons we learn from that lonely hideout will help us understand how to deal with persecution today. Chuck titled his message for cave dwellers only. I'd like to address only two verses from 1 Samuel chapter 22. I'm referring to the first two verses and I'd like you to turn to them right now.

This is a unique section of scripture and that's why I'm focusing on these first two verses only. In our study of the life of David, we come to a reference where he lives in a cave for an undisclosed period of time. It's the only time this is mentioned in all the Bible, and the cave he lives in is the cave of a dullum. We're going to learn from this that those dark surroundings in our own lives, places not unlike David's cave, offer us the perfect opportunity to cry out in humility to our God and to trust him for his sustaining help. So listen carefully to 1 Samuel 22 verses 1 and 2. So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of a dullum, 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 400 men with him. This is Insight for Living. For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to insight.org. And now let's continue Chuck Swindoll's message titled, For Cave Dwellers Only. Before we get into David's life, let me talk about your life. There are some sitting in this congregation who live in a cave, not literally, but emotionally. You cannot tell by looking as to who they are that they are here. The cave is dark and it is dismal and damp. It is disillusioning.

It is lonely. And perhaps the hardest part of all is that the truth cannot be declared to anybody else because it is so desperate. In Rosemead's Journal of Psychology and Theology, there is an excellent article entitled, Self-Disclosure in Biblical Perspective.

It's by Lynn Palmberg and Onus Scandretti, done out of Wheaton it seems, and it is a very excellent summary of the pain of disclosing oneself in a local assembly. In the midst of it, Palmberg and Scandretti quote Patricia Quigley, it is nothing short of tragic that many Christians are today finding more acceptance, support, and need fulfillment in secular encounter groups than they are in their churches. Someone once said that the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. I wonder.

I wonder. At church, this author admits, I find no signs of illness in those around me, outfitted in Sunday best shoes and smiles. We talk about what we are doing, but we seldom talk about what we're feeling.

We may tell about spiritual victory, but we carefully camouflage defeats or struggles. On the Sundays, I arrive at church in acute need of spiritual healing. I feel alone and out of place in this atmosphere.

I feel like a measles-spotted child in a nursery full of healthy youngsters. Once or twice, I try to talk about my distress during a Sunday school class, but sensed a tension build around me as I describe my symptoms. When the fever of struggle or defeat hits me now, I simply remain silent and isolated from those around me who seem to know only perpetual good health. Fortunately, during my down times, I have found a company of fellow-strugglers in the Bible like David, like Job, Peter, Thomas, and Paul. They spoke honestly and movingly about their struggles. It is frustrating to know these men of the Bible better than people in my Sunday school class in church. Isn't that tragic?

All days are not up days. Some days are so low we have completely even lost our self-respect. When I was a youngster growing up, the longest time I spent in any one church was in a church that had a youth group of about a hundred. And occasionally after the church service, we would get together for a malt or a hamburger or something, and then we would go home in a few of the cars owned by some of those in the group. One young lady joined our group who had real deep, deep struggles. We found out through a chain of events that happened that her mother and dad were not living together, and the man with whom her mother was living was not her husband. And she was the oldest in a family of four or five children. She had real hurting needs, and peer group pressure is devastating even among teenagers. And that's the way it was in our group.

It wasn't free to share. Well, one evening we went to one of our deals after church, and then she was in the car that I was in driven by a fellow, and we were on our way to take her to her house. And she directed us to a rather nice section of Houston, and she said, this is close enough, I live near here. And so she almost, before we came to a stop, hopped out. Several of us sensed she doesn't live here. And we went around the corner as she walked away in the distance under the light of the lamps in the street, and I said, I'd like to follow her. I'd like to make sure she gets home okay. And so I did. I must have followed her in the shadows about a mile as we crossed over the tracks to another side of town that was without street lights, garbage strewn streets, as the wind blew those things from one hovel to another, and here in a little dingy, dirty section, she crawled into her apartment-like cave and closed the door behind her.

She had just enough pride to say, hey, this is where I live, just let me out here. But down inside, she was living in a cave. You can't glamorize a cave. Hey, and it's wrong to just study the print on the page of 1 Samuel 22 and leave saying, yeah, David was in a cave, and then he went on from there. Hey, wait a minute, he was in a cave. He had lost the major crutches of his life.

You know what they were? Remember last week, he lost his job with Saul in the army of Israel. He lost his wife who left him as a deceiver. She lived with him later, but she really wasn't with him in heart. He lost his home. He lost his counselor Samuel as he was driven from Samuel's side by Saul. He lost his closest personal friend Jonathan, and finally he lost his self-respect as he dribbled in his beard on the floor of the king of Gath, scratching on the gate like a madman. He lost his own pride, and he feigned insanity as he slipped out of the city, and that rainy night perhaps in Jeddah, shivering cold, he slid into the cave of Adullam.

