He was the man who would be king but, for now, was a fugitive. The man who had been promised the throne, but who now set up court in a cave. And from there he would build his army.
We know David is a type, a picture, of the Son of David, Jesus the Christ. We know that the promise made to David, of a forever throne to be forever inhabited (2Sam. 7), points to Him born of the line of David who, one day, will be confessed by all to be King of kings and Lord of lords. But what was hard to grasp for all those who awaited the promise of a kingdom come, was that before the throne there must be a cave. Before the glory, humility. Before ruling in sovereignty, experiencing suffering. Before wearing the crown, enduring the way of the cross.
And what grabs me this morning is the army that David built. The material out of which he would form his “mighty men” (2Sam. 23:8).
David 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. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
(1Samuel 22:1-2 ESV)
Those in distress. Those in debt. Those bitter in soul, or as the other translations render it, discontent. Those were the ones who gathered to David.
In distress. In dire straits. Trapped in a narrow place. Oppressed with no seeming way of escape. In bondage with no hope of breaking loose of their chains on their own. Desperate, they flee to the cave and to the man who would be king.
In debt. Owing a price they could never pay. Their creditors ready to extract usury at an exorbitant rate. Extortioners who effectively demand their lives in order to service their debt. Without means, they flee to the cave.
Discontent. Bitter in soul. Exasperated under the tyranny of an unjust ruler. Trapped in a no-win situation. Waking every morning to inner turmoil, turning out the lights at night with no hope in sight. Looking for rest, they flee to the cave.
Distressed, in debt, discontent. Oh my!
Those where the types of people who found solace in a cave under the leadership of a man who would be king, but who looked anything but a king.
And he became commander over them.
So, if David is a type of Jesus, then are those who fled to David reflective of those who flee to Jesus? I’m thinking.
I am the distressed, in debt, and discontent who goes to Jesus “outside the camp” to “bear the reproach He endured” (Heb. 13:12-13).
Distressed. In dire straits, cornered by sin. Desiring to do what is right but without the power to carry it out (Romans 7:18).
In debt. Unable to atone for the guilt. Unable to service the usury of shame demanded. No way of redemption in myself. Needing another to deal with the wages of my sin.
Discontent. A soul designed to bear the image of its Creator but without the ability to do so. Eternity wired into my heart but powerless to procure it. Always off balance. A thirst beyond satisfying with anything on earth.
But when I found the cave . . .
When, by God’s grace, I believed in the One who would be King and found refuge in the shadow of His cross . . .
Then, like that rag tag bunch of David’s day, this member of the distressed, in debt, and discontented was received into the ranks of a glorious band, to be made into a great army, known forever as His mighty men and women.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
(1John 5:4-5 ESV)
Praise God for the King who invites us to Himself in the cave.
By His grace. For His glory.