The Cry from a Cave

The Cave of Adullam was no Holiday Inn. It was a wicked refugee camp . . . a dark vault on the side of a cliff that reached deeply into a hill. Huddled in this clammy cavern were 400 losers—a mob of miserable humanity. They came from all over and wound up all together. Listen to the account: Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered . . . . There were about four hundred men. (1 Samuel 22:2)

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Think with Discernment, Part Two

Discernment is essential. Undiscerning love spawns and invites more heresy than any of us are ready to believe. One of the tactics of survival when facing “the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16) is to make certain we have cinched up the belt of truth rather tightly around ourselves. And what helps us do battle with the enemy also strengthens us in relationships with friends.

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In Times of Blessing

Psalm 149 is one of five “praise the Lord” psalms that conclude the Hebrews’ ancient hymnal. Like the other four, it begins with the command “Hallelujah!” leading to a time of exalting God’s goodness. In this case, the people of God are summoned to praise Him in response to three different situations: times of blessing, times of suffering, and times of warfare.

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Confessing Despair

In David’s dark song of depression, recorded as Psalm 142, the king confesses his deepest feelings of isolation and despair. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. (142:3) David feels enveloped or wrapped up in his depression, so much so his spirit feels faint and feeble.

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Opening to God

The raw emotion of David’s prayer in Psalm 142 comes through clearly in his choice of words. In his Cave of Adullam, the beleaguered future king struggled with depression and shrieked heavenward. I used to wonder why we ever needed to utter words in prayer since God already knows all our thoughts (Psalm 139:4). Then one day I stumbled across Hosea 14:1–2.

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Crying Aloud from the Darkness

David’s depression most likely resulted from an unusually long period of stress. The superscript for Psalm 142, identifying David’s circumstances as “in the cave,” probably refers to the cave of Adullam. To appreciate the context, observe the first two verses of 1 Samuel 22: 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.

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An Abysmal Cave

Who hasn’t struggled with those demoralizing seasons of dark sadness? Everyone suffers from grief and sorrow from time to time. But depression is a different matter. Like a disease, it’s very common, but it’s not “normal.” Depression is an extended state of mind characterized by acute sadness that most likely will not go away by itself. It needs attention.

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Rejoice in God

David’s desert song, Psalm 63, contains a decision he hoped would enhance his relationship with the Lord: he decided to rejoice in God. But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth. They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes. But the king will rejoice in God;

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Meditation and Singing

In his wilderness experience, David made five decisions that would deepen his connection with God. First, he decided to imagine the Lord’s physical presence. Then he decided to express praise for God out loud. His third decision is to devote himself to a mental discipline many in the twenty-first century do not clearly understand: meditation. He decided to meditate on the Lord (63:6).

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Satisfaction in Praise

David’s lonely wilderness sanctuary left him thirsty and hungry, not only for food, but for meaningful interaction with his God (Psalm 63:1–2). As his song continues, David describes a second decision he made to cultivate a relationship with the Lord: he decided to express praise to the Lord (63:3–5). Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.

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