Friday, November 29, 2013

Avoid the fate of the worship judge

"David dancing before the ark with all his might" by James Tissot
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 15:25-16:8

TO CHEW ON: "And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart." 1 Chronicles 15:29

Michal is an interesting Bible character. Here's what we know about her:

  • She is Saul's younger daughter (1 Samuel 14:49).
  • She loves David and David pays the grisly bride price to get her as a wife (1 Samuel 18:20, 27).
  • She helps David escape from Saul's murderous rage (1 Samuel 19:12).
  • After David leaves the city to live on-the-run, Saul gives Michal in marriage to another man (1 Samuel 25:44).
  • When David becomes king in Hebron he demands Michal be returned to him (2 Samuel 3:3).
  • On bringing the ark to Jerusalem David celebrates "leaping and whirling before the Lord." Michal watches and despises him (2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Chronicles 15:29). 
  • She goes to meet David, and accosts him with scorn and sarcasm: "How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellow shamelessly uncovers himself!" (2 Samuel 6:20).
  • But David doesn't give an inch. He tells her, "'It was before the Lord … Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this…" (2 Samuel 6:21-22).
  • Michal is doomed to barrenness (2 Samuel 6:23).

Why is Michal so critical of David's worship? There may be many reasons.

Maybe she is a prisoner of her own undemonstrative personality. Perhaps her palace upbringing has engrained in her a sense of how royalty should act. She is obviously hung up on appearances and what others will think. Perhaps too, her own spiritual life is lacking and so she has no category for the passion David feels and exhibits when he worships.  Whatever it is, her scornful reaction to David and his worship seals her fate of barrenness.

I think of this story when I hear people criticize the worship of others. Oh, I know there are guidelines laid down in the New Testament about church decorum. And I believe we should follow these. But in the area of how my Christian brothers and sisters personally interact with God, who am I, who are we to criticize how much emotion they display, whether they kneel or raise their hands, dance or lie face down, weep or whirl? They are, after all, presenting their worship to God, not us. It's for Him to read their hearts. And don't we want to stay out of the realm of spiritual Michal-barrenness?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to worship You with the abandon that David shows, and to keep from judging others for their worship. Amen.

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New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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