Ps 142:1 begins, “A maskil of David being in the cave, a prayer”


Caves are places of hiding and refuge, but only relatively safe. They are places that are

often dark and dank, perhaps with but one entrance. You don’t feel comfort in a cave,

certainly not the kind of security one feels in a fortress. The primary feeling is isolation,

mingled with anxious fear. It is a temporary place of waiting, perhaps hoping to move on

to another place so as not to be found.


David was a man on the run for an important part of his life. He had already received

God’s call privately and had it confirmed by the favor of God in his service to Saul and

the acclaim of the people. But then it came time to run and hide. David became

desperately alone. The kind of aloneness that prompts desperate cries for God’s

deliverance, for vindication of wrongs by those turned against you.


People often talk about the loneliness of leadership. It is not only the loneliness of

burdens carried alone (such as confidential information regarding conflict or

performance). It is also the loneliness of misinterpretation and emotional

disengagement from those you were close to. Job was alone when his friends thought

he must have done something wrong. Joseph was alone when his own brothers were

jealous and didn’t like him. Jesus was alone especially in the Garden when his own

disciples were sleeping at his hour of greatest need – while one disciple was making a

deal to betray him. He was alone on the cross: My God, My God, why have you

forsaken me?!


That moment of his utter forsakenness is the key to our own permanent claim on His

presence. We will never be completely alone because he was willing to be utterly alone

on the cross. We can walk the lonely road of leadership – of misunderstanding and

emotional isolation – because we can say of the Good Shepherd, “you are with me.” He

prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He comes to us in the cave

of isolation with the warmth of his own presence. He knows isolation more than we ever


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