SPELUNKING!

(August 9, 2022) Richard Winter shares timely advice…

Let me share something from my childhood days.

I grew up just a few miles from the caves where a famous Australian Bushranger – bandit – hid while robbing gold carrying stagecoaches coming from the rich goldfields the state of Victoria. And my best friend and I often went splelunking together.

Splelunking? That’s going down holes in the ground, exploring caves that lead under the earth. Yes, it can be quite dangerous and it worried our mothers! But the nearby Captain Melville caves were just the start for us. Soon we heard about other places where we could go spelunking.

Then came Queen’s Scout days. That was a life of adventure and danger – isn’t that what all boys long for? Well, we did. There were no computers back then and life was best lived outside home – so off we went.

I loved those caves! In most cases you were exploring not only what’s under the earth but what was inside you! No mobiles in those days and one could be easily troubled by thoughts such as –

  • How will we get back?
  • Could we turn around the tight cavern corners?
  • If we need help, how can we get some way down here?
  • Do we have a plan for the worst-case scenario?

Entrapment caves
I’ve found that many people don’t like certain caves… but they’ve learned to dwell in them mostly by themselves or with a few family members or friends to help.

Now I’m not talking about earthen caves where spelunkers go, but physical and mental, even spiritual caves that once entered people, even Christians, feel trapped and know of no way out!

These were not caves like Captain Melville’s where he hide until the coast was clear. Entrapment caves are those that trap people, and they can’t get free! Caves such as…

  • Loneliness.
  • Depression.
  • Isolation.
  • Sin.

Cave-dwelling
Many don’t remember this Bible story: The incident about the cave that David escaped to when things went horribly wrong in his life.

1 Samuel 22:1-2 tells that ‘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. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.’

What was David’s life pre-cave that led to his spelunking? He…

  • Had been chosen from his family and anointed by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
  • Was invited to the palace to serve King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23).
  • Defeated Goliath and won the king’s attention (1 Samuel 17).
  • Met his best friend, Jonathan, Saul’s son (1 Samuel 18:1-4).
  • Gained popularity, power, and prestige (1 Samuel 18:16).
  • Married his first wife, Michal, Saul’s daughter (1 Samuel 18:27).

David, at this point, is a rising star with a fantastic future ahead, on a growth track to success. Everything is going extremely well!

Then…

  • A jealous Saul turned on him (1 Samuel 19).
  • David is exiled from the palace and from his wife.
  • He’s released from military service to Saul.
  • He sees his best friend, Jonathan, for the last time.
  • He loses contact with his mentor, Samuel.

Palace-living to cave-dwelling!
That’s what had happen to David… the young man that God had chosen to be king one day. Now he’s in a cave!

But it’s here that God begins the real work of preparing David for a great calling to great purposes.

Got troubles? Do remember this: It’s in the caves of your life that God will prepare you for His greatest purposes for your life!

God is at work on you right now! You may not see Him, or understand what He is doing, but in your most difficult time, even your darkest hour, God is preparing you for mission and getting you ready for the fulfillment of His purposes.

Change can happen in caves!
Remember the Chilean miners in the headlines August 5 two years ago? The San Jose mine collapsed and33 men were trapped below. For 17 days they had no communication with anyone on the ground above.

But in that cave that had trapped them they established a mini-democracy and their rationed food and water. 52 days later, October 13, they were rescued.

Thee was further good news! While they were trapped underground with seemingly no real perspective of being rescued, God revealed Himself to them and spiritual saving occurred… in the cave! 22 of the 33 got saved!

What about you?
Are you in some cave and need rescuing, encouraging? Consider the group that had gathered with David in the cave of Adullam…

  • The distressed.
  • Those in debt.
  • The discontented.

They had gathered with David, and God was with him. God had plans for David and hence for them too. 1 Samuel 22:5GNB tells the lead-in to David’s new life (and theirs) – ‘The prophet Gad came to David and said, “Don’t stay here; go at once to the land of Judah.” So David left…’” David came out of that cave and moved on into all that God had planned for his life.

