Songs from a Dark Cave
1 Samuel 22:1-3; Psalm 57
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrims Progress, was imprisoned for 12 years for preaching the Gospel. Several times he was offered his freedom if he would just be silent but he would not comply. The dungeon and prisoners were sparse with comforts and infectious with “Prison Fever” or Typhoid. During his “quarantine” if you will, he would creatively carve out of metal a violin and amazingly he took one of the wooden pegs off his four legged stool and carved a flute to play for the glory of God.
The Apostle Paul penned or scribed no less than seven epistles or letters while incarcerated in prison. The last one was 2 Timothy, written in the Mamertine Prison in Rome just days or weeks before he was beheaded for the cause of Christ.
King David wrote seven Psalms (songs) in caves as it related to his years of fleeing as a fugitive from King Saul. Because of a jealous rage towards David, Saul would not be satisfied until the blood of David flowed through his crazed fingers.
The one common denominator with these heroic, yet imperfect, saints of old was that they wrote, worshiped and played instruments declaring their melodious joy through parched vocal chords while in the dark, hopeless bowels of the earth.
In the above stated passages we see David running for his life and finding himself alone in the Cave of Adullam (which precisely means Cave of Refuge). 1 Samuel 22 records the event itself while Psalms 57 and 142 record how David felt through the event and how the Lord lifted his heart even at the most desperate moment.
Even though his dark isolation began with words like “I am in desperate need”; “no one is concerned for me”; “no one cares for my life” (Psalm 142:4,6), he ends with a song “I will sing and make music”; “Be exalted O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”
I imagine in my mind that he begins his cold lonely moments crying out in the furthest and coldest part of the cave. Then I see him eventually pacing about humming psalms of faith through the cavern. But then in triumph I picture him ending up at the mouth of the cave with shoulders back, head up and vocal cords vibrating shouts of praise as he punches the sky because of the faithfulness of his God.
Saints, many have gone before and many will follow, and the one thing we all have in common is that we can smile through our tears, sing through our crushed spirit, and be at peace because God gives us a song in the darkest caves of our life! So, declare your faith and love to him in worship and know that “this too shall pass.”
Pastor Bill Gallagher