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Updated: Jun 2, 2020

By John W. Moore

After taking refuge in the cave of Adullam, David soon found himself retreating to the refuge in the strongholds and hiding places of the Judean Wilderness.

King Saul’s murderous jealously was driving David further and further away from the people he

A Ravine in the Judean Wilderness

loved and sought to help (1 Samuel 22-24). Largely uninhabited, this barren territory is wedged between the Hill Country of Judah and the lifeless waters of the Dead Sea. While little vegetation and water exist, the wilderness still has a redeeming value. Its deep ravines, major uplifts, and numerous caves provide many places—or strongholds—where one can hide while being pursued by an enemy.

Masada National Park and Monument in the Judean Wilderness.

The Hebrew word for Stronghold is "mesudah" and is often associated with a high mountaintop, fortress, or fastness. It was to places like this where David would have come for security, peace, and protection. One of David’s strongholds was most likely this enormous escarpment known today as Masada National Park. The impressive natural land feature would have been an ideal hiding place for a small band of men, and a strategic place for defense.

However, on a rugged, isolated mountaintop and despite the darkness of a cave, David not only grew in faith, but he also introduced the world to the greatest poetry ever composed.

His time of pain and retreat brought the world powerful and vivid imagery used throughout many of the biblical psalms. Those prayers, and the symbolism they contain, have helped many of us in our own times of wandering through a wilderness of despair. The imagery of a dark valley (Psalm 23), a rock badger (Psalm 104), a rocky crag (Psalm 18), and a dark cave (Psalm 57) were tools used in explaining more about the security and goodness of God.

Inside a Cave near Adullam

Sometimes on a mountain of isolation or in the darkness of a cave, we find the time and quiet we need to reflect upon our relationship with God. Our times of retreat can bring us to a place of emotional or spiritual poverty where we discover that God provides what we cannot produce on our own. This worldwide pandemic is a wilderness experience. My prayer is that you will put your faith in God. See him as your Masada, your hiding place, and your strength. Use this time to study the Bible, and especially the Psalms. Learn more about the culture of the ancient world, and the environs and geography in the land of Judah. Your study will be rewarded. Your faith will increase.

Sometimes on a mountain of isolation or in the darkness of a cave, we find the time and quiet we need to reflect upon our relationship with God.

One of the ways you can learn more about how David used the land of Israel to describe God, and how God used the desert to refine the faith of servants like David is to watch the online documentaries called Bible Land Passages. They can be viewed on VidAngel, Amazon Prime, Faithlife TV, and by going to In view of the content associated with this post, I would highly recommend that you watch episode #6Judah: David’s Training Ground of Faith.

Photos Courtesy of Bible Land Passages, World Video Bible School, and Doug Garner

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