You wouldn’t recognize him. Not unless you were with that band of misfits that united under his leadership.
But here you are and there he is and My God, what has happened? This is the guy whose exploits they sang about. This is the Giant Killer. In one afternoon you saw him rally his own people and send an army of Philistines running in fear.
And now he and you are living like pathetic dogs in a cave. Dirty. Haggard. Weak. Exhausted. And there before your eyes the man you knew would be king is at the end of his life.
Because he’s at the end of his courage. And courage isn’t easy when you’re crawling in a cave. But he knows something you don’t know. Even in his brokenness and desperation he knows that courage reawakens when faith rises. That’s what makes him a future king.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications!
Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!
Supplications. That’s all he has. You still think of your commander as awesome. He sees himself as nothing. He has nothing by which to commend himself. He’s asking God for unmerited favor. Funny… everybody else keeps trying to get him to play “the Goliath card.” He – this warrior of past exploits – keeps offering the “nobody card.” But that’s because even in his nothingness, he remembers that courage reawakens when faith rises.
For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
Honestly, right now he looks like a nobody. He has no “soul strength” left to respond to the withering attacks of his enemies. His face is pale; his countenance wilted. The constant barrage of fear and discouragement have taken their toll; somewhere in his heart he’s lost the will to fight on. The only thing he still wants to do is cling to God. That’s because he remembers that courage reawakens when faith rises.
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in dark places,
like those who have long been dead.
He has become something of a walking death – a spiritual zombie. He’s done – done with all of it. Everything, that is, but his faith in God. He knows that courage reawakens when faith rises.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
He has no spiritual resources left; he’s running on fumes. If they could see what you see, Israel’s daughters wouldn’t be singing their songs and dreaming of their wedding to Jesse’s son. He has nothing winsome, nothing handsome, not even anything spiritual left. He’s desperate, overwhelmed, and going down for the last time. But in his desperation, he remembers that courage reawakens when faith rises.
My heart is appalled within me.
With what little perspective he has left, he looks at the condition of his soul and is horrified – not at the circumstances themselves, but at how they have affected him. Frankly, you are, too. But when you run like a pursued animal, sooner or later you begin living like one. And anyone can go there – even giant killers. Past victories are no promise of future returns. If not for David, certainly not for you, either. And yet, there in the cave, shocked at what he has become, your king-to-be will recapture the heart of a warrior. Why? Because courage reawakens when faith rises.
How Did He Do It?
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land.
You have a front-row seat to the resurrection of a warrior and the renewal of a king’s heart. It doesn’t happen all at once. But once David confesses his “spiritual zombie” state, he begins to respond in ways that breathe new life and renewal into his soul. Something supernatural is happening before your eyes. And it’s proof once again that courage reawakens when faith rises.
He remembers the days of old. David takes the time to remember the spiritual “good old days.” He remembers his overcomer moments, those times when he experienced the love and life of God. And in faith he remembers that the love of God can even find him in the cave.
He meditates on all of what the Lord has done. Over and over in his mind, David “restudies” the works of God’s hands in his past. And in faith he is reminded that the Lord’s hand is not shortened because the cave is dark.
He stretches out his hand toward the Lord. As David remembers the faithfulness and power of God’s hands, and lifts up his own empty hands in response and desperation, he does so with expectation. In faith he remembers that the power of the Lord’s hand is made perfect in the emptiness of our own.
He recognizes and declares his desperate, personal need for God. David is in a spiritual desert, and more than victories and successes, he recognizes his need for God. He’s not desperate for conquest. He’s desperate for God. He’s not longing for position. He’s longing for God. He’s not thirsty to be liked. He’s thirsty for God. And in faith he remembers that when we seek God first, all the other things take care of themselves.
All this takes time. It takes focus. And it takes humility in recognizing we are not the solution to our own problems. But there before your eyes, the faith of your Commander-in-Chief is rising. And courage reawakens when faith rises.
Something is Changing
Still in a desperate situation, but moving past a desperate heart, you can see the change. Again, if you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes, you wouldn’t have believed that this cave crawler was reassuming a position of authority and spiritual power. Almost imperceptibly a heart of courage is beating again. And it pulsates around five commitments even cave crawlers can cling to.
I trust in you.
Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You
David wants to hear the Lord speak in covenant love to him in the morning. The basis for his request? His trust in the Lord. Faith moves mountains because faith moves God. And David is leveraging today’s faith for the voice of tomorrow’s covenant love from God.
I lift up my soul to you.
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul
David needs guidance. He has no agenda, nothing against which to claim merit before God. Just a heart desperate for the life and love only the Lord could provide. But get this! He’s actually expecting the Lord to provide the guidance. He’s leveraging today’s offering for tomorrow’s wisdom.
I take refuge in you.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I take refuge in You.
You and your friends are standing there, sword in hand, willing to die for this man. But he’s not turning to you for his refuge. David appeals for God’s deliverance on the basis of the fact that when he needs a defense, he turns to the Lord He’s leveraging today’s refuge for tomorrow’s deliverance.
You are my God.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
This is covenant language. The covenant said, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” David is reiterating his intention to live in covenant with God, trusting in God’s heart and obeying God’s will. Live or die, his heart is galvanized around one desire – to do the will of his Heavenly Father. He’s leveraging today’s surrender for the power of tomorrow’s obedience.
I am your servant.
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me.
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies
And destroy all those who afflict my soul,
For I am Your servant.
David appeals for victory over his enemies because he has positioned himself as the Lord’s servant. And as a servant, David expects the Lord’s protection and care. The ground is levelling outside the cave because a warrior is rising inside it. And you’re there to see it all. David is leveraging today’s service for tomorrow’s conquest.
Hindsight is 20/20, but history is told by the winners. You know how the story ends. But you can never forget what you have seen with your own eyes the day a cave crawler reconnected with his courage. Had there been no faith care, there would never have been such a transformation. But David knew – and you’ve seen it – that courage reawakens when faith rises.
You may want to store this reminder in your cave. You never know when you may need it.
(Scripture from Psalm 143)
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