Thursday, April 29, 2010

Warrior Poet

For anyone who is interested in the meaning behind the name of my blog, Warrior Poet, or for the signifiance of the verses posted on my blog header/banner, I thought I should provide a post about it.

I first heard the term, Warrior Poet, used by Irish worship leader, Robin Mark, in Shiprock, NM several years ago. In fact, shortly after that time, he came out with a book called Warrior Poets of the 21st Century. The meaning behind it is very simple. It deals with why and for whom/what we were created; namely, the purpose for which we were formed is to worship God and enjoy Him forever. Our actions and words from day to day speak loudly of who/what we're worshipping and who/what we enjoy. Upon hearing Robin's teaching on the Biblical meaning of worship, I was overcome with joy. Yes, I knew my life was meant for God's holy purposes. But I had yet to understand what such a life entailed. My fanciful heart was taken away by momentary passion, wishing that my emotional, spiritual 'high' could last forever. The years following that time came with painful, shameful, humbling circumstances, disappointments, and betrayals. You see, I had not known that the Lord's purpose that day was to equip me with the words from Him that I would need in the coming years as I entered into my adulthood. He was preparing me for a time in which I would experience deep, painful, inward soul-hunger. The winds were coming, but He was going to prove in my life the divine reality of His word, that the joy of the Lord is truly my strength.

Since I was a young girl, I have had indescribable (I call them 'epic') longings for something so far and so vast beyond myself and this world. They have always been a part of my life. I have never known a life without them. They've been my world of insatiable waves and sighs. I'll be honest, although I should have known what that something was (being raised on the Word and prayer), I was too childish and stubborn to turn to the right Way. My longings, though dulled at times, have never ceased to find fulfillment in something that will take the whole of me and drown me in sweet, eternal glory. There have been one too many instances where I thought I knew exactly where that fulfillment might be found. Everything my heart saw as the Ultimate Good was, within short time, bitterly dissastifying. So many times I have looked upon every good thing in my life and in this world and seen nothing but vexation and emptiness. So many days I have wished that I had the power to bring a close to my life and collapse in defeat and weakness. So often have I grown weary of life; not weary because of continual, exhausting tragedies and pains, but days that bring nothing to my aching soul. Just days of normal living....days that become stripped of meaning underneath the weight of life's little matters. For me, every day has become an irritating weight of nothingness without something to uphold me, to give me a depth of meaning and purpose to live for. I need Someone glorious who will fill me, take care of me, love me, hold me, teach me, mold me, and purify me so that my life will be a pleasing aroma and a joy unto that One greater than I. Over the years of my life, that Someone has revealed Himself to me.
My Lord, my Lover, my King.
He is the very reason that I do or can do anything now. He brings meaning and purpose to each hour of every day with His very prescence.

The significance of my blog and its title ties my life and my heart (its struggles, and longings) to the life of David, who was very much a warrior and a poet. His training as the Lord's holy vessel began at a young age.

David was the youngest of Jesse's eight sons. As such, on him eventually fell the ignoble task of caring for the family's flock of sheep in the Judean wilds. Life in the wilderness was one of the most undesirable things that could be required of a man. While the rest of the family enjoyed hot meals, warm beds and joyous times of fellowship, the shepher was forced to endure the frigid nights and scorching days of the Negev, tedious hours of boredom, and constant threat of danger from wild animals or marauding gangs of heathens.
The wilderness -- where the character of godly men is forged -- would be home for the ruddy son of Jesse for much of his younger years. While most of us ave a difficult time imagining daily life without modern conveniences and titillating entertainment, David spent weeks at a time in desert isolation. With no television, Internet, or video games to distract him, the earnest adolescent spent many hours sitting in the presence of God. It's evident from his early writings, such as Psalm 23, that he was already 'rich toward God.'
~ Steve Gallagher

David was intimately acquainted with the wilderness all throughout his life. When Saul sought David's life, the Lord led him, once again, to the wilds, where David had nothing to lean upon but the might of the Lord Himself.
Before Samuel annointed David and led him into instruction, before David was led to the courts of the king to soothe Saul with music, before David slayed Goliath, before David killed his thousands, and before David himself became King over all of Israel, he was alone with God in the wilderness. All he had was a herd of sheep and his harp. Perhaps he spent hours playing melodies unto the Lord in adoration as the sheep stood by, calmed and quieted. When David found himself in the wilderness of Engedi fleeing from Saul, I'm sure he was overwhelmed with many emotions and fears. Even as he hid in the caves of Adullam, his heart was burdened. And yet, the wilderness was no stranger to him. In fact, it brought him closer to God. In the caves he penned Psalm 142.

