Contrasting Ways of Responding to God’s Presence
My last post highlighted king David and bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. To the Israelites and David, the Ark clearly signified God’s presence in their midst.
This post examines two contrasting ways of responding to God’s presence from 2 Samuel 6. As the Ark comes into the city, on its way to the temple, Scripture tells us about David’s response as well as the response of his wife, Michal.
David chose to respond in several ways:
He responded seriously. I pointed out in my last post how the first attempt to move the Ark was not done God’s way and Uzzah died as a result. David found out what went wrong and fixed it. One of his counselors or the Lord Himself spoke to David and he listened. Being a man after God’s own heart, David understands. He didn’t seek the Lord before, but now, he listens and does what is right in God’s will and ways.
He responded transparently. In 2 Samuel 6:14 we read, “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.” David let go in worship. He danced and he wore a linen ephod instead of his royal garments. An ephod was like a very long T-shirt. He approached God informally and without pretense. He didn’t need his kingly clothes—He wasn’t trying to impress God. He’s vulnerable and open.
He responded passionately. He was dancing with everything he had (v. 14) as he was “leaping and twirling before the Lord (v.16).” Max Lucado wrote, “The Hebrew term portrays David rotating in circles, hopping and springing. Forget token shuffle or obligatory waltz. David-the-giant-killer becomes David-the-two-stepper. He’s the mayor of Dublin on Saint Patrick’s day, hopping and bopping at the head of the parade.”
He responded personally. 2 Samuel 6:21 says, “It was before the Lord.” David didn’t have any fear of criticism from others or their opinions. He chose to be a God-pleaser instead of being a people-pleaser.
David’s wife, Michal responded differently. This open and emotional display disgusted this image-conscious woman.
She responded despising David. Going back to verse 16 we read, “and she despised him in her heart.” She was preoccupied with what everyone might be thinking or saying. David responds in obedience and love for the Lord, Michal responds with hate in her heart.
She responded with sarcasm. 2 Samuel 6:20 says, “And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘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 fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!’” Herbert Lockyer wrote, “When they met, she with a biting sarcasm, revealing her ‘self-pride, and lack of sensitiveness to her husband’s magnificent simplicity’. . .for she had no regard for the Ark of God (1 Chronicles 13:3).”
She responded with accusations. Michal accuses her husband of “uncovering himself like a base fellow shamelessly.” She points her finger at him and accuses him of fraternizing with the lowest element of society, implying that he’s not dignified enough to be king. She completely misses the point that he had been expressing all-out praise and worship of God.
What can we learn from these two different responses to God’s presence?
- Our own lack of intimacy and passionate biblical worship can cause us to be judgmental, sarcastic, and accusatory of those who are passionately and biblically worshipping the Lord. We must be careful.
- We can be so occupied with what everyone else is thinking or saying that we aren’t free to worship God with our whole hearts.
- Our growing experience with God has everything to do with how we respond to Him. David completely surrendered. He danced and shouted before the Lord. His response produced gladness (v. 12), sacrifice (v. 13), shouting (v. 15) and he blessed others (v. 18). This was the result of responding to God’s presence the right way; God met them and blessed them!