I Will Be Lowly in Your Esteem-Lessons from King David

I will be lowly in your esteem-Lessons from King David
Image by Balage Balogh

I will be lowly in your esteem-Lessons from King David

Filled with awe, wonder and the wisdom of God, the Israeli king, “girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon, as he and all the Israelites were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Saul’s daughter, Michal looked down from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord and despised him in her heart…He then distributed to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel, a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake. With this, all the people left for their homes.”

When David returned to bless his own family, Saul’s daughter, Michal came out to meet him and said,

“How the king of Israel has honored himself today, exposing himself in the view of all the slave girls of his followers, as a commoner might do!”

“I was dancing before the Lord…not only will I make merry before the Lord, but I will demean myself even more. I will be lowly in your esteem, but in the esteem of the slave girls you spoke of I will be honored.”

The Divine Office reading for Thursday, July 2, 2020 recounts the transfer of the Ark to Jerusalem providing great wisdom to those of us twenty-first century citizens of this ever-darkening world. Instead of replying with equal or more viciousness, the ancient king recognizes the source of Michal’s words-as should we. He will not be swayed by her insolence.

While pondering this dramatic interaction between Saul’s daughter, Michal, and her husband, King David, I would like to believe that her barbed tongue no longer lurks within me, but I know better.

From the moment I ‘met’ the ancient Israeli King David, upon my conversion to the truth of all things biblical,

I felt as if I had found a friend. This boy, anointed by the prophet Samuel, receives a tsunami of grace. Sufficient to slay Goliath, combat the jealousy of Saul and even his own very human response to King Saul’s many attempts to kill him. But even with that humongous portion of grace, the king fell victim to the dangers emanating from his own idleness.

The words in the Book of Samuel are portentous:

‘It was the new year and the month that the Kings went to battle but David sent Joab and all his officers and all of Israel and remained in Jerusalem.’

Praying the Liturgy of the Hours for over fifteen years has evoked a friendship with this ancient Israeli King. I write ‘friendship’ because of the deep thought, prayer and numerous writings prompted by his fall from grace. Such that each time I read these words in the second book of Samuel, I feel deep sorrow: Just five words but their portent haunted me from the very first time that I read the heartbreaking story of David and Bathsheba. David personifies the fragility of all human commitment, integrity, honor, and nobility…”

The above image by Balage Balogh conveys a man with time on his hands, idly viewing his domain. Pregnant with those first few moments before his gaze lands on another man’s wife, beautiful, oblivious of the fact that the King standing high above the city on his veranda sees and desires her…is ravenous for her…

David’s fall from grace is oddly consoling.

Author of the majority of the 150 Book of Psalms falls victim to lust and greed. And yet, when confronted by the awful truth of his deeds by the prophet Nathan, David does not lie.

To himself.

Or to his God.

I will be lowly in your esteem…

Recently, I was asked who my favorite character is. A tough question for me because so many of the characters in my soon to be seven novels have become dear. But as I reflected on the question, I realized that it is Joe Cairns…the assassin in A Price for Genius and Malthus Revisited. My preference for Joe emanates in part from his lifelong friendship with King David, a relationship which some reviewers call supernatural.

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