We don't know for sure what cave the Psalm is referencing, but it's most frequently thought to be the Cave of Adullam. The first reference to David hiding in this cave is in 1 Samuel 22:1-2. Now, I think that "cave" is the best English translation, but the Hebrew word used does look very similar to a word for "fortress", and some people have suggested that it may have been more like a fort than a natural cave. Either way, you get the point: David--and subsequently 400 of his followers--hid out in a place that was a stronghold. And while David was often on the move, if you look at 2 Samuel 23:13-14, (and the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 11:15-16), it seems like he used this stronghold on multiple occasions and for extended periods of time. In other words, this cave was a safe place. It was hidden. It was defensible. It was secure. And when someone is seeking to find you and kill you, a safe place is pretty important! Especially when--as in David's case--the "someone" was the king of the land, (King Saul), with the whole nation's army at his disposal.
And that's what makes this Psalm so great! Look back at it now. Verse 1 says:
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me
for in you I take refuge
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed
I love this. Because David expresses this thought in the midst of a literal refuge! It's a place in which David has sought--and found--safety, shelter, and protection. And yet it's from this very place that David writes this beautiful Psalm that opens with his understanding that his true refuge is God Himself. Because of that, he states in verse 7 that his heart is steadfast; firm; unwavering. Then from there, he transitions into an outburst of praise about God and His love. What a frame of mind! How about you? Do you view God Himself as your ultimate refuge? Your fortress? Your hiding place? Who is God to you in comparison to whatever other security you enjoy?
- Pastor Paul