2 Samuel 6: Will you celebrate before The Lord?
Are you willing to become undignified in worship?
One of the first things David does once his rule is established is to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The ark had been captured by the Philistines in the days of Eli, returned to Israel, but kept on the border town of Kiriath Jearim for twenty years (see 1 Samuel 4:1-7:2). David rightly wants to put the ark at the center of Israelite life in the new capital of Jerusalem. He wants the city to truly be not just the city of David but the city of God.
However, the ark returns with difficulty. At first the return is joyous, David and the people celebrating with songs and music before the ark on its ox-drawn cart. But the oxen stumble, the cart tilts, and Uzzah touches the ark to steady it. God strikes him dead for his irreverent act. This puts a temporary halt to the joyous celebration. David is so afraid of the Lord that he leaves the ark in the care of a nearby Israelite named Obed-Edom. Only when God blesses Obed-Edom for three months will David find the courage to bring the ark the rest of the way to Jerusalem.
Even the entry to Jerusalem is marred by misunderstanding. David is so overjoyed at the presence of the Lord that he leaps and dances in front of the procession. Such behavior causes his wife Michal to despise him as undignified, accusing him of “disrobing in the sight of the slave girls” (v. 20). Her concern here does not seem to be modesty (the Hebrew term translated “disrobing” might mean more like “showing off”), but for her own embarrassment. This is not how a king should behave! However, David cares nothing for the dignity of his position, only for the joy of the Lord. Because of her shame at his behavior, David shuns Michal and she has no children by him.
Do you have thoughts about your own dignity when you are worshipping? Many — maybe we ought to say probably all of us — have thoughts for ourselves, how we’re perceived when we’re worshipping. How does David’s example impact you? There’s a song that came out years ago with the line, “I’ll become even more undignified than this!” that comes from this story and David’s response to Michal’s embarrassment and calling David out. Are you willing to become undignified in some way to serve or worship the Lord?
God of joy, may we dance in celebration of your presence.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.