Maschil of David: Victory at the Cave of Adullam

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The Maschil of David: Victory at the Cave of Adullam

As Christians, we spend a lot of our time fighting the adversary of our soul, the devil.  As a matter of fact, the bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this word, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Ephesians 6:12. It’s called fighting the good fight of faith.  David faced insurmountable odds in his life.  The bible records opposition after opposition, battle after battle, and struggle after struggle.  It’s enough to make us all want to run for refuge at times.

After the Spirit of God had departed from Saul and he was rejected as king of Israel, there was a constant attack from Saul toward David.  Saul deliberately tried to place David in situations where he would be destroyed by his enemies, but David returned time after time with victory because God was always with him.  David, the man who was anointed of God was under attack by the one who had lost the anointing.  Did you know that the majority of the persecution Jesus and His disciples faced were from Pharisees and religion?  As Christians, Satan will stop at nothing to keep true blue anointed men and women of God driven completely away from the place they can impact the world for Christ.

Because of Saul’s compromising lifestyle, Satan was able to seize the throne of Israel.  Now that Satan has the throne, he attempts to drive the next king away from the throne in order to secure the kingdom of God and attempt to oppress Israel as he did in Egypt, only now he will accomplish it in their own land.  Satan does not care how he binds you, as long as you are bound.  He does not care how he oppresses you, as long as you are not walking in victory.

The Cave of Adullam

In 1 Samuel 22, we read how David runs as far from Saul as he can run.  He comes to the cave of Adullam.  This chapter does not record the prayer David prayed while in the cave, but Psalm 142 reveals to us the prayer that was prayed.

The cave of Adullam may have seemed like a strange place to flee to.  In our distress, we find ourselves running to that place where we feel we are safe and the enemy cannot get to us.  Even though the Adullam cave was cold and dark, Saul was not able to ambush him there from behind.  The cave had only one entrance and exit.

Satan pressures many people to flee in their time of distress.  These times of attacks are in many occasions, the places where people give up on living for God.  There’s one thing for certain, if you live for God, there will be times where the enemy will scream, growl, taunt, and attempt to bring fear to you simply because you are barging in on his territory.  We have all been in those places where we have allowed Satan’s attacks to drive us into places of refuge to flee from him.  But in those times of distress, we do not have to give in and give up on serving God.  These are the times where need God more than ever.

May I say today brothers and sisters that a lot of times we run to the point where we can run no longer; no further.  When we get to that point, the devil makes us feel as though we are cornered.  Can you imagine David running into the deepest part of the cave?  He is now cornered.  He is now trapped.  He is now closed in and about to cave in.

David possibly ran as far into the cave as he could get.  Once he found the innermost wall, he clearly falls to his knees in prayer to God.  1 Samuel 22 does not reveal to us what David did while he was in the cave.  However, David reveals to us in the Psalms what he did.  He prayed to the Almighty God of Heaven.  Psalm 142 is the prayer David prays while in the cave.

Maschil of David

First of all, let us say a few things about this Psalm.  The fact that it is found in the book of Psalms obviously tells us that it was evidently set to music or sung as a melody.  But there’s much more to this Psalm.  Notice it is called a “Maschil” of David.  There are 13 Maschils in the Psalms.  Psalm 32, 42, 44, 45, 52, 53, 54, 55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142 being the last.  The word “Maschil” means “instructive”, that is, a didactic poem.  Didactic means “intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive.” This means that the Psalm is meant as much for teaching as it is for singing.  It’s a song that instructs us to victory. This particular Maschil is written basically to teach us how to get out of impossible circumstances.  Although it cannot be confirmed, this could very well have been the song Paul and Silas prayed in the Philippian prison in Acts 16 simply because they were in a very similar circumstance as David.

Psalm 142

I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.  I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto 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 thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Obviously from this Psalm, David pours out his soul before the Lord in the cave.  His affliction was not physical but spiritual.  The wrestling we go through at times, although spiritual, takes a toll on our bodies and leaves us weary.

Knowing the boldness and courage of David, he was not just running from the enemy, but was running to the Lord!  Here is the secret of David’s victories!  He absolutely refused to back down from the enemy.  He absolutely refused to forsake the Lord.  It’s not in the calm times when men leave the Lord, it’s in times of distress, times of pressing!  Many times the enemy attempts to use persecution and tribulation to drive us away from God.  This was a useless errand for Satan.  It only drove him closer to God.  The genuinely born again believer does not run away from God in these times, but only closer to Jesus!  What the devil means for our destruction will result in his destruction every time if we will but call out to the Lord in our distress.

