Recently, Adult and Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland had to deal with the COVID pandemic on a very real level. The world, our nation, our community and also our ministry have had to endure quite a bit this year.
As a ministry, we started the year off with a bang. A full campus of residents, a new construction project under way, a greatest financial year, two months in revival and the expectation of great things in store for 2020.
Then we had the tornado, COVID hit, and we lost two months of scheduled church services because of closures. We cancelled our annual dessert banquet not once but twice and our campus gets hit with the COVID virus! During times like this, when our faith is tested, we really want to ask God why?
We can find hope, and reflection in His Word brings us comfort. 1 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.
We don’t really know how long David was in the cave of Adullam, but we know he went there as a place of safety and protection. Interestingly God sends people to David in the cave, people that were in distress, in debt (financially and spiritually), and discontent. So why did these people go to the cave of Adullam? The word Adullam means Justice for the people.
Have you ever really looked at the definition of justice? Justice means just behavior or treatment; a concern for peace and genuine respect for people. Dictionary.com says it is the quality of being just, righteous, equitableness, or moral rightness.
Maybe you too have been diagnosed with COVID, or quarantined, shut up at home, and feel like you are locked in a cave away from family, friends and church. It may not feel like justice. Well, that depends on what you do while you are in the “Cave of COVID”.
One of the awesome things about reading about the life of King David is how you can reflect on the Psalms that he wrote and when he wrote them. What did David and his people do while they were in their cave of justice?
I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me,For You shall deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142
First, I believe David was on his face before God. Verse one says I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord and make my supplication. This is a prayer from a person who feels they are at the end of their rope. Can you imagine what David must have felt like, being anointed king by Samuel but then running for his life from the current king who at one point was like his adopted father. David is separated from his biological family, and unsure of where he will go next and what will happen.
Verse two says I will pour out my complaint before him I declare before him my trouble. God is looking for people that will be honest with Him. He understands our feelings and has no problem when we pour out our complaints and our concerns before Him. It is amazing how many times we think God doesn’t really know what is going on in our hearts. God knows your heart, and how you are feeling, He just asks you to fall on your face and be real with Him and with yourself.
Second, David went to his knees. Isn’t that the same as being on your face? Not exactly. In despair, David laid prostrate on his face. But as he began to feel the presence of God, he moved to his knees.
Psalm 57:1-3 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.
Do you see how David began to acknowledge God as his refuge? In the first four versus the prophet is crying out to God and ripped his clothes and plucked his hair because of the sin of the people. But then by verse five he rises to his knees and begins to worship the Lord.
Third, David moved to his feet. Psalm 34 :1-10 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me,And let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
This is one of my favorite Psalms, and was written when David was on the run and in the Cave of Adullam. Standing is a symbol of God’s salvation, deliverance, and provision. God brought you to this place of Justice. No, things have not gone the way we thought or prayed for in 2020, but God is with us. I have lay on my face and asked the Lord, “why”? Why have these things happened? But then I see His hand upon each of us and how He has supplied all of our needs…I have moved to my knees and lifted my hands to praise Him in thanks that things are not as bad as it could be. He is our Healer.
Part of maturing as a Christian is learning how to cope when you feel overwhelmed, depressed, and discouraged. Learning how to stand when it feels difficult to stand, and praising Him in spite of circumstances around you or with you.
Today, I encourage you to stand! Stand and worship the Lord, for He is worthy.