David was facing an extreme trial as he was on the run from King Saul. He likely was aware of and reflected on a prayer Moses had years earlier offered to the Lord:
13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight…14 And He (the Lord) said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” …17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:13-14, 17 NKJV
God had anointed David as the next King of Israel, but King Saul was not about to let that happen. In blatant defiance of God, Saul made a great effort to track down David to kill him.
David was forced on a trail of escape across large portions of southern Israel, Philistia, and Moab. After first fleeing to the prophet Samuel and temporarily returning to Saul, David was forced to flee again, this time to the tabernacle at Nob. Here he met with the high priest, Ahimelech, and obtained showbread to eat and Goliath’s sword for defense.
Then, things got even more bizarre for David. He ended up in Gath of the Philistines, the home town of the giant, Goliath, who David had slain. When the king of Gath got suspicious, David was forced to pretend he was mentally ill and harmless. Then things heated up again, he was forced to flee once more, ending up hiding in a cave in Adullam.
We know what David was thinking and feeling in the cave of Adullum, for his contemplations are recorded in a Psalm he wrote there, Psalm 142:
5 I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I. Psalm 142:5-6 NKJV
David was at a low point, helpless before God, and totally dependent upon Him for survival. In his powerlessness, David developed a powerful faith and reliance upon God and a further strengthening of his own character.
Like Moses before him and the apostle Paul after him, David’s special relationship with the Lord did not prevent him from enduring fiery trials. In fact, some people find that their trials in life may increase once they choose to follow the loving call of the Lord. But God is faithful, and will not allow us to take on trials or temptations beyond what we are able to bear.
Both Moses and David had been tending sheep before God’s call. All was going “well” in that season of their life, but God called them to take on new and challenging roles of tremendous spiritual impact and eternal significance. Both Moses and David would find the cost of spiritual duty to be high, but God used each difficult experience to build their faith and to strengthen them for greater service and effectiveness.
There is spiritual opposition in God’s creation, and it may very well make its presence known in our lives. But as we see in these Biblical accounts, any threats will be countered by a much greater and stronger Presence of the Lord.
God holds us in His hand even while the arrows of evil are attacking us from every side. David certainly had times when he felt surrounded and alone – Psalm 142 spells that out. But the God Who Knows our Name will never leave us alone nor forsake us. He will bring us a peace and a rest in His Presence. David’s spiritual joy can be seen throughout the many Psalms of praise that he and others wrote, which lift us up and bring us encouragement as we read them in the Bible.
When we take time to be in God’s Presence, resting where He wants us to be, we know He will bring us peace, serenity, and a freedom from fear and anxiety. We begin to experience true joy in life.
We are transported into God’s Presence by the Power of the Holy Spirit, given to us when we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts. Do you know Jesus today?
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you, comfort you, and bring you peace as you invite Him into your heart and His rest in His Presence today.