It was the lowest moment of his life, and don't you forget it, you that study and love the life of David. And don't ignore it. I'm weary of the philosophy that is extant today among Christians that the Christian life is just one cloud after another, just soaring.

It is not. It includes the cave. And if you're there tonight, I say to you, it is all part of the strategy. The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment. The making of a saint is the task of a lifetime, and God isn't about to give up even when you're in a cave. He's not through even though you're the lowest you've ever been. There was no comfort and frankly there was no hope. You wonder how he felt?

Hold your place and look at Psalm 142. I want you to see his feelings. He composed a song, which I suppose musicians do better than say writing a journal. He just wrote a song. He had no security, he had no food, he had no one to listen to, he had no promise to cling to, he had no tangible anchor.

He was in a cave, alone, away from everything and everybody. And so he wrote this psalm. See the superscription, a maskil of David.

The Hebrew word, sachel, means to teach or to instruct. It's an instructive psalm and he says, may other people in the days ahead learn from my hymn that falls from my hand. While he was in the cave, he wrote this prayer and he said, I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord. I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him, I declare my trouble before him when my spirit was overwhelmed within me. Thou didst know my path.

Verse four, it's in the first person. I look to the right and see. There's nobody there. There's no one who regards me.

There is no escape for me. No one cares for my soul. Feel like that? That's the way David felt. Just say it.

Just admit it. I don't know of a soul who cares for my soul. I cried out to thee, O Lord. I said, thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Give heed to my cry. I am brought very low.

Wow, that's depressing, isn't it? Like in 1 Samuel 22, everything seemed lost. The Raymond Edmond, God bless him, during his days put together so many helpful works. One was entitled The Disciplines of Life. The chapter entitled The Discipline of Disillusionment has helped me, lately especially. How deeply does disillusionment dash to pieces our equilibrium of spirit and our expectation of heart?

We all have suffered its sting. Our high hopes like gallant galleons have sailed afar and return not at all or at best battered and broken. Our dreams like high-blown cumulus clouds reach to the very heavens but have now vanished into thin air. We had been confident beyond the slightest contradiction that the consummation of our heart's cry would be contentment, but contrary-wise there has come crisis and chaos and nothing but confusion. Like the disciples, we built our lives' expectations in the sunshine of Galilee where crowds had applauded and multitudes had been fed.

But then came Gethsemane's shadows, Golgotha's sorrow, and the silent tomb in the garden. Across the page, Edmond includes the work of Florence Willett that reads, I thank God for the bitter things. They've been a friend to grace. They've driven me from the paths of ease to storm the secret place. I thank Him for the friends who failed to fill my heart's deep need. They've driven me to the Savior's feet upon His love to feed. I'm grateful, too, through all life's way no one could satisfy. And so I've found in God alone my rich, my full supply. Now if you hear only this part of the message, you hear only half of it, I want you to feel the dampness of the cave.

Even for some who were on the mountaintop, at least imagine what it must have been like. He has nothing. Nothing. Now, since we believe in a sovereign God, we are convinced that when He brings us to nothing, it is to reroute our lives, not to end our lives.

Human perspective says, uh-huh, you've lost this, you've lost that, you've lost that, you have caused this, you have caused that, you have ruined this, you have ruined that. End your life! God says no.

No. You're in the cave. Reroute your life.

Your first direction was wrong. That's exactly what He does with David. And David hangs out no shingle. David advertises no need except to God.

He is alone in a cave, and for all he knew, nobody else knew he was there in that depressed state, away from everything. And look at what God did. Look at the challenge.

Look at what it involved. David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And look who came. When his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him. If you're a student of the life of David, you don't have to remember too hard to come to that place when in the recent past, his family didn't even know he was existing. His father did not bring him as a possible candidate for the kingship, remember that. He left him out in the field, and Samuel had to say, is this all your sons?

No. I've got a boy that keeps the sheep. He wasn't even significant to his father. And when he went to the battle and he was going to take up arms against Goliath, his brothers, Eliab and Shammah, and the others stood there, we know the naughtiness of your heart, you're here to be seen. But here he is broken at the end without crutches, and would you look, those brothers and the father and the household went down to him.

Now let me add a practical note. When you're in the cave, you don't want people around. If you've been involved in leadership very much, there are times that you can't stand to be with people.

You hate to admit it publicly, in fact, you usually don't, but it's true. Sometime you just want to be alone. And I have a feeling that 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. And that's where some of you are. It's kind of a worm theology. I am no good, I am, I am fuzzy and ugly and scratchy and et cetera, et cetera.

