Storytelling through my sketchbook: a critical view of David

For decades, people have told their stories in the most impactful ways. I remember swooning over some storytellers and sometimes, with some narratives, I found it so hard to connect.  I chose this story because I wanted people to view the other side of David. David was almost like a vigilante, a person who saved wrecked Israel from all the surrounding enemies. For many, David was a formidable example. However, David struggled his way to be king. In my story, I view some of the reasons why David pleased God and the reasons why he stumbled. I wanted to tell a story and reinforce my narrative through my sketchbook.

A sketch of King Solomon

A sketch of King Solomon

I choose this story because I wanted to reach out to people who wanted to learn God’s word but found it hard to understand. David was the youngest amongst many brothers, he was a shepherd. All of David’s brothers were enlisted in the army. One day, his father asks him to go to the army camp with food for his brothers. When David reaches the camp, he realises that the Israel army are struggling to fight off the giant, Goliath. King Saul announces a prize. Anyone who defeats Goliath will marry his daughter. David defeats the giant and marries the daughter of Saul.

Saul’s daughter helps David escape into the wilderness before he could be killed

Saul's daughter helps David escape into the wilderness before the King could kill him

When David becomes the son-in-law of King Saul, a threshing rivalry develops between David and King Saul, even though he served the king. The civilians begin to favour David instead of Saul. King Saul burns with jealousy and attempts to murder him. King David escapes death on several occasions and flees into the wilderness. Saul’s daughter helps David escape from the unprecedented attack on David by King Saul.

Bear that in mind, that God’s choice for Saul’s daughter was open-ended. He had to prove his faith in God. Anyone who believed, and was strong enough to defeat Goliath could have been the one.

Saul was anointed to be king without a fight, so he took his position for granted instead of valuing his position as king. However, David fought with a position of faith because nothing came easy to him. He appreciated every victory, every gift because he fought with faith, so God was pleased with David.

Sketches of Saul’s daughter who helps David escape into the wilderness before Saul could kill him

David escapes into the wilderness

David escapes into the wilderness

The first thing that David did after he escapes from King Saul was to reach out to Saul’s son, Jonathan, in the hope of reconciliation. Jonathan and David met in the wilderness, secretly. David expected more from Jonathan: he wanted food, he wanted a place to stay and a job. Even after David humbly bowed three times to Jonathan, he only embraced him and sent him away without any provision. Sometimes, our ego comes in the way. David felt small and didn’t want to ask.

Have you ever been disappointed with a friend? Perhaps, they didn’t give you enough? David was patient with Jonathan. Jonathan was able to see objectively, and decided to disobey Saul, his father, and remained loyal to David because of his patience. He knew his father’s intention to kill David was unreasonable. David and Jonathan remained close friends.

Enemies of Israel on an ancient Israel map

Enemies of Israel on a ancient Israel map

The position of Israel weakened because of internal conflict between King Saul and David, he becomes a fugitive. As a fugitive, David begins to develop his own crew, and God begins to bless them in number. Jonathan begins to favour David, and joins his crew. God rejects Saul and blesses David instead, because David refuses to hurt Saul, while Saul wants to murder David wholeheartedly. David was different, a man after God’s own heart, so he could not kill Saul.

During King Saul’s reign, Israel struggled for peace because of the many enemies on every side – Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines. David and his crew defeat the enemies of Israel and fortify the borders of Israel. Skilled enough to defeat the enemies of Israel, yet David doesn’t touch Saul though he could have pinned him down on several occasions. Eventually, after the death of Saul, David becomes the king of Israel.

David moves into the palace.
Note: The following picture does not depict the actual palace of King David but is sketched for representation

David moves into the palace. 
Note: The following picture does not depict the actual palace of King David but is sketched for representation

After David fortifies the borders of Israel, he moves into the palace. After a hard struggle, fighting off enemies from every side, God gives David rest. However, instead of resting, David gets tempted to sin for a woman. One day, he watches the soldier’s wife bathing from his palace, and decides to kill the solider by enlisting him in the frontlines of the war. The poor soldier obeys David without understanding his motives and dies in the battle.

David watches Bathsheba from his palace

David watches Bathsheba from his palace

There are a lot of reasons people sin. For David, it may have been the feeling of accomplishment, so he thought he could stray. God would have given David the desires of his heart, instead, he married with guilt. After the soldier dies in the war, David marries Bathsheba, the dead soldier’s wife, and faces the wrath of God. David loses his first baby and deeply repents with all his heart.

After the soldier’s death, even though David looked at Bathsheba as a mistake, he was intelligent enough not to abandon her. God blessed their marriage, and chose Solomon, their offspring, to be the next king.

Another crucial decision that bothered me was, why did David choose to construct his palace, before he could construct the temple of the Lord? Why didn’t he prioritise the temple of the Lord above everything else?

Even through David sinned terribly after he  moved into the palace, he made a way for Solomon, his son, to construct the temple of God by peaceful means.  The two characters, David and Solomon, grew up in contrasting backgrounds. David was a shepherd, born to an ordinary man called Jesse, while Solomon was born in a palace, son of King David, who gets chosen by God to be the heir to the throne instead of his brothers.

Images from my sketchbook

King Solomon owned many roe deers

One day, the Lord appears to Solomon and asks him what he wants, and Solomon asks for wisdom. The answer pleased the Lord. The kingdom was already established by David, Solomon may have been slightly intimidated. The bible says that King Solomon’s wisdom was so great that he drew all the kings of the earth to him. He surpassed all the kings of the earth in wisdom, wealth and stature because he was immensely blessed. In those days, cattle was one form of how they measured wealth, so I drew the possible kinds of deer that he owned (Roe deer, fallow deer); he also owned many sheep, goats, horses, gazelles, etc. I collected pictures of the animals and put them on a pinboard, and I drew some of the animals on my sketchbook. During the ancient time, artists would tell stories through rock art, and people would try to decipher the meaning of the art and develop the story through it; this helps cognition.

King Solomon owned deers, goats, sheep and gazelles

King Solomon owned many trading ships that stocked up on gold, silver and ivory

To better understand the success of King Solomon, I made a video presentation of the temple that he built during his reign, which was the desire of his father, David. The video enhanced some of the intricacies of the temple and its grandeur. Many parts of the temple were gilded with pure gold; the inner sanctuary overlaid with pure gold. Every year, Solomon would receive 50,000 pounds of gold. Besides that, he would receive gold from traders, merchants and kings. Every year, everyone who came to visit brought gifts like gold, silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses and mules etc. He also had trading ships that would stock up on gold, silver and ivory.

I made a few observations that may have caused David unnecessary struggle. David should have sowed in the house of God while he fought the enemies. He should have volunteered on the Sabbath days, paid his tithes and eased into victory. He should have ministered the word of God. Solomon was so successful because his prerogative, from the beginning, was to construct the temple of the Lord.

Haggai 1:9

You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.”

My closing thoughts are these: if David could fight the enemies of God as a fugitive and become the king, I am sure we can win too. David had his enemies labelled – Amalekites, Philistines, Edomites, Moabites. A lot of us live in denial and we aren’t fully aware of our obstacles. If we can label our obstacles that hinder us from achieving the God given goal, and conquer them joyfully, we will be winners in God’s eyes.

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