2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
“Dancing Before God”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Have you ever been so immersed in worshipping God…that you completely forgot about yourself…that is…you lost all sense of self-consciousness?
If you have, then you have indeed experienced true freedom!!!
True freedom is to dance before God in such a way…with such enthusiasm…and at all times…and in all places that everyone you meet…and everyone who sees you will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven because of them!
Of course, we know that not everyone will accept the message that we preach…
…not everyone will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and thus be saved from sin, death and hell…
…and those people may look upon us—as we dance before God—and despise us in their hearts!
Perhaps they resent that anyone could be so happy in this life…
…perhaps they are jealous…
…perhaps they want nothing to do with God…
…perhaps they have chosen the darkness over the Light…this world and Satan over Jesus Christ and eternal life…
…perhaps they are just too self-conscious themselves to allow themselves to dance before God.
Remember the Words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning we see David dancing before God: “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might.”
David was so fully immersed in worshiping God, in fact, that he didn’t realize that his linen ephod, the small ceremonial apron in which he was dressed, was falling off him…
…leaving him fully exposed to the whole company of Israel!
We read in verse 16 that “Michal [Mee-call]…watched from a window. And when she saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.”
Have you ever felt as if someone despised you because of your enthusiasm for the Lord?
There aren’t a whole lot of guarantees in this life…but this one is for sure…
…if we worship God the way we should…
…if we do what He commands of us…
…if we witness to the world about the Great Salvation that can only be had by giving one’s life wholly over to Christ…
…there will be some people who will despise us for this reason and this reason alone!
But let us never allow the judgment of the world to stop us from dancing before God!!!
Let us never allow anyone to take away the joy of our salvation!
May we never be persuaded not to witness, not to praise God in the sight of others, not to tell the world about Jesus simply because some people will cut us down because of it.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia he writes: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all.”
Paul goes on to say: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Who’s approval are we trying to win?
I’ve heard it said so often that in many places the Gospel of Christ is no longer being preached…instead…people are saying things that they think others want to hear…
…well, to this, Paul says: “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
Those are some very heavy words!
We are called to be the stewards of God’s Word…of God’s truth…
Who are we trying to please?
Are we declaring God’s truth…no matter what others might think or say about us?
Just imagine what a difference we could make in this world…if everyone who has been born of God…would do what God has called us to do…
…what if we were to all dance before God with all our might…
…being so fully immersed in worshiping the Lord, that we leave ourselves fully exposed to the whole world?
We might get persecuted…
We might get laughed at…
But many, many others would see the truth and come to know Christ as Lord and Savior!
And this is the only cure for our world!!!
Without Christ, this world is going to hell…
…do we care enough to forget about ourselves and be real servants of Christ by only trying to please God?
In the passage immediately following today’s text, we read that after this festive worship celebration: “David returned home to his household…and [Mee-call]…came out to meet him and 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 [Mee-call], ‘It was before the Lord…I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.’”
A seminary professor once said, “True worship, like prayer, is God-ward.”
Our worship is toward the Lord of heaven and earth, toward the Holy One, toward the transcendent One!
Our worship is not to be addressed to each other, but toward God.
David was so caught up in worshiping God that he didn’t notice his revealing ephod.
And [Mee-call] was so caught up in watching David and his revealing ephod that she forgot to worship.
David worshiped with his whole heart, mind, soul, strength, and body!
[Mee-Call] seems not to have worshiped at all.
Oh, what she missed out on!
Instead, she cuts David down!
She despises him!
But David refuses to worry about [Mee-Call’s] critique.
We can almost hear the aching, pleading in David’s voice, as he challenges [Mee-Call] to get over herself, and join in worshiping the Lord.
Because true worship is not a spectator sport!!!
According to Richard Foster’s book, The Celebration of Discipline: “To worship is to change. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. If worship does not change us, we have not truly worshipped.”
The word “liturgy” does not mean “the work of the pastor.”
Nor does it mean “the work of the worship leaders.”
The word “liturgy” literally means “the work of the people.”
To worship is to change.
To stand before the Holy One of all eternity is to change.
If we leave worship and we have not been changed, we have not truly worshiped.
The Word of God is alive and active.
We are never to dare to approach the living Word of God by sitting back and relaxing!
It is alive and active and sharper than a two-edged sword.
It was written for you and for me today every bit as much as it was written for those who lived thousands of years ago.
Church is not a place where we come just to have our minds stimulated, and we are given something to think about.
It’s a place where we engage the living God---the Holy One of all eternity—and so we leave and we change and our whole lives are a dance before God!
Let’s get specific.
Today, do we dare to enter the text about David and [Mee-Call] and let it change us?
Do we dare, to expose ourselves to the Living God and the rest of the world?
King David knew how to worship!
He worshiped with his whole being—he poured out the deep, passionate love he had for God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Is this how we worship God?
True worship does not stop when we leave this building!
True worship cannot be contained!
True worship is a daily dance before God…
…therefore, when we arise in the morning…we are to worship God…
…at work, school or play we are to worship God.
Because true worship is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. True worship is to let the power of the living God live in us!
Remember the movie Jurassic Park?
One of the best parts of that movie was when the funky, bohemian scientist said: “Your theme park idea won’t work! The life force is too great—too powerful—too explosive! It will find a way to burst out of the bindings you’ve constructed for it!”
That’s what happens when we worship the living God!
As Christians, the word ‘life’ should always be written with a capital ‘L’.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
In the resurrection we see that all the Force, the Power of Life, is in Christ breaking through the bindings of the grave…
…bursting out of that cave…
…rolling that stone away…
…exploding all of the boundaries we had constructed for Him---for Christ…for Life with a capital ‘L’!
And when we break out of the boundaries that this world has constructed for us---with the Living God in our hearts we become truly a part of LIFE!
I heard a story about a young man.
He had received a Bible from his grandfather.
He hatefully tossed it aside, resentful and disappointed at not being given cash.
One day he casually flipped through the pages of the Bible while sorting through his belongings.
To his amazement and horror, a check for a large sum of money—enough to buy a new car—fell out of the crisp pages of the never-opened book.
His grandfather had died a long time back; the bank account on which the check was written was long closed.
Tears stung the man’s eyes as he realized how ugly and foolish his behavior had been.
He had not been appreciative of a devoted grandfather.
He had missed out on many opportunities, not only for the new car but, more important, for a warm and caring relationship with someone who loved him dearly.
How many of us are like the ungrateful man in this story?
God blesses us with all we could ever want or need.
But we stumble around, either complacent or self-centered…
…searching for instant…
…though fleeting gratification…
…And what a wonderful inheritance we miss!!!
Jesus Christ has promised that if we would only die to this life, take up our cross and follow Him…
…we will have more than we could ever hope for…
…Life, bubbling over into eternal Life…
…and the ever-present joy of the companionship of our loving Savior throughout this earthly life!
If we truly worship God, then our lives, like David’s will be seen by others as we leap and dance before the Lord!
Our lives will preach the Gospel.
Our lives will reflect our worship!
Our lives will embody our love for God and for our neighbor!
And the Lord will use our lives to reap a great harvest of souls!
Are we dancing before the Lord with all our might?
There is no greater freedom!!!