Be Still And Know, Day 1
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Be Still Devo Day 1
Singing in the cave
“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Ps. 57:1)
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a cave.
As a child growing up in Calgary, my brother took me on a day trip to “the ice caves” west of the city. Climbing a mountainside in the heat of the day, we slipped into the dark mouth of the cave and were instantly hit by a wall of cold air. Icy stalactites (or were they stalagmites – who can remember the difference?) dripped from the ceiling which grew lower and lower the further you ventured from the sunlight. It was the perfect balance of frightening and fun for a twelve-year-old.
I again found myself underground as a college student – this time in Montana. During a summer tour with my drama team, we stopped at the Lewis and Clark Caverns on a day off. When our guide found out he had a group of performers in the crowd, he stopped his presentation and we did a Monty Python sketch deep underground. It was met by thunderous applause . . . unless that was just a mercy-clap echoing off the walls of the cavern.
My time in caves has been entirely recreational, and that has made it hard to relate to David’s experience in the Bible. Like me, he spent some time in caves, but under very different circumstances. On two different occasions David found himself running for his life from King Saul and fleeing underground. Holed up in the darkness, he hid, and he waited.
That’s the setting of Psalm 57; the title of the psalm includes this description:
“When he had fled from Saul into the cave.”
We can imagine David edging near to the mouth of the cave to catch enough light to write out these words:
“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (v. 1).
Over the past weeks, that setting has come to feel more familiar. Not that we’re fleeing a paranoid king, but we are holed up in our homes, waiting for Covid to run its course. If we’re honest, life in the cave can feel bleak at times – we wonder and worry about the future. About our family. About our bank account.
I was in that space a few days ago when I flipped open my Bible to read Psalm 57 as part of my devotions. That’s when this phrase jumped out at me:
“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me” (v. 2).
David may have been hiding, but he was hiding with hope! God had plans and purposes for his life, and the cave wouldn’t contain them.
That might be a word we need to hear today. It gives us permission to cry out to God alongside David, being honest about the challenges and stresses we’re facing. But to do so with hope, knowing that God’s purposes for us and through us will prevail. He is bigger than the crisis we’re facing.
When we have that kind of confidence, it changes everything. For David, it spilled over into song:
“My heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (v. 7, 8).
Quite the contrast: hiding in a cave, he’s singing at the top of his lungs and awakening the dawn (v. 8)! He is confident that God can still be trusted.
Let’s add our voices to his.
We may be hiding, but we are hiding with hope. God’s love reaches to the heavens and his faithfulness reaches to the skies (v. 10). It can reach into your cave as well.
That’s something worth singing about.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfils his purpose for me.” (v. 2)
Lord, I confess that I can go a little stir-crazy in this cave. My mind wanders or gets stuck, fixating on the wrong things. So today, Lord, I turn my eyes from my worries and onto your face. Thank you that, with you, there is always hope and a promise.