The Reading: 1 Samuel 22:1-5
“David … escaped to the cave of Adullam” (v.1) RSV
Now you might think that David, the greatest king of Israel never had a ‘Lost Year’ in his life. When he was young he minded the sheep and practiced using a sling. When still a youth he slew Goliath and became King Saul’s resident minstrel. And once he was anointed King he ruled with great charisma and success.
However, from his point of view he could well have viewed his years in the wilderness as lost years. He had been anointed King by Samuel while Saul was still on the throne (1 Samuel 16:13). Yet before long Saul was wildly jealous of David and feared that he was going to usurp the throne. He hounded him from pillar to post, so that David was compelled to live like a fugitive in the wilderness. During that time he accumulated a band of 400 malcontents (v.2).
It must have been very frustrating for David to have these ‘wasted’ years in hiding, while the incompetent Saul continued to reign. However when it seemed that God had delivered Saul into his hands in the cave of Engedi (1 Samuel 24:4-7), David spared his life; it was neither God’s time nor God’s way. His wilderness were not yet over. Eventually the time was right for David’s accession to the throne. Saul had been defeated by the Philistines and decided to end his life by falling on his sword (1 Samuel 31:4).
Those years in the wilderness and a fight for sheer survival were not wasted. God used all the experience and wisdom that David had derived from the experience. He had become a natural leader of men and had grown tough. He was now fit for the task for which he had been anointed.
God too will incorporate our past life and experience, however odd, or dull or wrong it was. He redeems all that we have gone through and transforms it into usefulness from now on. Praise God!
Thank you Lord that ALL THINGS word together for good to those who love you. Here am I, send me. Amen.
1 Why did King Saul waste his reign?
2 How had David profited from his early, hidden years?