Last night I read 2 Samuel 6. Verses 14-23 stood out in particular.
Basically, King David was afraid of having the ark in the City of David due to a recent death of somebody that touched it. Instead, he had it taken to a house just outside the city. That whole household and everything they did was blessed and prospered, so David had the ark moved into the city, and everybody celebrated it. Verse 14 says:
“David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.“
Now, Michal, daughter of Saul, watched all this transpire from a window, and she despised David for his behavior.
Then David performed some sacrifices, blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and gave each person food to take home. Then, when he turned to bless his own home, he was met by Michal who said:
“‘How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight 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, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.’
And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”
There have been so many times in church when I have wanted to lift my hands in praise, but I didn’t. Just out of sheer self-consciousness and embarrassment. Those days I don’t leave church as refreshed and spirited as I do on the days when I let loose.
David clearly worshiped like a crazy person. Even he said that in his eyes, he was humiliated, but that he isn’t worshipping for his own enjoyment. His worship is for the God that so deserves his praise. He managed to override the thoughts of “but people will look at you” or “everybody’s watching” or “you don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable” to show God that he is worthy of such praise.
This was such an encouraging story for me because I’m still working on doing this consistently. Reading that David, one of the most famous, wealthy, brave, and respected kings in all of history, danced with all his might, despite how he looked and despite the feelings that would have held him back.
Holding back in worship goes back to our desire for gratification, affirmation, and admiration from man. Something that can take us down very bad paths. We should NOT strive for this. What may be admirable to men may be despicable to God. What may be the right and logical move to men could pull you away from God’s purpose for you.
Also – anybody who judges or persecutes us for heartfelt worship will be in serious trouble with God. He wants to be delighted in, and He’ll be angry with anybody who tries to stop you.
We have to focus on God and what is pleasing to Him. If that means singing out, sing for Him alone. If that means lifting your hands in worship (no matter who is next to you), lift them high and proud. If that means dancing – show your Father how you’ll dance with all your might for him.
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, made for us out of love – let’s show Him how thankful we are and how worthy He is of our unabashed praise.