I had time on my side, so decided to do a bit of drawing. Only this time I didn’t use my pencils, I drew from the Scriptures and did a character sketch of David.
I wanted to know more of the constructs of the character of the man of whom it was said ‘he was a man after God’s own heart.’
Perhaps there are some who don’t know David. In short his life is a lovely story, so worth reading, of a shepherd boy who became a king. Set deep in the trenches of the history of Israel. David seemed to be a well rounded human being.
He was king of Israel, a man among men, yet with a tender heart, a victorious warring warrior, a psalmist, faithful, just and a worshipper of God.
As someone in the courts of king Saul described him
“…. a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skilful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person, and the LORD is with him”
David was at first a shepherd boy, and tendered his father’s sheep in the outback. He must have been a boy of obedience and of courage, for in the wilderness, where lions and bears roamed he took care of the family’s flocks. A boy of contentment, for in the places of solitude he spent his time playing his instruments of praise, and in his loneliness, he worshipped the God of Israel.
He was far removed from the political clamour of the day, and the threat of war with the Philistines.
Then on a day Samuel, the prophet, came looking for a son of Jesse. Of all he found none were suitable, for ‘the Lord does not see as a man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” – 1 Samuel 16:7
Then David was recalled from the sheepfold, and anointed as the new coming king of Israel.
David was drawn into the politics of the day. He, against all odds, killed Goliath the Philistine giant, with the help of God, and five smooth pebbles and his slingshot.
David respected the people, and their appointed leaders. He served king Saul well, but the relationship turned at the jealousy of Saul. David was hunted and persecuted by Saul, and ran for the caves of Adullam for safety. Around him, gathered a mottled lot of distressed, indebted and discontented men. So he became the captain over these 400 men – who would in time become the mighty army of God.
David fought for Judah and won, and so his renown began. And he was anointed by his elders, at Hebron, as king of Judah.
David was a brave-heart. David’s conquests were many. He was a victorious warrior. Do not diminish the wars against his enemies. These were not mere skirmishes in small numbers. ‘David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000 Syrians in the Valley of Salt.’ – 2 Samuel 8:13
Great battles, fought, more often won, made David great and renowned in the region. The enemies of his people were the peoples of Philistine, Moab and Syria.
David had a passionate heart, especially so for Jerusalem. In history he took the stronghold of Mount Zion from the Jebusites. It became known as the City of David, – Jerusalem that has an integral part in the history and culture of God’s people to this very day. And all this may well reflect on the New Jerusalem, the heavenly City to come.
David was explosively expressive, and jubilant when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem, – and David danced before the Lord.
David, was tender-hearted, and loyal, and a mourner. He mourned the death of Saul his king and Jonathan his best friend, when they were killed. At the time David too mourned Abner, the commander of Saul’s army when he was killed by Joab.
Is this were the tear in the nation began, for though they were divided they were of one people.
And it was when Abner made Ishboshebeth Saul’s son king of Israel, that the tear became a schism, and the civil war between the house of David and the house of Saul grew wider.
Eventually David became king over Judah and Israel.
David reigned over all Israel and administered judgement and justice to all his people. – 1 Chronicles 18-14
David knew of the treachery of men’s hearts. At the death of Abner by Joab, his own army commander. The treasonous behaviour of his own son Absalom, who rebelled against his father. And even the treachery of his own heart when he conspired to have Uriah killed in battle, so that he could justify his adulterous affair with Bathsheba.
The son born to David and Bathsheba died, and David mourned.
But in comforting Bathsheba, Solomon was born. He was the one who would build David’s heart’s desire, a temple for God.
David was kind-hearted, and sought out Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son, and provided a place at his table for him.
David readily shared and was generous.
When the ark of the Lord was set in its place in the tabernacle, David …… blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both women and men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house. – 2 Samuel 6: 19.
David shared the spoils of war. 1 Samuel 30:26
Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD” ‘
And thirteen other regions ……. ‘and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to rove.” – 1 Sam 30:31
David was a man after God’s own heart.
God does not look at the outer but the inward heart of man.
God’s favour was with David, and he was victorious in many battles against his enemies. God made a covenant with David – 2 Samuel 7:12
… I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.
16. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your
throne shall be established forever”
This amazing covenant may well be the hint of another coming kingdom, and Jesus the Son of God, who would establish the kingdom of God, beginning its fulfilment in the New Testament.
Even here God was preparing His people among the nations for a future time to come.
David had a heart filled with thanksgiving, and the writing of the Psalms reveals such a heart. The Psalms are given for the understanding of the emotional condition of the heart of man – for all seasons, and in all generations. Those who read the Psalms would have understanding and become wise. David knew God intimately and wrote the psalms from his heart, and from his life experiences.
The LORD is my shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul :
He leads me in the path of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death;
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil,
My cup runs over,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
It was through David that Israel knew their golden years, when they were victorious in war, wealthy through the tributes brought to them, esteemed by the nations around them, were just and generous to their own people, and when their collective wisdom was captured in literature and songs and worship, a great nation at its pinnacle, was being forged through history, for a future story to yet unfold.
If you love stories, you will find many other stories intertwined in the life of David. Stories that reveal people’s hearts and motives, the goodness of God and miracles. His story is a rich tapestry of the human condition, and not much has changed since David’s time, except that everything is now perhaps a little more accelerated.
If I sit back and take a gentle look at David’s life I get the impression that there are far reaching effects of a simple life that worships God, a life that dances before God, can have such an influence on future times to come.
Never underestimate yourself, and the work that God does in your life, woven in for His purposes and His ultimate story, even if it does not make sense at the time.
Like David, let our lives dance before the Lord, and know that He sees the end from the beginning, and that there is more goodness and glory yet to come.