He Restoreth My Soul

A Pastor’s Commentary

The life of David

Lesson 9: He Restores My Soul

I Samuel 22:1-4

It is thrilling to hear, as we do from time to time, the stories of God’s deliverance from the depths of sin to a glorious salvation. (although salvation under any circumstances is thrilling) But what we don’t hear as often are the stories of God’s deliverance and restoration of believers who have fallen into sin, been convicted by the Holy Spirit and confessed the sin and returned to a loving and productive relationship with the Lord. But actually it probably happens far more often than the first – and is much more applicable to us. In fact it happened twice in the life of David, of all people! In chapter 21 he had buckled under the constant pressure of Saul’s persecution and, apparently thinking that God would not or could not take care of him, had taken matters into his own hands. But after a time of repeated frustra­tion and failure, God brought him face to face with his sin in a very humiliating way, and he confessed his sin and got right with the Lord. And then, interestingly, it happened again toward the end of his life, in Second Samuel 11 and 12. And even that detail teaches us that this is something that can happen to “young” or new believers as well as to older, more mature ones – and that it can happen again anywhere along the line. Thus we must always be on the alert for this possibility. This is why Galatians 5:16 and 17 speak of walking  at the direction of the Holy Spirit. And why I Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, vigilant . . .”. But this doesn’t mean that we have to go around fearful all the time – this passage teaches us some important lessons. The Chapter falls into three parts:


  1. The Depth of David’s Experience – verses 1-4
  2. The Depravity of David’s Enemy – verses 5-19

III. The Deliverance of David’s Emissary – verses 20-23


David wrote 3 of his Psalms during the experiences described in this chapter: 34, 57, and 142.

And in Psalm he said, “attend to my cry, for I am brought very low.” – and that statement is a good summary of this sectioSo let’s look first at The Depth of David’s Experience as we find it described in verses through 5.

And the first thing we see is his circumstances  in v.1a

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of adullam . . .” Here is the anointed king of Israel, winner of many battles, victorious over the Philistine’s most powerful enemy, living in a cave! And remember, this was after he got right with the Lord. We might have the idea that once he confessed his sins of chapter 21 that everything would be all right – and it was, spiritually. But even though God always forgives sin when we confess and forsake it, many times we have to “reap what we sowed when we were out of fellowship and also we have to remember that whether we are in fellowship or out, God doesn’t work on our timetable. David  – and Israel still had much to learn from this difficult situation in his life. And then, to complicate matters further, verses 1b and 2 tell about his companions

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullum and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it they went down there with him. And everyone who was distressed, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them.and there were about four hundred men

On the one hand it was good that he wasn’t alone, but on the other hand look who these people were: friends of the court? No! Some of them were his brothers who had used him as a servant and ridiculed him in the past. And the people described in verse 2 were not a happy bunch – discontented, in debt, in distress, – just the kind of people you would love to be shut up in a cave with!But his true character is shown in verse 2b. notice the phrase “he became a captain over them.” And in I Chronicles 11 and 12 where we find the names and exploits these men  we can see that he molded them into a crack military regiment – and they became his life-long loyal friends. And Psalm 34, written during this time, shows the kinds of things he taught them. Think about David saying these things in the context of taking a bunch of misfits and turning them into useful citizens.

O magnify the Lord with me,  and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. . . . “This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and delivered him out of all his troubles. Then, to complicate things further verses 3 and 4 bring out his concern for his parents. Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, please let my father and mother come here with you till I know what God will do for me.”So he brought them before the king of Moab and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

Here is something that often happens – a son who becomes responsible for his parents. – and David did it willingly. But from a human standpoint it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now the question arises here is, “why would David seek protection for his parents from a foreign king? We might think it was because the Moabites were the enemies of Saul, so they would just naturally be the allies of David. But the real answer is in something that shows the beautiful texture of the scripture the Moabites were relatives of David’s family. Remember “Ruth the Moabitess?” She was David’s grandmother! Also woven into the story is the little indication of David’s growing maturity. Notice what he says to the king of Moab in verse 3 –  until I see what God will do for me. He has come to the place that he knows God is going to do something, but he doesn’t know what or when, but he is willing to wait and see; he wasn’t pressing the issue. Now we have seen David’s circumstances, his companions, his concern for his parents and “his character.” But we can’t leave this section of the chapter without his comparison with the Christ whom he foreshadowed. And the detail is amazing! First we see how David was rejected even though he was anointed as king and did great exploits – and so was Christ. Second, Saul, who was God’s intended  leader unmercifully hounded and  pursued David and the Pharisees did the same with Christ. Third, David was reduced to living in a cave; Jesus said “the son of man has nowhere to lay His head” (see also John 7:53 – “and everyone went to his own house,” and 8:1 – Jesus went to the Mount of Olives”) Fourth, David was surrounded by the discontented, the distressed, and the indebted; Jesus was “the friend of sinners.” (incidentally, this was a pattern that goes beyond the life of Christ into the body of Christ as a whole – I Corinthians 1:26-29 says that “not many wise, not many noble” are chosen. And finally, David had only 600 followers out of all Israel; Jesus had only a comparatively few followers from among the whole nation. How many followed Him to His trial? How many stood around the cross in sympathy? How many greeted His burial? (Or His resurrection, ascension for that matter)

Perhaps someone is reading this who finds himself (or herself) in David’s condition of chapter 21 – in great need but relying on human resources. Are you ready to “cry out to God,” as David in these verses? The only way to cope with the issues of life in today’s world is with the strength that comes from walking in fellowship with the Lord.

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