Lexie Sutton - First Oaklodge Convention - Wednesday night, 2004

I have had some thoughts from 1st Samuel 22, verse 1 and 2.  I'll read them. "David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress and everyone that was in debt and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them; and there were with him about four hundred men."
 
Now this to me was like a picture of us coming to Convention and coming to the only One coming in our debt and coming in our need to the only One who can help us, Jesus our Saviour and that's just what these men did, they came to David. He was the anointed king but rejected by many but they recognised him as the Anointed One, they recognised him as the king and they made him the lord of their lives. They knew that he had gone up ahead of them just a little while before, and they knew that he had to flee also and they came - they came to the one who had understanding of them and haven't we come to One just like David, but a greater One of course, come to the Anointed One who was rejected of many, we believe in Him; we believe that He is the Son of God; we believe He is our Saviour, we believe He is the Christ and we have made Him our Lord and we know that He has gone this way before us in flesh just like ourselves and we know that He feels for us and He will feel our pain. We've known that before and so we come, as it's right to come to this Convention; coming to the One who understands about us.
 
They came to the cave Adullam, which was a strong hold. I was reading about strong holds and about the strong towers – they are different. A strong tower is an obvious thing, it is on high and when men flee they run into it, they flee there for safe keeping and for refuge, but I believe that they would be able to look down on the enemy and see the enemy and watch the enemy and maybe from there go out to battle, but a stronghold is a secret place. A place that people - that David and his men fled to, hid themselves in, and didn't let the enemy see them because the cave was in the earth.  God made it, God made the cleft in the rock, it had been there forever. God provided it and they ran into it and they hid themselves. They didn't let themselves be seen; didn't let their face be seen. Hid themselves and didn't let themselves be discovered. If the enemy passed by they didn't let him see them and that's where they fled. A stronghold, a secret place, a place where they could hide themselves, a strong place. Their strength was, their safety was in that they hid themselves, and kept to themselves in the secret place - kept in the secret place.
 
I read a place back in the Bible about the cave Adullum; or the land round about it and the cave was in that position, among God's people, the children of Israel and that means that someone had fought battles and won, and disposessed a people who once lived there. When lots were cast for the tribes of Israel, it was given to the tribe of Judah.  David was of the tribe of Judah and that meant he was in his inheritance. He was truly in the right place. He was where he should be and it was right that he should be there. I just thought of Christ Jesus the same line, the line of Judah through Mary, and we just know that as God's children, as the children of God we have a place, a right to the secret place, we have a right to run there, to flee there, to hide ourselves there, and we know that the battle has been fought by our Saviour. Battles in Heaven, battles on earth, battles within His own heart, battles within the garden and He overcame and as a result we are enjoying the secret place, we can hide ourselves here - it's safe for everyone, everyone distressed, everyone in debt, everyone discontented. Everyone who was there that came to David, they were all poor and needy and tonight that's how we are, everyone has come because they are poor and needy, but I was thinking, “Why did they come?” because of David, and why do we come? Because of Christ. We are not comforted because others about us are poor and needy, that's not our hope, that's not our comfort that doesn't make us feel good, but it is because the Saviour is here.
 
I was remembering today, that one time I visited parents in the Children's Hospital. Their little child was in the cot and very sick and I was just standing by the parents. I just looked around the ward and it was full of little cots and little children and anxious parents there. Then I just thought of our parents, well, they sleep in company and so they shouldn't feel vulnerable and they should just feel that there are others in the same situation and that should be a comfort to them, but I realised they never let their eyes wander from the face of their little child, and I believe they didn't even know who else was in that ward, but then the door opened of the ward, and they looked up, but it was just another parent and they quickly looked down and it was as though no one came in the room. Then the door opened again and the doctor came in and they watched the doctor. Would he come?  He was their hope, the physician, the doctor, he was their hope he was the one who could give them help and hope and comfort and they listened to his words and they focused on him. Isn't that how it is for us when we come here tonight and visit Convention?  It is our Saviour, the Great Physician, it's His Word, His advice, it's His presence, it's His verdict, it's His judgement. He's our hope and He's our comfort and that's why we have come.  He's the One we've come to find help from. Everyone in distress, they came.
 
