Lesson 280: "God's Portrait of David"
At one time I fancied myself an artist and painted a few landscapes. Then I found a grouping of portraits that a local artist had painted and asked him if he could teach me to do portraits. He said he could teach me to mix paints and to blend the colors but I should paint what I knew. God knew David and painted us a magnificent portrait of the man after His own heart. He sat up his canvas in the shape of Israel, and painted gently rolling hills with lush green grass and still waters.
Amid the small flock of sheep he created a young David sitting on the green grass with a heart just like His, filled with love, compassion and discernment for mankind. This peaceful picture soon changed to the responsibility of serving the Lord as God mixed oil with the paints and with one powerful swipe of the supernatural brush He anointed young David as King over Israel. Again more colors were added to the palette when God led David to King Saul’s tent to become his attendant. Here the Lord added musical color to the picture and a harp in David’s hand to soothe the king’s misery from the evil spirits that tormented him night and day.
Now the colors became dark and dirty when God painted a giant on the hill and sent David with a sling and a few small stones to go against him in the name of the Lord. David was a fine looking young man, a brave man and a warrior, spoke well and the Lord was always with him. Because of all these things God had to break out the tube of envy green to smear over King Saul and even though David successfully did everything the king ordered him to do, Saul was very angry. This scarlet anger turned to a black murderous rage as the king ordered priests, men, women, children, cattle, donkeys and sheep to be put to the sword because they had befriended David. The darkened clouds dipped down to mingle with the russet colored dust that David and his men stirred up as they continued to flee from Saul, all the while fighting against the Philistines; God giving them into his hands.
Saul continued to pursue David with the intent of killing him but with the help of God, David managed to elude the crazed king’s vengeance. Twice Saul is led directly into David’s hands but each time David, knowing that Saul was the Lord’s anointed refused to lay a hand on him. “As surely as the lord lives, the Lord Himself will strike him, but the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed”, said the mighty warrior to his men. Saul was killed by his own sword and the love and compassion for his master overwhelmed David and all the men with him. The gray color of mourning came upon them and they wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, David’s best friend. David was king at the age of thirty; some fifteen years after the Lord had originally commanded the anointing oil poured over his head by the prophet Samuel. He did not take the throne and sit issuing orders but continued to don his weapons and defeat all he came against. On the canvas, God painted a grove of balsam trees and told David to listen for the sound of marching in the tops of them and he would know the Lord, the Artist, the Creator and the Victor had gone in front of him to strike the enemy armies.
Everything David did was orchestrated by God just as the design of the Ark of the Lord that David brought into Jerusalem. There was a bit of trouble here when the “carrier” was not built by the specifications of the Lord and one of the men, Uzzah, caused the burning anger of God and he was struck down and he died there beside the Ark of God. David was afraid of the Lord and the next time the Ark was transported to the city, it was done very slowly and precisely. This move was so successful that David got it in his mind to build a tabernacle, a house, for the Lord but God said that duty would be saved for another but promised He would never take His love from him as He took it away from Saul. “Your throne will be established forever” were the tender words of God to this man after His own heart to whom He gave victory wherever he went. The king’s mighty men were loyal, the people adored him and his kingdom grew, but still there were armies determined to take David down so the shepherd-king-warrior continued to fight. He killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers in one battle.
One spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men but he remained in Jerusalem. Bathsheba, wife of one of David’s mighty men, entered the king’s life and so did the sound of shattering the 10th Commandment; the color of yellow bile ruining a perfect potrait. A bad decision turned to disaster when Bathsheba became pregnant, putting David in the position to weave a deadly web of lies and deceit. After his ploy to trick Uriah into going to Bathsheba so the baby would appear to be his, he then ordered the warrior to the front lines to be killed, thus leaving his widowed wife and her unborn son to David which displeased God greatly. He told David through the prophet Nathan how deeply his disappointment was etched into his heart and assured his servant He would avenge Uriah the Hittite. The Author of life took the life of David’s newborn son but in time gave him another, Solomon, whom God loved and would establish upon his father’s throne. Though David had shed much blood in his battling days I do believe this shed blood of Uriah was the main reason that God dipped his brush into the crimson red which He dribbled onto His servant’s hands. “I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me; ‘you have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight”’ (1 Chro. 22:7-8). This is where and when God painted Solomon, a man of peace and rest into the picture.
The last of the colors are mixed! The ebony shadows of the valley of death seeped onto the canvas! “Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David” (1 Kings 2:10).
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