Thursday, November 10, 2011

Distress, Debt, Discontent


1 Samuel 22:1-2 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. (2) All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.


Until now David had been alone, but at this juncture in his life he gathered people around him. The first to come were "his brothers and all his father's house" (1 Sam 22:1). There was a unity to the clan or family that made this a natural move, but they were also now in danger from Saul who might be expected to attack them merely because they were David's family. As society has moved from a pastoral to an urban culture, and from a sense of corporateness to the prizing of the individual, there have been losses as well as gains. One loss is the strong support system that families are capable of providing for their members.

The second group that was drawn to David did not seem as attractive, for they were people who were drawn to him because of common troubles. They had been made into a family not by blood ties but by suffering similar problems. While the one-sentence description in the text is not exhaustive, it paints a clear picture of David's four hundred men as "everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented" (1 Sam 22:2). The establishing of the monarchy had not solved all their problems and had probably created new ones, and these were the people caught in the social upheaval. It's easy to see why they accepted David as their captain.

While the group bore no resemblance to the elite unit that David had commanded for Saul, they made a contribution to his preparation for being king. They taught him the problems of the common people. Had he stayed in the palace, eating with the king and enjoying the company of the prince, he would have never been able to understand the people who came to him. When people suffer they discover others who are suffering and are able to communicate with them at a deeper level than is ever possible for those who have not shared the experience.


How do these verses apply to me? I want to take a look at each "group" that assembled with David.

First of all, the distressed. The Greek word used here means: a narrow place, confinement or disability: It refers to hardships and anxiety especially brought on from disobeying the Lord but also from general social and political conditions.

So, the distressed in the Cave of Adullam were those who were "boxed in" with a disability or a "narrow-minded" view of things. They were those who have been in disobedience to the Lord for various reasons. How often has my narrow-mindedness brought me into distress? I must allow my hardships and anxiety to drive me to God's presence, and not from it.

I know people who are "narrow-Minded" in the style of music that they will worship to, that there is only one translation that is worth anything and if you don't use that one, than you are wrong. Some are narrow-minded in how to deal with people, in how you are supposed to lead people, in their opinions. I could go on and on. I can become "distressed" because of my narrow-mindedness which leads to hardships and anxiety.

Secondly were those in debt. The Greek word used here means: A verb indicating lending or interest, serving as a creditor. It refers to a person who has made a loan, It means those who lend or charge excessive interest.

So, those who were in debt represent those who have not put the Lord in charge of their finances. Instead of looking to God, they looked to credit, or high interest abuse of people. It all adds up to a lack of integrity in their finances. It is so tempting to use credit cards to get what we want right now.

Instant gratification is a lack of self-control that has gotten many folks in a mess financially. In fact, it has pushed entire Countries into messes that the government has to start "bailing out."

The very basics of giving my finances to God is to start giving. Some want to argue that paying tithes isn't a New Covenant principle so many use that as an excuse not to give anything. God's heart is giving, not receiving or being tight fisted. God blesses the giver, not the stingy. Help me Lord, to be a better steward of the blessings that you have given me.

Finally, there were those who were the discontented. The Greek word used here means: bitter (literally or figuratively); also bitterness, or (adverbially) bitterly: angry, chafed, discontented, heavy.

So, those who were discontented were people who were bitter and extremely angry. We are living in a very angry culture. From road rage, to school shootings, home invasions, and drive by shootings.

God is looking for a people that will raise the standard of living and be salt and light. We cannot be salt and light when we act like those who do not know Christ. There are many angry, bitter people in God's Kingdom. We must allow the Lord to change our character and attitudes. And give our bitterness and anger to Him daily!


"Lord, please help me today. I have been distressed, in debt, and discontented at various times in my life. That is not a great place to me, in fact it is very troubling. I need to lean on you today to make sure that I don't go there again because of my lack of self-control and sour attitude and disposition. Jesus, I want to live, act, talk, walk, think and love like you do. I thank you that you can, and are, using my experiences that I have had in each of these categories of people to help others. You never waste pain, you always use it to assist others if I will allow you to do so. I honor you today, and choose to make every effort to keep my life from becoming distressed, in debt, and discontented today. In Jesus name, Amen! "