The Caves of Engedi


While some were off to hang out with Mickey over Spring Break, I headed down to Southeast Ohio and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with the youth group on a mission trip. We spent the week working for the poor of that community building handicap ramps and moving a furnace and hot water heater to the main floor of a house so that flooding can’t destroy them anymore. It was a good week of work, Bible study, and laughing with the youth.

At the end of the week we rewarded everyone by traveling to Hocking Hills State Park, renting a beautiful log cabin (complete with hot tub), and chilling for a couple of days before we headed back to Michigan and the resuming of our normal lives.

Hocking Hills is a wonderful park filled with trails, waterfalls, neat rock formations, cliffs and caves. We hiked a couple of miles to see Old Man’s Cave, which is probably the most famous attraction in the park. Old Man’s Cave is named after Richard Rowe, an old hermit who spent his days wandering with his hounds amongst those very rock formations looking for wild game, drinking the water from that creek, and sleeping in those caves. Here’s some pictures:

The morning that we hiked at Hocking Hills my devotional reading focused on a somewhat similar story; David hiding from King Saul in the wilderness of Engedi. You can still find Engedi on the map South of Jerusalem and just West of the Dead Sea. Now here’s some pictures of Engedi:

When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. (1 Samuel 24:1-2 ESV)

A couple of chapters before we are told who was with David: “And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” If you wonder how David and four hundred men could hide you aren’t accurately picturing Engedi. It’s a land punctuated with all kinds of twists and turns and tons of natural caves in the rock.

And speaking of caves, that’s when the story of David and Saul gets interesting.

And he (Saul) came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way. (1 Samuel 24:3-7 ESV)

Eventually David calls out to Saul and reveals just how close he was to him and that he could have taken his very life.

As I walked the trails of Hocking Hills I couldn’t help but think of David and his men hiding in the rocks of Engedi. If you look at pictures of Engedi and Hocking Hills they look almost identical. Hocking Hills is greener and Engedi is more desert, but the similarity is amazing. It’s also amazing to me how God’s Word comes alive when we’re willing to open the Bible and read what God has to say to us. It was pretty cool which passage came up in my devotions that morning, but then again, I don’t believe in a god of chance.



About gregarnett

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:10) I've been told that the above verse comes to mind when people think of me. I strive to use all of my gifts to God's glory in all the ways He's given me to serve. I serve him in my day job as a Director of Christian Education. I currently serve St. Paul Lutheran Church in Caro, Michigan. At St. Paul I am responsible for the ministry to and with youth, grades sixth-college, and the educational ministries of the congregation. I also lead the contemporary band, organize mission trips and Servant Events. Besides my day job I also am an entrepreneur that runs an Etsy online shop. Basically I make unique items out of wood and broken hockey sticks. You can find my Etsy shop here: I have been married to Cathy since 1987. My grandpa joked on his 50th wedding anniversary: "that's a long time to be married to one woman!" They made it to 64 years, so Cathy and I are just starting! Together we have three children: Nathan, Ben and Emily. I like to play guitar, bass guitar, cigar box guitar and the djembe. I also enjoy woodworking, hunting, gardening, backpacking and participating in sports. Racing triathlons is my current sporting passion and mid-life crisis buster.
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