When you think of a king, what do you imagine? I picture a large throne, very regal-looking robes, and a dignified expression on the king’s face that makes you feel like this guy has everything figured out. Even the kings of old, when they rode into battle, I would still imagine gold-embroidered armor, an immaculate sword, and a battle-hardened expression that would cut limestone to pieces.
King David certainly was all of these things during his reign over Israel, but he also always knew his place as second to the true King of the Universe. And, one time in particular, David stripped away all of the kingly exteriors around him to unveil the true worshiper of the Lord within him.
Seven years after David was named king over all of Israel, he led the Israelites against the Jebusites, claiming their fortress as his own. That fortress, Jerusalem, soon became known as the City of David and would eventually be host not only to the royal palace but to the Temple as well.
After claiming Jerusalem and following another victory against the Philistines for Israel, King David decided it was time to bring the ark of the covenant into the City of David. Concerned about bringing the ark, which represented God’s presence among the Israelites, into Jerusalem, David had the ark make a pit-stop in the house of Obed-Edom, a Levite, for a few months. Once it was clear that the ark had brought a blessing upon Obed-Edom instead of a curse, David determined it was time to bring the ark into its new city of residence.
So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the
City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord
had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod,
David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were
bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
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 6:12b-16 NIV
Then, a few verses later…
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!”
David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father
or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—
I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this,”
2 Samuel 6: 20-22a NIV
David was singing and dancing in such a crazy manner that his wife was EMBARRASSED. The same Michal who a few years earlier had chosen him over her father, lying to Saul and helping David escape when Saul attempted to kill him (1 Samuel 19: 11-17), was now absolutely embarrassed by the actions of David.
But David wasn’t dancing for her approval or for the approval of his people as king. He was singing before the Lord and, because the ark of the Lord, which represented God’s presence, had finally reached the City of Zion. God’s presence was now with him.
Reflecting on this passage really makes me wonder why we, why I, don’t act in anywhere near the same manner as David today when we worship God. The earnest singing and dancing to the Lord by David… don’t we have God’s presence with us all the time now? I mean, David wasn’t called a man after God’s own heart because of some military victory, but rather because he faithfully tried to serve and worship God through every moment. Aren’t we called to do the same?
Now, I have to stop here with a bit of a clarification. The message I am trying to get at isn’t that all of us need to be singing and dancing in the same crazy, undignified manner as David. I am just about the worst dancer you will ever find (two left feet doesn't come close to describing it). The purpose in this passage is to be fully surrendered to God in worship like David was. To praise Him with no reservation, no care about what others who see you may think. For some, that may be singing and dancing unabatedly. For others, it might mean putting your hands up, singing a little louder, or even standing there as rigid as a stone wall as the presence of God washes over you.
Regardless, we are called to worship God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and with every moment of every day. We don't have to go before an ark or to a temple to be in the presence of our God. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, we have already received the ultimate victory over death and now have a way, through Jesus, to spend Eternity with our Father in Heaven. And as believers, the Holy Spirit is within us, a permanent mark that God is with us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NIV