David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me.”
1 Samuel 22:3
What do you do when the storms of life rage? What do you do in the moment trouble erupts? What do you do when you see water churning ahead?
I have been thinking a lot about this during these disorienting days of pandemic, lockdowns, social unrest, and a troubled election looming. And it is in times like this I am reminded of the centuries old tradition in the British Royal Navy of the boatswain’s whistle sounding “The Still”. Sailors used this high-pitched whistle, much like a bugle was used on land, to communicate a specific sound and command to the crew. The boatswain’s whistle could pass along a command when a voice could not be heard above the sounds of storm and sea. The piping of “The Still” was the captain’s command for every sailor to stop what he was doing and be still. He must not react, but collect himself and be ready to hear the captain’s next command.
In today’s scripture we see David in a mountain cave becoming still and readying himself to hear the Lord’s command. This happens at one of the most troubled times in David’s life. He has been fleeing from King Saul into the hands of the Philistines, and now to the mountainous Cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 21-22:1-2). After having moved his parents across the border from Bethlehem into the care of the king of Moab, David now becomes still and readies himself “until I know what the LORD will do for me.” Through David’s many troubles he again and again seeks and waits for what the Lord will do for him.
David says that he writes Psalm 57 after fleeing into the cave from King Saul (See Psalm 57 superscription). We note that David makes time in the cave to be still, and yet to believe in God’s good purpose for him in life’s storms:
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
I cry to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
We, like David, can be confident in God “who fulfills his purpose for me.” For we know that God is at work in these difficult times, “working all things together for good according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Like David in the cave, we eagerly wait “until I know what God will do for me.”
Over the next few weeks we will hear God sounding “The Still”, calling us to stop what we are doing, to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). As we take time to be still, we will not thoughtlessly react to events, but will ready ourselves to hear the Captain’s next command. He will show us the way. And, no less than He did for David, God will fulfill His good purpose for our lives!
A fellow traveler,