David was an average boy who grew up in a small town in the countryside. He, along with his brother, sister, Father and Mother lived in a comfortable home that held so many good memories. Each day brought the same rhythms of living. School, chores, Father going to work, Mother cooking and tending the garden and home.
The town was small enough that everyone knew everyone. You could reach one end to the other by walking, so David did a lot of walking; to school, to run errands for his mother, to meet his friends for games in the field. There was no trouble because he knew he was safe. The town was safe because the kingdom was safe because their King…was good.
David had never met the King personally of course, but His banner was as much a part of Davids life as the coverings on his own bed. The Kings banners hung above every gate, every bridge and above the doors of important offices.
Being the oldest, David often traveled with his father to nearby towns to gather supplies for his work. As they left town, the banners of the King waved them goodbye. And as they approached their destination, the same banners welcomed them. It never occurred to David to be afraid of traveling with His Father. The Kings banners were flying. David and his Father were safe and welcome.
All was well in the Kingdom, and life for the citizens was good because the King was good.
It was a good life. Yet, it never really occurred to David that it could be otherwise. Until one day a messenger ran into town with an announcement from the King! A threat had arisen from far away. A king, very different from their own, had gathered his strongest men to raise up an army. They were marching towards the kingdom with a clear intent steal, kill and destroy.
The King was putting out a call for all men, capable and strong, to rise up and join the King in a battle to defend their land. Fear gripped everyone, including David. He looked up to his father as they listened to the announcement. His jaw tightened and his fists grew tight around his the handles of his bag. His father was a good man and he was strong. He would join the armies and fight with the King.
The ride home was full of any thoughts and emotions swirling in Davids head. But, they didn’t talk until his father spoke. “David” he said “You know that I will join the men and defend out kingdom. Our King is a mighty warrior. He is strong in battle. Our enemies will surely be defeated, but we must fight.” David listened quietly. He knew the things his father was telling him about the King, but it was good to hear them all the same. “You are a young man now. You are growing fast and you’re strong.” The Kings armies will need young men to help with many tasks in the camp. You will be a great asset to the Kings army and a great comfort to me.” Davids heart was beating so hard he had to look at his fathers mouth to make out what he was saying. “David, will you join the Kings army? Will you be brave and travel with me and the other men?”
The rest of the ride really was quiet. Davids mind was filled with questions and imaginations.
Would they win the battles?
What would it be like when men were wounded? How would he react?
Would his father be wounded?
Would there be enough food or would they go hungry?
Would he get to see the King?
Would the King be as good as David had heard and imagined? What if He wasn’t?
As they approached home, while they were still a little ways off, David looked up. In the distance he could see the Kings banner waving, tall and beautiful, welcoming them home as it always had.
The days following the announcement were very different from normal. They will filled with busyness and preparations. The atmosphere was sober and heavy. Within a week David and his father were traveling with the other men, aiming for the battle. David felt queasy thinking about the fact that they were moving in the direction of the enemy. They were intentionally getting closer to a battlefield and farther away from the comforts of home and the people they loved. It felt wrong. Everything in him wanted to turn and run! As they began to get closer to the camp, they could hear a low rumble of activity; metal, wood chopping, fires burning… he could smell it before he could see it. Then, the road turned, the trees cleared and there, waving a welcome were the Kings banners. They were bigger and more numerous than David had ever seen. They were glorious and beautiful. The banners were situated around the exterior of the camp, a circle of familiarity, comfort and safety. At the sight of them, David took a long deep breath, realizing he had been nearly holding his breath. Looking more closely as they approached, he noticed that they had the same colors and designs, but each banner said something different. He began to read.
Beginning and End
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
And on and on, farther than he could see, the banners encircled the camp.
As they passed through the line of banners, David looked up. He could see the textures of the them as they passed under and through the line of banners. They waved away the queasy and almost paralyzing fear that had gripped David on the journey.
Within days, David found himself at the far rear of their great army, ready to supply the soldiers and care for the wounded. His father was somewhere in the middle. The King was leading the way. The banners were flying overhead all throughout.
The battle was begun. It began with thunderous sounds that seemed to drown out his own thoughts. He could see arrows flying through the air. The smell of smoke became pungent and stung it stung his eyes. This was battle. How would their men know where to go? There was no way they could always hear the voice of the King or his commanders as they gave orders. It was too loud. How could the men in the rear or the far sides of the battlefield know to keep fighting, keep pushing forward? What if they were losing ground in the front? What if the King had fallen?
David watched from the far hillside. And he learned. In all the battling, the noise, the smoke and the confusion, one thing stood out. Clear, tall, unmistakable, leading the charge, imparting courage and strength…. The banners of the King. Hour upon hour, day after day the Kings army pressed the enemy farther and farther from their land, the banners of the King showed them the way.
Victory was won. The enemy finally retreated. There were casualties and losses. The men fought bravely under that command of their Great King. Davids Father was wounded, but alive. He would bear the scar for the rest of his life.
The army rested and replenished in the camp for several days before returning to their homes.. As they journeyed from one town to another, their companies grew smaller as soldiers returned home. David had not yet been close enough to really see the King. But, as they approached the first village, the King ushered the men and boys to the entrance. David watched in astonishment as the King spoke words of gratitude and honor for the men who had fought. He gave honor to the families of those who had suffered casualties and loss. When David and his father approached their own home, the banners were still there to welcome them! Oh what a wonderful sight! The King came near them. His face was worn, and David could see that he too and been wounded. The King would carry his own scars, like his fathers. He was a great King in every way the banners had said. Throughout the fighting, they never lacked anything they needed. He remained close to His soldiers and never expected more of them than He did Himself. He lead His people well. And David had learned to trust him. They were home.