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The King and the Cave



In this message, we see David go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Ben Stuart leads us through how King David handled the crisis. Through three practical points, we discover how we can follow David’s example in handling hardship.

Key Takeaway

When you are walking through your lowest low with the entire world coming against you, you can still trust God who is walking through that with you. Sometimes the wilderness is God's way to redirect, sometimes the cave is where He forges kings. You don't have to love the darkness, but you can love the King who leads you through it. You don't have to love the beating, but you can kiss the rod of the One who carries it because you can trust His heart.

In 1 Samuel 18:1-4 David gains a friend in Saul's son, Jonathan. He gives particular articles of his clothing to David that symbolizes the power of royalty. David goes on to receive a military promotion and fame, and marries into King Saul's family. Saul becomes very jealous of David and tries to kill him twice. In chapter 19, Saul attempts to kill David again and David is forced to flee. In one day he loses his career, his home, and his wife. He would later go on to lose his mentor, his best friend, and had to seek refuge in the land of the Philistines, his enemy. He loses his safety and his self-respect. In chapter 22, we find David holed up in a cave. He would go on to spent 10 years in the wilderness. That time would define him more than anything he had previously experienced; it would forge a king.

What do we do when we go from castle to cave? When following God isn't fun anymore? When we have gone from anointed to attacked?

1) Get Honest. Look at the verbs used in Psalm 142: cry, plead, complain, tell my trouble. Are we allowed to complain to God? Yes! It's called lament! David complains to God that he has no where to go, no one even cares about him.

We can't have intimacy without honesty. We have to let sadness in if we have any hope for joy. If we don't allow ourselves to be completely honest with God, we deny the emotions that drive our actions and we are sacrificing intimacy with God, ourself, and others. Honesty and authenticity are the starting place, but we are not meant to stay there forever. Our honestly allows us to move forward.

2) Get Perspective. External circumstances cause us to reflect on what is going on internally inside of us. Through his honesty, David was able to gain perspective on where he was and start reminding himself of who God is. The cave wasn't his refuge, God was. Saul wasn't in charge, God was. David addresses God as "God Most High" which harkened back to Abraham, the father of his faith, who called God by this name when he was in the wilderness and battling earthly kings. And just like Abraham had to leave his idols, David's idols were revealed to him while he was in isolation. David had accomplished nothing on his own. The clarity of the cave applies to us as well.

God Most High rules over us.

God will fulfill his promises to us.

God will send out His covenantal, steadfast love for us. He will never let go.

3) Get Moving. David does not wait for deliverance before he starts praising God. While David is in the cave, God brings him men that will eventually become his cabinet, men willing to fight with him. When David starts to move where the Lord leads, they go with him. David lands in the forest of Hereth, which means "to cut". God was doing that exact thing to David. He was carving character into him and shaping a king. David learned to excel at the revealed things and trust that God has purposes beyond what can be seen.

Jesus took the same route. When the time had come for him to fulfill His purpose on earth, he...

Got Honest- He asked His Father is there was any other way to accomplish His purpose.

Got Perspective- Submitted to the will of His Father, which He knew was sovereign.

Got Moving- He laid down His life for us and walked toward the cross.


"Most of your unhappiness in life is due to listening to yourself rather than talking to yourself...Defy yourself, defy other people, defy the devil, defy the world, and say with this man, 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance'."

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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Scripture References

  • Psalm 142
  • Psalm 57
  • 1 Samuel 22:1
  • Psalm 22, 25, 31, 13, 42
  • Romans 8:35-39
  • John 9:1-12
  • James 1:2-5
  • Hebrews 12:7
  • Romans 15
  • Genesis 14:18-20
  • Luke 22:42
  • Philippians 2:8
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.