Read Psalm 57:1-11
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
This psalm is a song for cave-dwellers, as you’ll notice in the title: “A psalm of David A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.”
At this point in his life, David had expected to be king with a kingdom, but instead he ended up in a cave hiding from another king, Saul. And this wasn’t just an overnight stay; the cave became his home for a spell—months, if not years—and with no prospect that it would ever be different.
David had run into the cave to escape Saul, but the thing is, he ran right into God. That’s what happens in caves. And though the cave was the most frustrating experience of David’s life, in hindsight, it turned out to be the most fruitful. You see, the cave became the place of testing and separation and forging for David, until, as an unknown poet has said, he was, “pressed into knowing no helper but God.”
Pressed into knowing no helper but God—that’s what happened in the cave, and that’s the one thing David was going to need if he were to be a great king.
By the way, it was there in the cave that David wrote three of his most moving psalms—Psalms 34, 142, and our psalm for today, Psalm 57. So I would like to make an observation from each of these three psalms that are especially relevant if you are in a “cave” of your own right now:
To begin with, if you’re in the cave, look up—God is there! In his cave, David penned Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The cave is where a brokenhearted David came into a profound experience of the God of the brokenhearted. And so will you if you’ll look for God there.
Next, if you’re in the cave, speak up—God is listening! Talk to God, he can handle it! That’s what David did, and it was great therapy. In his cave, David wrote these words in Psalm 142:1-2, “I cry aloud to the Lord…I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.” If you’re complaining about your cave to everyone else but God, you’re missing a great opportunity to talk to the only one who can do something about it. So try talking to him!
Finally, if you’re in a cave, toughen up—God is at work! Embrace your cave; God’s purpose is being served there. He’s teaching you, like David, how to “king it!” In the cave, David wrote Psalm 57:2, “I cry out to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” Don’t short-circuit the cave—you’ll miss God’s purpose!
If you are in a cave right now, I want to encourage you not to worry. God’s got a lot of experience with caves. You see, he’s been there! The Son of David, Jesus, was put in a cave. When he died, they buried his lifeless body in a cave, and it looked like the cave would be his permanent resting place! But what his enemies didn’t know was that God does his best work in caves, because the cave is where God resurrects dead stuff! A cave was where a dead Messiah became a Risen Savior—and the cave is where your dead dreams or dead ministry or dead career or dead marriage will take on resurrection life.
I don’t know about your cave—how deep and dark and devastating it is—but I do know that God works in caves! David ran into his cave looking for refuge, and he found resurrection.
And you will too. So just hang in there—look up, speak up, and toughen up—resurrection is coming!
“There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing –
that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past
God and past Christ right through to me.”