Nobody wants to be around me, they'll just start itching type of thing. David didn't want his family, but they came. Look at that. God brought people to David. And I'm convinced he didn't want them, but God brought them and they went to him. They crawled in the cave with him. They came to him.

Now look something else. They weren't the only ones. Strangers came.

What a group. Everyone who was in distress, the Hebrew word zuk means in distress, under pressure, under stress. So here came a body of pressured people. Second, there were those who were in debt.

Nasha means to lend on interest, to have a number of creditors. So there were those that couldn't pay their bills. And third, there were the mar nefesh, which means to be in bitterness of soul, to have been used and wronged and mistreated, been used and to have been wronged and been mistreated.

That group came. What does all this mean? Well, it means that in that day, the land was aching under the rule of Saul. Saul had overtaxed the people.

He had used them. He was a madman, given to intense depression, and they were suffering the consequences. And they couldn't stand any longer. So there were these people who were depressed and in debt and discontented, and they were malcontents. There was a cave full of malcontents. Can you imagine that? It's bad enough to be in there alone as a worm, but to have 400 more worms crawl in there with you.

Oh, that's a disease. And look at the next chapter, chapter 23, verse 13. Then David and his men, 600 it says, there are 200 more worms that have joined the camp.

They arose and departed from Keilah. And he goes on to tell stories of battle and victory in battle. Now, I want you to see something.

You wouldn't get this, but just glancing over the cave of Adullam and then zinging on to something else. I want you to see. I want you to feel it. God is rerouting the life of David. Sure, he's in the cave. Sure, he feels worthless. He feels useless. He feels mistreated. He feels misunderstood.

He's in the cave. Then his brothers come. His family comes.

And then before long, strangers begin to drop in. And I don't know how the word traveled, but before long, there were 600 people who became his ministry. See what it says? It says, he became captain.

He accepted the leadership over them. What a chore. What a task. Here is this very uniquely gifted musician working with guys that have no taste. I can just picture David trying to teach him some of the songs. They couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. You've heard of the Tabernacle Choir? This is a cave dweller choir right here. And I can't imagine, forgive me for this earthy fact, but I can't imagine how the cave must have smelled with 600 guys in the dumb thing.

What kind of place was that? That was a place of training. Do you know that these men became David's mighty men in 1 Chronicles 10, 1 Chronicles 11? It describes these men as his mighty men in battle, and they became his cabinet when he took office. He turned these lives around so that he built into them character and direction. What a crucial decision not to walk away.

He became the captain. At this point in our study of David's life, we're beginning to see the arc of his story, once a shepherd boy, and now a noble warrior who recruited mighty men to join him in battle. There's much more to this message to hear, and we urge you to join us for the next episode of Insight for Living because Chuck Swindoll will continue to describe David's respite in the cave. But keep listening right now because we'll hear a closing comment from Chuck as well.

To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. Right now, though, let me remind you that Chuck wrote a full-length biography on David. It's called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. Later in life, David made some regrettable mistakes. Even so, God maintained his affection for David.

It's a beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. And woven throughout David's remarkable life are timeless lessons that apply to anyone who's willing to apply them. That's the gist of Chuck's biography, recounting the biblical story and allowing God's wisdom to emerge. To purchase a copy of Chuck's biography on David, give us a call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash offer. Insight for Living relies on your personal support to make these daily programs, not only on your local radio station, but on a variety of channels that make learning more about the Bible easily accessed by people everywhere. This includes, of course, a smartphone app, the internet, and even a free daily devotional that comes through email. And in three weeks from now, on June 30th, we'll be closing the accounting books on another successful year of ministry.

Here's Chuck. Whenever we reach the June 30th deadline at Insight for Living, the financial goal appears daunting. It's always a test of our faith because, frankly, the gap we need to close appears, well, not like a gap, but more like a gulch. Isn't that just like our God? He's testing our faith and our confidence in Him.

For more than 35 years, He has proved Himself faithful, and He's done so through friends like you. So how do we close the gap before June 30th? Someone put it this way. He gave us an image that's hard to forget. He asked, how do you eat an elephant?

Well, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. My friend, we'll reach this goal one gift at a time. Together, as a family of loyal listeners, we can do this. Your gift of $50 or $100 or $250, perhaps even more, is all that is needed. So please, right now, pick up a pen and write down the contact information.

Let's conquer this daunting goal together, one bite at a time. Thanks, Chuck. Here's how to respond. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

That's 800-772-8888. Or you can give online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll describes the warrior David in survival mode.

That's our topic Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message for cave dwellers only was copyrighted in 1977, 1988, 1997, and 2009. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 21:07:05 / 2023-04-07 21:16:04 / 9

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