It must have been quite a sight for much of the nation Israel to watch their King dance and rejoice on that glorious day—the day they carried the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem and the City of David. Most of the nation, it seems, was uplifted and greatly blessed to see such a man of God as King David dancing with all his might, not caring about what people thought but instead caught up in the Glory of the Lord.
But there are always some who see things differently… As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. (2 Samuel 6:16)
Her displeasure with her husband (and, by extension, her disdain for the Lord) was more than she could contain. As soon as David got home, she gave him an ear-full.
When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, ‘How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!’ (2 Samuel 6:20)
David danced and Michal mocked, but David went on to say that he would dance before the Lord, and I will dishonor myself and humble myself even more (vs. 22). The joy of the Lord’s presence was more powerful than the criticism of even a close family member. David had found something more valuable and precious that looking good in the eyes of other people—he had found that beautiful place of intimacy with the Lord that drives us to respond with unpretentious joy!
THIS SUNDAY WE COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE! THE ARK OF GOD’S PRESENCE (JESUS!) HAS SUSTAINED AND ENCOURAGED US THESE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS, BUT NOW WE HAVE THE FREEDOM TO COME CLOSE AGAIN AS A COMMUNITY AND REALLY LET OUR HAIR DOWN!
Now, let me let you in on a little secret. David was more coordinated than me, and when I dance, I risk bodily injury to myself and those around me…! But I promise you, in moments like these when the Presence is in the Wind (the Spirit!) and the joy is unmistakable, I am dancing like David—even if it is a bit more internal and less external now than it used to be!
One thing to note in this passage that matters to all of us: Michal was irritated because David was so pure in his worship—he was not putting on a show for anyone else to watch! She wouldn’t have been nearly as agitated had he just been performing theater. Pure worship absolutely drives bitterness, darkness, and religiousness insane!
The Joy of the Lord does not need to be “primed!” The Joy of the Lord is NEVER about pumping up other humans! The Joy of the Lord is not a manipulative tool to try and get others to be more engaged…
The joy of the Lord is truly our strength. I believe this will be a special Sunday as we gather as Israel did and allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the Lord’s Presence. Some may even feel led to dance! Others of us will swing and sway while maintaining a safe social-dance distancing so as to not break any bones or dislocate any hips.
All of us, I am sure, will recognize now more than ever what a gift it is to be able to congregate and worship Jesus as a people. I pray we never take congregational worship for granted again! Even as David (and many others) were overwhelmed that day, I pray the pure sweet joy of the Lord will do so to us this Sunday!