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."
Warrior poets are souls who live in daily dependence on the Lord. Warrior poets live in selfless abandonment to their King and do all things for the glory of God. Warrior poets are servants who care for the Lord's people. They are almost always the most unlikely persons to be in the service of the Almighty. And yet, for that very reason, being of little significance in the world and weak in the eyes of many, they are taken underneath the wings of the Lord and made unto His image. This is why I think the Lord's holy purposes in the life of David is worthy of special notice. It is the life I pray for - to be a woman after my Lord's heart, to live a life of continual worship to my King, no matter the circumstances, poured out like perfume onto His feet. I want to always be filled with zeal for my Lord's glory in every little part of who I am and every little thing that I do or say.
Another interesting note about David is that the Lord used him to introduce praise with music into the tabernacle or temple. Before that, there had been no worship there through the gift of song.
Below, I have placed information that I have found about Engedi and Adullam. Those places, their occurences in Scripture, and their significance to the life of a disciple are so fascinating to me.


1 Samuel 23:29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.
Song of Songs 1:14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Fountain of the kid, place in the wilderness of Judah (Joshua 15:62), on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:10), and nearly equidistant from both extremities. To the wilderness near this town David fled for fear of Saul (Joshua 15:62; 1 Samuel 23:29). It was at first called Hazezon-tamar (Genesis 14:7), a city of the Amorites.
The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated in Solomon's time (Cant. 1:4). It is the modern `Ain Jidy. The "fountain" from which it derives its name rises on the mountain side about 600 feet above the sea, and in its rapid descent spreads luxuriance all around it. Along its banks the osher grows abundantly. That shrub is thus described by Porter: "The stem is stout, measuring sometimes nearly a foot in diameter, and the plant grows to the height of 15 feet or more. It has a grayish bark and long oval leaves, which when broken off discharge a milky fluid. The fruit resembles an apple, and hangs in clusters of two or three. When ripe it is of a rich yellow colour, but on being pressed it explodes like a puff-ball. It is chiefly filled with air...This is the so-called `apple of Sodom.'" Through Samaria, etc.

Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia

en'-ge-di, en-ge'-di (`en gedhi, "fountain of the kid"):Identical with the present Ain Jidi. According to 2 Chronicles 20:2 it is the same as Hazazon-tamar, mentioned in Genesis 14:7 as occupied by the Amorites and as having been attacked by Chedorlaomer after leaving Kadesh and El Paran on his way to the Vale of Siddim. The place is situated upon the West shore of the Dead Sea about midway between the North and the South ends, and was included in the territory of Judah (Joshua 15:62). The spot is rendered attractive by the verdure clothing it by reason of immense fountains of warm water, 80 degrees F., which pour out from beneath the limestone cliffs.In the time of Solomon (Songs 1:14) palms and vines were cultivated here. Josephus also mentions its beautiful palm groves.In the time of Eusebius it was still a place of importance, but since the Middle Ages it has been almost deserted, being occupied now only by a few Arabs. The oasis occupies a small area a few hundred feet above the Dead Sea marked by the 650 ft. sedimentary terrace heretofore described (see DEAD SEA). The limestone borders rise so abruptly to a height of 2,000 ft. immediately on the West, that the place can be approached only by a rock-cut path. Two streams, Wady Sugeir and Wady el-Areyeh, descend on either side through precipitous rocky gorges from the uninhabitable wilderness separating it from Bethlehem and Hebron. It was in the caves opening out from the sides of these gorges that David took refuge from Saul (1 Samuel 24:1). During the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:2), the children of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir attempted to invade Judah by way of En-gedi, but were easily defeated as they came up from the gorges to occupy the advantageous field of battle chosen by Jehoshaphat.


Samuel 22:1 David therefore departed there, and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
One of the royal cities of the Canaanites, now `Aid-el-ma (Joshua 12:15; 15:35). It stood on the old Roman road in the valley of Elah (q.v.), which was the scene of David's memorable victory over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:2), and not far from Gath. It was one of the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chronicles 11:7). It was called "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).
The Cave of Adullam has been discovered about 2 miles south of the scene of David's triumph, and about 13 miles west from Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced with numerous caverns, in one of which David gathered together "every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented" (1 Samuel 22:2). Some of these caverns are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. According to tradition this cave was at Wady Khureitun, between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea, but this view cannot be well maintained.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia

