Worship times shouldn’t damage human relationships yet King David’s marriage became a casualty. His wife Michal was living her dream—she had married her hero, David (1 Sam. 18:20-29). One lively procession was enough to sour their love.
Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
So they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. . . .
But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!” So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the Lord. I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.” Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death. (2 Sam. 6:16-17, 20-23)
It is not clear what irritated Michal. Was it David’s enthusiasm for God or his scant, fashion-violating attire (2 Sam. 6:14)? She was conscious that other women saw him “uncovered.” Was she jealous or ashamed to be the wife of a “foolish one”? Whatever her reasoning, David was in the dog-house when he got home from the parade.
David’s initial response to Michal contains a lesson about worship, “It was before the Lord . . .” (v. 20) If our worship has an audience apart from God, something is wrong. For sure, we all suffer from self-consciousness, which limits our freedom in expressing our love for the Lord. However, in essence, worship focuses on God alone.
Let’s broaden our definition of worship. All our actions and words can be worshipful if they honor God. That extends the potential for mockery. How do friends and family respond when you choose not to laugh at certain jokes or you return extra change to the cashier? Sometimes when we obey God with a passion it is met with an unexpected slap in the face from others. More often it’s an awkward, isolating silence—they have no idea what to say. David probably spoke the same words to himself that we do: “I’m honoring God. It feels so right and fulfilling! Why the reaction?” Yet, Scripture tells us we will be mocked for Jesus’ sake and that our patient response to the persecution is another form of worship. Ideally, worship propels us from the throne room back to practical Christlike love.
Ironically, David’s second response to Michal failed to contribute to God’s worship. He could have demonstrated the forbearance of love (1 Cor. 13:7), not provoking anger or keeping account of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5), but forgiving Michal. Instead, David threw Michal’s words back at her, thumbing his nose at her family and pointing to his female fan club. Immediately a barrier shot up between them. For sure, “Michal started it!” but David had a chance to respond more lovingly.
David is an example of worshiping before the audience of One; His poor response reminds us that our worship should lead into healthier relationships.
If you would like to receive these posts by e-mail, please sign up (we will not spam, or share your information).