I was thinking of our Saviour.  He understands and knows the struggles of life and the perplexities and He knows the experiences that we have passed through and everyone that is distressed, He has help for them, He has comfort for them, the comfort is in the New Testament. There's a list of things and then there's a question, “Shall these things separate us from the love of God?” And among them is distresses, shall the distress separate us from the love of God? Did the distresses separate these men from their helper? No, they drove them to him, they fled to him, they ran to him, and isn't that what drives us to our Saviour, our distresses? He can help us. What does God want to do when we come into His presence?  He doesn't change the enemy but He changes us. He changes our spirit and our attitude, He changes our heart and our thinking, He changes our outlook, and the Lord wants to send us out helped because we have been with Him in the secret place. We will go out and face the same enemy, he is just the same but we will see him altogether differently. The Lord doesn't want us to go out and face the enemy still smarting, still hurting, still perplexed, our wounds still festering, but He wants to heal them and He wants to help us. When David went out of the stronghold, he faced the same enemy, Saul again. He wasn't smarting, he wasn't hurting and when his men said to him, “Stretch forth your hand, God has given you opportunity, God has delivered your enemy into your hands.”  David didn't let his hand go out to take the life of his enemy, Saul. He spoke to them, he taught them a lesson by word and by his life and that's what God wants to do for us, that we will go out and face the same enemy but the Lord has changed us and helped us.
 
Everyone of us is in debt.  The Lord wants to help us. We come to the Lord, it says in the margin about the creditor - isn't that a kindly way of speaking about it - of the creditor, taking the focus off us, we are debtors. God doesn't make us feel debtors, the tremendous price that has been paid, that is the gift of God, that's God's love to us and God doesn't ask us to repay it. We come here and see it again and we appreciate it and we love the One whose Son did this for us. God makes us feel better, He helps us feel appreciation.  He helps us to see it again more clearly what Christ has done. We came feeling debtors because the world would like to make us feel under obligation to them, the world would like to put us in bondage, the world would like us to feel that we owe them something. We are glad, that when we come into the presence of the Lord Jesus, He helps us understand we owe the world nothing; we owe them nothing but just to witness Truth and to testify of the Lord Jesus and power in our life.
 
I read also about the creditor and God made a command and He said that if people sold themselves and went into bondage and became debtors, every seven years the creditor must let them go free, and I just wondered about the people that came running to David. They couldn't wait, they didn't want to be in bondage, they didn't want to bear the burden of debt and they came running. It tells us in the Scripture that God hears the cry of the poor and needy and those that are oppressed that God will with be with them. It tells us in the Bible that God was saying to His people, just come to the secret place, just hide yourself, just stay a little while until God's indignation is passed. Let God deal with it - let God deal with it and we just rest and wait in His presence and we'll see a merciful God, a loving God, a forgiving God.
 
Then there were those who were discontented. It tells us in the margin bitterness of soul. God wants to help us with our bitterness; with things that have hurt us that we feel bitter; that we might feel we have known some injustice, and we feel bitter. The New Testament tells us that if a root of bitterness springs up there are going to be many defiled as a result of it and God wants to deal with that these days, the root of bitterness lest others be affected or influenced by this that is working in our soul; this that prevents us from having sweet fellowship with the Lord. We've run to Him; we've fled to Him, and we want Him to deal with these things. When I read in the catalogue of the mighty men of David and to think that they were these men who fled who ran to him in their distress in bitterness of soul, they were these men, great men, and they obviously did go out and fight, they fought battles. There was a time when David was in the cave of Adullam and he longed, he yearned for a drink of the water that was by the well of Jerusalem and three men - it wasn't like a command; It wasn't like a question, who will go? But three men heard the cry, the yearning of the heart of their Saviour and they went out. Where did they get their courage? Where did they get their love? Where did they get their loyalty? In the secret place in the presence of their Saviour, learning of him - learning of him, and I read where they went to many strong holds; from one strong hold to another and that's just how it is for us because we are with the rejected King. The Anointed One, but rejected, and He is our Saviour and we follow Him wheresoever He leads us. It just takes us from one secret place to another and then finally when He reigns - when He reigns, when He comes again, we'll be sharing in the glory, but now, it's in the secret place and we're glad we can be here in this convention hiding ourselves, but don't deceive ourselves that the Lord can't work and Satan can't be seeing us and won't be having an effect on our lives, and may it be so.