David: The Illustrated Novel by Michael Hicks Thompson

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Offered in conjunction with David:The Illustrated Novel, sponsored by the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation in association with explorefaith.org.

Week 1: The Glory and Mystery of God
The Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapters 4, 5 and 6 has the worried Israelites bringing the ark onto the battlefield to ensure God’s presence and guarantee victory over their Philistine enemies. Unfortunately for them, God’s ark is not a lucky charm....

Week 2: Trust in God
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will act for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”—1 Samuel 13: 6

Week 3: Faithfulness and Frailty
In David’s story, we learn about strength and frailty, honor and double-dealing, humility and arrogance, all in one man.

Week 4: The Heart of the Matter
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16: 7

Week 5: Comfort and Care
David cares for Saul through his music, relieving his suffering and becoming a companion to the ailing king. We too have opportunities to help relieve the suffering of others by using our gifts in unexpected and soothing ways.

Week 6: When We're Afraid
And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.—1 Samuel 17:4-5

Week 7: Practicing Faithfulness
We too can develop practices that can undergird our faithfulness. Through prayer, meditation, study and worship we can familiarize ourselves with God’s promise and learn to trust more and more that it will be fulfilled.

Week 8: Mindfulness
Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd's bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine. —1 Samuel 17: 40

Week 9: Letting Go
David IS a threat to Saul’s position. David is God’s chosen— the anointed king of Israel, successful in all that he does. Saul is aware of that truth at a core level, and he lets it eat away at him.

Week 10: Being Human
What we are is human, with all the dreams and nightmares, kindness and self-absorption that characterize our human state.  Yet as flawed as we are, we are still the agents of God’s action.

Week 11: Friendship
Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, "The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.' " —1 Samuel 20:42

Week 12: Facing Adversity
How do we feel when we run from danger? Most likely, we have no blood-thirsty king dogging our heels, but there are times when it seems that no matter which way we turn, our enemies turn with us. Our every move is mirrored by the movement of that which we most want to flee.

Week 13: Responding to Evil
Now we see the face of evil. No longer are we dealing with interpersonal conflict, as destructive and horrible as that may be. Saul’s malevolence has moved to a systemic level. Anyone associated with David—including his family and those who come to his aid—is in mortal danger from the crazed king.

Week 14: The Unvarnished Truth
Of all the stories about the numerous, and often treacherous, encounters between Saul and David, this perhaps is the most powerful and poignant.

Week 15: The Art of Diplomacy
Salvation lies, as it does so often in the stories of scripture, in the most unexpected places. Nabal’s wife Abigail wisely perceives the severity of the situation and swiftly acts to quell the danger. She is savvy, astute, resourceful and brave, quick to employ diplomacy to right the wrongs committed by her rash and stupid husband.

Week 16: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Sometimes, we are confronted with situations  so difficult that, no matter which way we turn, the path before us looks bleak and forbidding. To make matters worse, when we finally choose the route that seems least injurious, there are no assurances that our choice is right, that things might not go from bad to worse.

Week 17: Divining God's Will
When have you been desperate to know God’s will? What did you do? What methods did you employ? How did you attempt to forge a connection? 

Week 18: Drowning in Despair
So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes and went there, he and two men with him. They came to the woman by night. And he said, Consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one whom I name to you.—1 Samuel 28: 8

Week 19: God's Chosen
Much of David’s story thus far has centered around the demise of Saul and his seemingly endless efforts to derail the ascendancy of David, God’s anointed successor to his throne. Yet in this episode, Saul is not the antagonist. David must confront problems caused by some of his own followers.

Week 20: Grief and Lament
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson, in luxury, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.—2 Samuel 1:23-24