The CAVE Story

From the sacred text of:

II Samuel 22:1-2

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.  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.

Here David becomes a leader of down and outers; nonetheless, they become mighty warriors in the army of God. They were cave dwellers and misnomers sharing in a triad of this common ground: Everyone was in distress, in debt, and bitterly discontented! They shared one other commonality: they all threw their lot in with David because they figured they had nothing else to lose.

“Everyone who was in distress… This word implies, “to be narrowed off.” It’s the feeling of being backed into a corner with nowhere else to go. It is when your back is up against the wall and you’re forced to make decisions you don’t want to make. It is the experiencing the panic when you know it’s either sink or swim and you already feel like you’ve been drowning.  It’s the pressure you feel when someone is trying to squeeze you into a mold you know you will never adapt to. It is the anxiety experienced when you know you are at your wit’s end or at the end of your rope! Have you ever felt the stress of never being able to measure up to someone’s expectations? Of not being allowed being you? Or feeling like you have to apologize to someone for everything you do or say? Distress! These are the nomads that gathered around David.

This word is also used for a strait, i.e., a narrow passage of water connecting two seas. It means to be placed in such a tight narrow predicament you doubt your ability to navigate your own way out.

Distress is also translated, “anguish.” David writes, “Trouble and anguish have overtaken me” (Psalm 119:143). It means to be “overtaken” or taken over by anguish; which is, “severe mental suffering leading to physical or mental pain.”

TranslationAll those who were in a very narrow predicament [ready to lose their minds if something didn’t change] and at the end of their rope, with nowhere else to go, and with nothing else to lose, gathered together with David at The CAVE!

“Everyone who was in debt…” This word debt , in the original Hebrew goes far beyond trying to keep up with a monthly car payment or mortgage installments. It is the type of indebtedness one experiences when they’ve incurred multiple maxed out credit cards with exorbitant interests rates of 21% and beyond! Not only that, it also connotes “being exacted by usury.” This not only means owing money but also being hounded daily by bill collectors demanding or insisting immediate payment or they will sue.

Have you ever been so up to your ears in debt you were constantly plagued in your mind because you didn’t know how you were ever going to pay it back? Those who met with David in the cave were overwhelmed by debt!

Perhaps the closest one can get to expressing the insurmountable debt these who came to David were experiencing is pawn shops or advanced payday loan shops. These people were doing any thing they could to survive and barely keeping their head above water. They were “robbing Peter to pay Paul” so to speak.

Translation: All those who were overwhelmed in insurmountable debt, barely getting by, not knowing how they were going to ever pay back all they owed,[pawning and selling their valuables just to get by], came with empty pockets to meet with David in The CAVE.

“Everyone who was discontented…”  This word in the original Hebrew is one of the most interesting. It is found in Exodus in an earlier narrative when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and “found no water” ( 15:22). When their parched mouths finally found some water they were sorely disappointed for it left a bitter taste in their mouths. They arrived expecting a time of refreshment but instead it turned out literally to be a bitter experience. So they called the water “Marah” in Hebrew meaning, bitter. This is the exact word used in our text for, “And everyone who was discontented.

It is the place and time in your life when you thought you finally arrived only to have it end in bitter disappointment. Have you ever thought all your prayers were being answered only to find out in actuality nothing turned out the way you planned? Have you ever been in a relationship you thought was the plan of God but later discovered it was more a plot from Satan? Have you ever had someone who once “sang your praises” turn against you and spread damaging malicious gossip against you? Have you ever achieved a goal by climbing up the ladder to the echelon of success only to have someone the pull rug out from underneath your feet? This was David’s unplanned experience when he fled from the contentment of the palace to bitter disappointment in the cave.

The palace under King Saul is analogous of entertaining the false notion if I get this, or have that, I will finally be happy and totally satisfied; only to find what you thought you wanted burn up in a rubble of ashes and smoke.  It is expecting to drink the of the refreshing cold water of another success only to end up on the list of another failure. It is to come to an oasis with  parched lips after a long awaited delay, during a desert period in life, only to discover it was only a mirage of false expectations. It is to reach the pinnacle of what religion markets as true spirituality – to belong to their, “I Have Arrived Club,” but it leaves nothing but a dissatisfying and bitter taste in your mouth.

Translation:  All those who were disappointed, dissatisfied , disengaged and let down from a terribly bitter experience, (in which they once felt they were on top of the world but now left crushed, wounded and broken), in which they now feel they are at the very bottom and at the end of their rope, came and met with David at The CAVE.  


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