Back to you and your cave dwelling: When you are saved you are filled with the Holy Spirit and God is in and with you.

My suggestion is that there are at least three things that God builds into you in the cave that, when accepted, will cause you to know that you’re not forgotten, that God has a good plan for you – outside of the cave.

1. Knowing Jesus as Saviour

With all the difficulties worldwide, most of the world has come to see that:

  • Government isn’t our saviour.
  • The leader of our chosen political party isn’t our saviour.
  • Wall Street and high finance isn’t our saviour.

Jesus alone can save: He alone is our Saviour! Paul knew it… his relationship with Jesus was everything to him. What he wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 was from his heart!… ‘I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.’

2. Knowing what really matters
What’s makes your life tick? What upsets your heart? What sidetracks you?

Family problems? Here’s one that David had, and might be one that you recognise as yours…1 Samuel 17:28-29 tells that ‘When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?”’ 

There are many several things that could upset you –

  • Not being allowed to share, or share fully about something.
  • Misunderstood when trying to do the right thing.
  • Characterised wrongly as a continual troublemaker.
  • Broken family or marriage.

And, if one happens to be a church pastor as I am –

  • Children leaving the love of God’s church.
  • ‘Woke’ ideology replacing the vocabulary we know.
  • The gospel facing constant oppression from others.

Whatever cave you’re in, whatever upsets or sidetracks you, remember that Jesus is your Saviour, your centrepoint. You have the Holy Spirit within. With His help, deal with issues that hold you trapped and enjoy life. Be about your Saviour’s business as Paul was (that Corinthians scripture above). Don’t stayed spelunked!

Gad’s word to David is the word for you too – ‘Don’t stay… Go…’

3. Knowing who is with you
In the cave – under the earth you need to know who you’re with.What can they do?Who can do what? How can they help?

And that’s what we need to know in the church of Jesus Christ. It starts with knowing yourself, then knowing others, and knowing how you can work together.

1 Peter 2:9-10NLT says, ‘… you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.’

As God’s chosen people we are all priests with a mission to work together share that wonderful light, to tell as many people as we can the good news. So it’s out of the cave, and into the world!

Get out of those dark caves!
And yes, I know it’s sometimes easier just to stay in the cave, to remain silent rather than to face opposition and criticism. But Peter, quoted above, is really emphasising that we can’t live in the past. We must embrace what God has done for us and, recognising who and what we are, share Jesus and gospel!

Aren’t we all like the 400 gathered with David in the cave of Adullam? God’s people know what it’s like to be broken, to be outcast, to be the least, the last, and the lost. God’s people are the recipients and givers of His grace!

God will prepare you for his purposes in the cave, then want to use you to accomplish Hispurposes in the world outside of the cave. You have to emerge; you have to face God’s light and share it.

Our Saviour’s Matthew 28:18-20 great commission is still ours: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Get out of those dark caves!
Let’s get out into the world loving God, loving people, and do great kingdom works around us –bringing Jesus’ truth and love to bear on the world around us!

You can go spelunking, but you can’t stay underground! Come into the light, remembering that negative thinking ‘caves’ hold people captive. Jesus said, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ (John 8:36).

I began this article recalling my childhood. I remember something else we did as kids. In junior church  we sang, ‘I’ve got a little light and I’m going to let it shine…’

Lost in some dark cave? Know the light of God in your heart. Then with the Holy Spirit’s assistance come into it and share your light – Jesus – with others that they too can be freed from their dark caves!

____________________________________________
Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California. Contact:   OnlinerConnect@gmail.com. Links: What Breakthrough Does Your Mind Miss When You’re too Busy
/ My Heart may Fail but God is my Strength
____________________________________________

One comment

  1. I really like this! I learned a new term and, as someone more prone to claustrophobia than not, a new motivation for the avoidance of sin. I want to stay in the light!

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