WHEN A CAVE BECOMES A RECOVERY CENTER (Sermon) 7-8-07
WHEN A CAVE BECOMES A RECOVERY CENTER
1 Samuel 22:1 David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. 3 Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4 So he brought them before the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Now the prophet Gad said to David, Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah. So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Introduction: If you are a student of scripture, at this point in David’s history we realize that he had been anointed the next King of Israel, but not appointed. For a long period of time, Saul remained as King of Israel and became very jealous of David and did his best to eliminate David from the scene altogether. Saul was living in wickedness, rebellion and the blessing of God had departed from his life and so David was a major threat to his security as King of Israel. But David had something that Saul did not have and that was the favor of God and patience in waiting for God’s timing in putting him on the throne of Israel.
David even had opportunities to take the life of Saul and one time cut off a piece of Saul’s garment to show he could have done so. The thing that set him apart was that not only did he not take the life of Saul, but he felt guilty for cutting the piece of garment:
1 Samuel 24:5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. 6 And he said to his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.
We see and understand why David was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Really at this point, most of David’s running as an outlaw and fugitive was just beginning. He did not become frustrated or angry with God, but continued to remain faithful to Him even in the worst of circumstances and situations. As I was reading this portion of scripture, there was just something about it that jumped out at me and it spoke to my heart, so I want to share it with you today.
It says in vs. 2 that “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.”
How ever you define “Distress,” “Debt,” and “Discontent,” it all boils down to a people who were frustrated with no end in site. But one thing they found in David was hope for a better future.
The other thing that I saw was a people who had left their homes, leaving everything to follow a man who had made a cave his home. How was David suppose to help them and he was living in a cave? Can I dig right into this? Sometimes our worse condition is still “Better” to others. In other words there are times when the need of others will out weigh our own personal concerns.
Isn’t it amazing that because of no fault of your own that you find yourself needing, desiring, calling for help yourself and God will send someone who needs and ask something of you. Now you have to make a move on their behalf…take care of them and put your stuff on the shelf. You can’t cry about it, can’t complain about it, all you can do is get their need met.
What I am trying to get across is there are times when our caves become another’s deliverance. You can’t explain it, it won’t make since, friends won’t understand; but you know in the pits of your heart that it is the right thing to do and it is the godly thing to do.
I realize that we live in a selfish and self serving world. Most people are looking out for number one. Greed has become an overwhelming blockage to joy, peace and happiness. “Enough,” is one of those things that is hard to define. But when reality comes knocking at the mouth of your cave, and you know that God is speaking to your spirit…the only thing to do is rescue those who are in distress, in debt and discontented. We have a promise form God:
Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.
Phil 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The word “Adullam” means justice of the people, or retreat.
For a while David had been alone, but at this moment in his life he gathered people around him. The first to come were “his brothers and all his father’s house” (v. 1). There was a unity in the family that made this a natural move, but they were also now in danger from Saul who would attack them simply because they were David’s family.
The second group that was drawn to David were people who came to him because of common troubles. They had been made into a family not by blood ties, but by suffering similar problems. While the one-sentence description in the text is not complete, it paints a clear picture of David’s four hundred men as “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented” (v. 2). They had made Saul King but that had not solved all their problems and had probably created some new ones, and these were the people caught in the social confusion. It is easy to see why they accepted David as their captain.
This group looked nothing like the elite unit that David had commanded for Saul, but they made a contribution to his preparation for being King. First, they taught him the problems of the common people. Had he stayed in the palace, eating with the King and enjoying the company of the prince, he would have never been able to understand the people who came to him. When people suffer they discover others who are suffering and are able to communicate with them at a deeper level than is ever possible for those who have not shared the experience.
If you have ever gone through surgery…you can talk to others who are about to go through. If you have ever had to deal with a disease…you know how God can heal. If you have ever had to live in government housing and God has given you a house…you can testify that God is able. If at a time in your life the only limousine you could afford to ride in was a VIA bus…you prayed for a car and not only did God give you the car, but He also gave you money to put to gas in it too; you have a story you can tell. All I am trying to say is that God can take your cave situation and turn it into a “Recovery Center.”
A second contribution the four hundred made was that they forced David to develop leadership skills that would serve him well during the years he was King. If David could mold these men into a well-ordered fighting unit, he could lead anyone. He took the distressed, the indebted and the discontented and made them into an army. David’s preparation to lead the nation began with the four hundred.
Knowing the danger to his parents and their inability to be a part of a wandering band of warriors, David asked the king of Moab for permission to leave them with him. Moab was on the other side of the Dead Sea, to the east of Palestine. The Moabites were related through Ruth, who was David’s great-grandmother. Making arrangements for his parents’ safety was David’s first effort at political negotiation with another country, and it was the beginning of the development of diplomatic skills that would later help him to protect Israel’s borders by making treaties with her neighbors. If we will allow them to be our teachers, very few of life’s experiences will ever be wasted.
Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Notice what David said in v 3: “Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me.”
David knew that God had more for him than a cave. He knew that this was a temporary situation, that one day he would live in a palace. He also knew that his life was not in the hands of Saul. Nor was it going to be a life filled with the distressed, the indebted or the discontented. At this point in David’s life, this was his assignment. This was a kindness that would paid to David by God.
Luke 6:31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
5 Now the prophet Gad said to David, Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah. So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
No information is given about the identity or history of “the prophet Gad.” But it was this prophet who told David not to stay in his “stronghold.” David, your cave clinic is now closed. The Bible said that David departed and went into the forest of Hereth. This forest was for David a place of refuge. It was a place of rest from Saul. This passage shows us that when we help others to recover, God will bring us to our recovery. There is a place of rest and refuge.
Heb 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Heb 6:10 (Amplified) For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do. 11 But we do [strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end, 12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their learning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises.
Perhaps there are some here today that have been discouraged, disillusioned, frustrated and hurt. You may be thinking that you need to find some one that can help you recover. The reality is that just maybe you might need to help some one else to recover. While you are helping some one else…wait till you know what God will do for you!!!
David was a type of Christ…but there is no one like Christ. If you are not saved by His blood, I invite you to be a member of His Recovery Center.