As we stop taking our kids to sports, stop going to the gym, stop socializing in restaurants, and as restrictions continue to confine us to life under our own roof, it may not be too long until you feel like David, living in a cave, and on the run from Saul.
If you do think you feel like David, it may also be a good idea to ask yourself about the mindset of David while he was bunkered down. Thankfully, this is not left to our imagination because David wrote it out for us in Psalm 57 – “A Miktam of David When he Fled from Saul in a Cave.” Though our current situation is very different from David’s, there is much we can learn from his response.
David’s refuge is not in his cave.
The title of David’s Psalm gives us the context of where David has to reside. It helps us to know that he was there because of a threat to his life, but it does not mean that the cave was David’s security in his life. David does not say, “In the cave I take refuge.” He says, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (57:1).
David’s God is not out of touch.
For someone living out the threat of an enemy in a cave, it might be tempting to think that the God of heaven is somehow disconnected from his situation. This is not the case for David. He knows God is the Most High God, but he also knows that the sovereign purposes of his God personally relate to him. “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for ME.” (57:2). In David’s case, he was anointed by God to take the throne of Israel and was confident that God would work out His sovereign will to completion.
David doesn’t forget his priority in the midst of reality.
In verse four of this Psalm, David describes his reality as he talks about feeling like he is in the midst of lions and feels the heaviness of weapons, hatred, and speech pointed directly at him. Even so, we don’t find David dwelling in introspective self-pity or concerning himself most with his own physical well-being. David’s priority in life is not himself. David immediately defines his priority in his very next words. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (57:5). In the midst of a difficult reality, exalting God is David’s priority.
David encourages himself to respond according to his priority.
While David still acknowledges the danger around him, he also knows that God will inevitably have the final word (v. 6). Knowing this truth, David’s heart is steadfast according to his priority (v. 7). If David had finished this Psalm with the words in verse seven, “My heart is steadfast, O God,” we might never have considered that this Psalm still required something extra. According to where David finds his refuge and knows his priority, he rouses himself to act in consistency with the truth he believes. “Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!” (57:8). It is as if David is saying to himself, “Wake up and get your instruments and stop sitting in the dirt. Your God is your refuge and your priority, and he is faithful in his purposes. It’s time to sing!”
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth.” (57:9-11).
Where is your refuge? Who is your priority? And how are you preaching to yourself that it may be lived out and prominent in your life in front of your family, your friends and anyone else who is able to look inside your cave?
Let us all, like David, exalt our God.