“And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him.” 1 Samuel 22:2.
David had found himself on the run. King Saul was jealous of him and felt that his position as king was under threat (and perhaps for good reason). And so David fled for the mountains. There he found a cave. In these mazes of gorges and myriad of caves, he finally found some space and solitude, to regain some composure, catch his breath, consider his options…perhaps sit with God.
I dunno how long his location was hidden for, but like moths to light, all these men – complete strangers - began to come to him. I liken them to “hearts on the run.” And what’s more, we can all relate to them in one way or another.
- Some were in distress. Life had dealt them a poor hand. And so they were outsiders; and perhaps thru no fault of their own. They were isolated and alone. Whatever it was that caused their distress, it also caused them to run.
- Some were in debt. They were in strife with the law, or had fallen upon hard times and dealt with unjustly. Whatever the case, they must’ve been “up to their eyeballs,” and so they ran.
- Some were bitter. Life was unfair. People had treated them unfairly. They were nursing an injury, and harbouring pain. Where could they turn? So they ran…out into the wilderness.
David himself could’ve related to all of them. Having a king try to kill you would’ve caused distress. Having the law hunt you down like a wild dog in the wilderness meant you were indebted. Having to hide in caves like a wild animal made life back in the sheepfold seem like heaven. He was the champion of the nation after all he had done in battle, and this is the thanks he gets?! He had every right to be bitter!
And so here they all converged; these “hearts on the run.” And like them, whether you and I are distressed, indebted, or bitter, we need to find that quiet place of sanctuary. It may be in a cave all on your own with God. It may be in a cave with 400 other running hearts where you are a source of strength and godly encouragement to each other. But most of all, allow the cave to be the sanctuary to seek and meet with God, to catch your breath, regain strength, composure, peace and wisdom, and to rest your soul. It is your hiding place. God is your hiding place.
David did; he sought God. Do you want to hear his inner thoughts offered to God in those cave-dwelling moments? Read Psalms 57 & 142. Maybe they are the words you need today if you find your heart running thru distress, debt or bitterness. Go ahead; I encourage you to look them up for yourself. Then sit and soak them in.
Find sanctuary in Him, my fellow “hearts on the run.”