Have you ever had the experience of feeling “trapped”?
When my children were small, they used to like me to chase them. At different times we would create “games” where they would have to stay on a predetermined circle, line, or area with safe spots along the way so that dad could not “get them”.
One such time was when on one of our vacations we played “tree tag”. We were at a camp ground on the west side of the state and were camped right next to a stand of about 5 tall trees which formed a kind of circle. The idea was that if you were touching a tree, dad could not “get you”. If you were able to run from one tree to the next without dad tagging you, you scored a point. So, I would stand in the middle and Evan, Emilee, and Elise (Ethan and Everette were still too small at the time) would run from tree to tree before dad could “get them”.
Another time we were on vacation up near Frankenmuth. At the time Birch Run had an NHL ice rink that only lasted a few years. Well, one year when we were up there we decided to go skating at the rink. As it turned out, we were the only ones there in the entire rink. So, I played a game (again with the three older) where they had to start on one end of the rink while I was in the middle. They had to make it down to the other end of the rink before I could “get them” by tagging them.
One thing I remember about those games was the absolute fright that would be on the faces of the kids at that moment when they knew they were “trapped”; no way of escape as dad had them hedged in and was going to “get them”. At that moment of realization there was a look of absolute terror on their faces…especially as I recall, Elise’s face. They would often (especially the girls) let out a frightened little scream.
I wonder if that is how David felt in 1 Sam. 23:24-28. David was on the run from Saul. Saul had already attempted to kill David on several occasions. On this particular occasion, David and some of his men were in the Wilderness of Maon with Saul in hot pursuit. The chase was coming to a close on a mountain with David and his men clambering up one side of the mountain and Saul and his men closing in on the other. The text says, “As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them…” David was trapped. It looked like Saul was going to “get him”. I wonder if that terrified look that my kids used to get when they knew they were trapped, came upon his face.
All of sudden a messenger came to Saul telling him to “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” At that news, Saul, so close to capturing David, had to break off his pursuit. David, seemingly trapped, had escaped. Therefore, the name of that place was named “The Rock of Escape”.
One of the great names of Jesus Christ in Scripture is the Rock (1 Cor. 10:4). In the most profound way, he is our Rock of Escape. Even as sin had us cornered and Satan was about to “close in”, Christ delivered us from the guilt and punishment of our sin by dying on a cross. It is in that same passage in 1 Cor. 10 that we read the oft quoted verse 13; “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, the you may be able to endure it.” Now, one might tend to think that Paul is talking about “logistics” here. In other word, that Paul is talking about God providing some machination, some backdoor escape, some open window when the door is shut that would provide you with a means of escaping the temptation or trial. I think Paul, having already identified Christ at the Rock is now saying in v. 13, “the Rock, Jesus Christ, is the way of escape.” You will notice the definite article (“the” as in “the way of escape”. Paul is not taking about “a” way of escape as in “one of many”. He is talking about “the” way of escape. Also note, that he is not talking about removing the temptation or trial, but that you will be able to “endure” the temptation or trial. In this Paul is telling us Jesus is our Rock of Escape. Our faith in him and the power of the Holy Spirit he has given to us in salvation, constitutes Jesus as our Rock of Escape, our way of enduring through the temptation without sinning.
We are never “trapped”. We never have to surrender to the sin and temptation with which Satan attempts to “get us” by trying to trap us. That’s because Jesus is our Rock of Escape. Sin will confront you today. Don’t surrender!