a-dul'-am (`adhullam):(1) A city, with dependencies, and in ancient times having a king, mentioned five times in the Old Testament, each time in a list with other cities (Joshua 12:15; Joshua 15:35 2 Chronicles 11:7 Micah 1:15 Nehemiah 11:30). In the list of 31 kings whom Joshua smote, Adullam follows Hormah, Arad, Libnah, and precedes Makkedah. Among the 14 Judahite cities of the first group in "the lowland" Adullam is mentioned between Jarmuth and Socoh. In the list of 15 cities fortified by Rehoboam it appears between Socoh and Gath. Micah gives what may be a list of cities concerned in some Assyrian approach to Jerusalem; it begins with Gath, includes Lachish, and ends with Mareshah and Adullam. And Adullam is still in the same company in the list in Nehemiah of the cities "and their villages" where the men of Judah then dwelt. In the time of the patriarchs it was a place to which men "went down" from the central mountain ridge (Genesis 38:1). Judas Maccabeus found it still existing as a city (2 Maccabees 12:38). Common opinion identifies Adullam with the ruin `Aid-el-Ma, 13 miles West-Southwest from Bethlehem (see HGHL, 229). This is in spite of the testimony of the Onomasticon, which, it is alleged, confuses Adullam with Eglon. Presumably the city gave its name to the cave of Adullam, the cave being near the city.(2) The cave of Adullam, David's headquarters during a part of the time when he was a fugitive from Saul (1 Samuel 22:1 2 Samuel 23:13 1 Chronicles 11:15). Sufficient care has not been exercised in reading the Bible statements on this subject. To begin with, Hebrew syntax permits of the use of the word "cave" collectively; it may denote a group or a region of caves; it is not shut up to the meaning that there was one immense cave in which David and his 400 men all found accommodations at once. All reasonings based on this notion are futile.Further, by the most natural syntax of 2 Samuel 23:13-17 (duplicated with unimportant variations in 1 Chronicles 11:15-19), that passage describes two different events, and does not connect the cave of Adullam with the second of these. "And three of the thirty chief men went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam; and the troop of the Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me water," etc. Concerning these three seniors among David's "mighty men" it is narrated, first, that they were David's comrades in a certain battle, a battle which the Chronicler identifies with Pas-dammim, where David slew Goliath; second, that they joined David at the cave of Adullam, presumably during the time when he was hiding from Saul; third, that at a later time, when the Philistines were in the valley of Rephaim (compare 2 Samuel 5:18), and David was "in the stronghold" (Josephus says "at Jerusalem," Ant, VII, xii, 4), these men broke through the Philistine lines and brought him water from the home well of Bethlehem.The cave of Adullam, like the city, was "down" from the central ridge (1 Samuel 22:1 2 Samuel 23:13). The city was in Judah; and David and his men were in Judah (1 Samuel 23:3) at a time when, apparently, the cave was their headquarters. Gad's advice to David to return to Judah (1 Samuel 22:3, 5) was given at a time when he had left the cave of Adullam. If the current identification of `Aid-el-Ma as Adullam is correct, the cave of Adullam is probably the cave region which has been found in that vicinity.It has been objected that this location is too far from Bethlehem for David's men to have brought the water from there. To this it is replied that thirteen or fourteen miles is not an excessive distance for three exceptionally vigorous men to go and return; and a yet stronger reply is found in the consideration just mentioned, that the place from which the men went for the water was not the cave of Adullam. The one argument for the tradition to the effect that Chariton's cave, a few miles Southeast of Bethlehem, is Adullam, is the larger size of this cave, as compared with those near `Aid-el-Ma We have already seen that this has no force. In our current speech "cave of Adullam" suggests an aggregation of ill-assorted and disreputable men. This is not justified by the Bible record. David's men included his numerous and respectable kinsmen, and the representative of the priesthood, and some of David's military companions, and some men who afterward held high office in Israel. Even those who are described as being in distress and debt and bitter of soul were doubtless, many of them, persons who had suffered at the hands of Saul on account of their friendship for David. Doubtless they included mere adventurers in their number; but the Scriptural details and the circumstances alike indicate that they were mainly homogeneous, and that most of them were worthy citizens.


Nolan said...

Great post, Erika! When I read about how you described your journey and always looking for something more and being raised in the Word and too stubborn to see, I can truly relate! It's amazing to see how He draws his children to Jesus. It reflects His sovereignty and John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..."

We look everywhere to find meaning in worldly things. We try many different ways to fill the void inside which is the absence of God, only to feel the headache of man's erroneous pursuits. And then the Lord draws us to repentance and opens our blind eyes to Him and we truly hear the Gospel message for the first time, and times to come. As John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

Interesting information about Engedi and Adullam. Are you a history enthusiast? It's always interesting to learn about the historical places where so much occurred in the bible. I like that about Mark Driscoll and the Luke series.

The wilderness is wild and free, and I think in modern times we often see it as a place where we don't belong, which is ironic. So much that is beautiful and organic is in the wilderness, away from the cities of man's design.