En Gedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea. (https://www.bibleplaces.com/engedi/) named after the copious spring which waters it in the territory of Judah. . On his flight from Saul, David dwelt in the strongholds of En Gedi. ( 1 Sam 23:29 ; 24:1) whilst Solomon wrote of his love “ as a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En-Gedi” ( Song of Songs 1:14) A true oasis, it is surrounded by rich lush agriculture while nestled among the mountains of Moab. Engedi, fed by one of only two fresh water springs along the dead sea, and renowned for its balsam and palm trees, consists of a waterfall and pool. It was at this Oasis that David found refuge from the heat, thirst and hunger in the dry arid places of this wilderness and sought protection from Saul who was seeking to destroy him.
For David, En-Gedi was a physical fortress, a stronghold – an oasis in the desert. A place of protection, of provision, renewal and solitude. David would have been desperate to make his way there out of the harsh elements of the desert as he fled from Saul. In Psalm 63 he cries out to God :
“ Oh God, you are my God
Earnestly I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water”
And again in Psalm 57, moving into the cave at En-Gedi :
“ I am in the midst of lions,
I lie among ravenous beasts,
men whose teeth are spears and arrows.
Be exalted O God, above the heavens,
Let your Glory be over all the earth”
Can you sense the desperation in his prayer? What desperation he must have experienced – physically tired and exhausted, emotionally drained, spiritually dry….and still he cried out to God:
I cry aloud to the LORD
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
Before him I tell my trouble.
David is open with God. No falsehood, or formula. no Religiosity only Truthful and Real. He offers in his prayers a true reflection of what he is going through and experiencing and feeling. Even surrounded by a fortress and oasis, David felt lonely, downcast and low in energy and spirit,and so he cried out “God save me!” He bears his soul before God and admits he has nothing, and seeks Gods Presence, Protection and Provision, and then in Psalm 18, David declares triumphantly:
“I love you Lord my strength,
The Lord is my Rock,
David lived by the one principle that had encouraged and kept him through all his trials and ordeals. The principle of “ Withdrawal to a solitary place for prayer”.
Jesus lived by this principle too…
“Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35) “ But he would go away to lonely places, where he prayed.” (Luke 5:16) “At that time “Jesus went up a hill to pray and spent the whole night there praying to God.” ( Luke 6:12) “One day when Jesus was praying alone,” (Luke 9:18)
Jesus withdrew often and he prayed. When times were tough, he prayed. When his ministry was going well, he prayed. His strength, his anointing, his wisdom and divine guidance came because he prayed.
Jesus prayed in spite of what was going on around him. Jesus prayed because it was his lifeline to God, his success, his livelihood. His life depended on him making the time to “withdraw often and pray” Scripture reminds us to:
“Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray.”
“Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people.”
“Prayer is the most important activity we can undertake. Faith, Hope and Love, is a condition of the heart, but it is Prayer that takes us to that condition. PRAYER is not so much about content, as it is about connection. Prayer is foundational to our walk with Christ.”
CONNECT WITH GOD TODAY – PRAY.