As I have been pondering the life of David over the last few days I have been profoundly struck by the meaning of his name. It's actually where I always like to begin, finding out the meaning and etymology of a name that in turn becomes more of a verb that we get to learn and see from. It occurs to me that once we have these puzzle pieces in play, we can enter the sacred story being told which makes it bigger than the man or woman who walked the planet at a certain time, and offers us layers in which to find wonder, points of wrestle, and usually an opportunity to smile at God's fun play with words.
David, in its most common form, in the English language, means "Beloved" but after some further investigations into the Hebrew roots, it is also interesting to discover that the verb, dawa, from which the name David comes from, means "ill" and "flowing of fluids" (yeah, a little less romantic) and the noun deyo means "ink", which is all connected to this sense of flowing of fluid. All of this of course doesn't take away from the truth that another root to the name is yadad meaning love in the most affectionate and physical form. David ALSO literally means "beloved" or "lovely" and the noun, yedidot, means 'a song of love'. So, yes, there is a lot going on here and I think it all adds to how we might read David's life and how in turn he told his story.
In brief summary let me suggest that David's name denotes a sense of something from the inside becoming visible on the outside, whether that be sickness or the written word coming from the heart, and yes, that action of truly knowing yourself as the beloved must arise from within the secret place and shine on the outside too. In all the life that David lived we see the ups and downs of his choices, the guy was a little all over the place at times but something about his creativity and honesty made me want to write about him for you.
We hear so much about the line of David and the Kingdom of David throughout the New Testament. We know a lot about his life but even more intriguingly, the most about his heart space. I mean, its not like Abraham penned a song for us all to hear his insides and Jonah certainly didn't write a prose to the turmoil of his choices and calling; in fact it's not until we get to the psalms and prophets that more poetic justice is used, although prophets like Miriam did write songs at poignant moments in biblical history that I believe spoke words of community and her own personal journey.
The Psalms that David wrote give us the internal narrative and the accounts of his intimate learning of being a son, a shepherd, a brother and a king. We hear the honesty of one man learning as he walked, from what it looked and felt like to traverse through valleys of shadows and death, to what it means to say no to wearing other peoples armor to fight giants, all mixed in with how delicate a touch one needs to have to pluck a stringed instrument to soothe a soul in turmoil. David was a real human and he wasn't afraid to show it. He showed courage at the crucial moments and sang songs of repentance and anguish for things to change; we hear the yearning of his heart to know himself as beloved. Its really quite moving.
I believe that we get to know David as the beloved because of the life he lived; it was alway there, hidden in his name, and we get the fullness of it all. I hope that whenever you find yourself reading about David you might remember these treasures. That the flowing life blood, the ink of his heart can be a gift to anyone that might need to know themselves as the beloved too. That grace and mercy prevailed and the human condition still ran rampant at times.
David was the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel; Saul was never quite able to make peace between the northern and southern tribes. David had a calling on his life that showed him to be the example of wholeness despite the divisions in his own choices and narrative.
Friends, may we never forget that we too are writing a story within God's story and so much can be discovered in the work of our hands, that we get glimpses of hidden treasures from within us. Taste that cake you baked with a little more consciousness, read your recent journal entry like a psalm of your heart, paint, dance, sing, see your story in the story and smile at the play within words and goodness of your whole being. We are beloved and we are becoming.
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