At the end of this Psalm, David requests a great thing.  “Deliver my soul out of prison.”  Make no mistake friend, the Lord will deliver you from Satan always!  Many people have swallowed the notion that God does not desire complete victory for us.  We’ve said it this way before and we will declare it once again; if Satan is behind it, God is willing to deliver from it!  This is the foundation of the gospel.  Christ came into this world to rescue and free all who were oppressed of the Devil.  Acts 10:38.

David’s Declaration of Faith

At the very end of this Psalm, David rises up in faith and declares what he believes God will do in his time of need.  He says “the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142:7b.

At this point David ends his prayer with faith believing that God is going to send his people; righteous people to surround him.  The Lord does exactly that as is recorded in 1 Samuel 22:1-2.

Many Christian people believe that they are of little or no benefit to the Lord.  The devil wants to make sure that you think your Christian existence is menial.  But the truth is, your worth is of great value to the kingdom of God.

Many people know full well that God is real and His works and acts are continually seen throughout the world.  Our biggest struggle is this; how do I get the Lord to move on my behalf?  How do I have the Lord to rescue me in my time of need?  Here in this section is the answer.  When we come to the Lord in prayer, we must put our faith in Jesus Christ who has promised that “whatsoever things ye ask, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.  Mark 11:24. God’s ways are totally the opposite of the worlds ways.  The world says “when I see it, I’ll believe it.”  The word of God teaches us that “when I believe it, I will see it.”  John 11:40. The Lord moves in our lives when our faith grips the promises of God so firmly that we know we will receive before we receive.

This is the reason why this Psalm is called a “Maschil.”  It gives unto us instruction.  What instruction does it give?  It clearly gives us instruction on how to invite God on the scene in your cave; in your valley, in your trial, in your impossible circumstance.  Even though David was in a cave, he plainly declared in this Psalm that he had no refuge but the Lord. In our times of distress, we run to natural places to seek refuge from what we are going through.  Our trouble is, Satan can find you there.  Satan will trouble you wherever you may run.  There’s only one place the devil cannot get to you at, and that is in the cleft of the rock.

Rally at the Cave

As David was in the cave praying this prayer recorded in Psalm 142, he trusts that the Lord will bring the righteous to him.  God will always use His people to help you. The men who joined themselves to David at the cave were a pretty interesting group of people to say the least.

These men who gathered themselves unto David at the cave of Adullam were tired of the way things were going in Israel.  1 Samuel 22:1 declares when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.  This is all of David’s loved ones and family.  Not only did they come out to help David, but everyone that was in distress, and everyone that was in debt, and everyone that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

Here are signs that your life is under the oppression of the enemy.  Distress, debt, and discontented.  It doesn’t take long to get a fill of Satan’s oppression; especially people who are accustomed to freedom and victory in Christ!  Children of God enjoy the liberty and freedom from sin because we have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son!  Hallelujah!

These men were men of Israel who were tired of Saul’s kingdom.  Saul had lost the anointing!  He had lost the touch of the Lord upon him which is the only thing that will bring victory to our lives.  One thing is for sure; you can always tell if godly men are leading a country.  The country will either mourn or rejoice.  Psalm 29:2 says When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

These men were tired of mourning in their oppression.  How about you friend?  Are you tired of living under the authority of that old slave master satan?  If so, when you call on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him to deliver, He will run to you in your time of need and rescue you from everything Satan seeks to destroy you with.  Everything!

Don’t give up on God when you’ve run as far as you can run.  Don’t give in to the devil’s demands when it seems you have no choice but to surrender.  God always will make a way to escape.  He is the way.

New Kingdom Formed at Adullam

In what looked to be David’s sure demise, the Cave of Adullam was marked forever after as the place where David’s kingdom was initially formed.  The cave was where the people of God joined themselves to God’s new man; God’s newly anointed king.  These four hundred men, forsook the established king in Israel because Saul had obviously turned his attention from pursuing God’s enemies to pursuing God’s people as the enemy.

These four hundred men joined themselves and made Captain over them.  A new kingdom was formed; a new king was recognized and they rallied around David.

Never allow the devil to make you feel cornered.  God will always, without fail, come on the scene in your life.  Just keep your faith and trust in Christ to deliver.  He will NEVER let you down.  Your darkest places will become markers of the greatest places of victory in your life if you will but trust the Lord.  God has great victories awaiting all those who will call upon Him in their time of need and trust Him to be the victory over everything that they face.  Let us never fail to trust God.  He always has victory for us!