Summary: Learn the lesson about worship from Michal as she criticized her husband, David’s, enthusiastic worship.
To Worship God
When someone does something differently from what someone else does, it can raise questions that can have disastrous effects. This is what happened in the life of ancient King David.
Please turn, with me, to 2 Samuel 6. There was a problem that David wanted to solve. The Ark of the Covenant, which was the outward symbol of God’s presence with the people of Israel, was not where it should be. It had been brought part-way some time before we break in on the story, but that had been disastrous. It had been put on a cart, pulled by oxen, and the ark almost fell onto the ground. Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and was zapped- as if God needed His representation on earth steadied by human hands! Discouraged, the ark was left where it was when that happened.
But, time heals, and a good plan doesn’t have to be more than temporarily interrupted. David knew the ark belonged in God’s city.
Let’s begin reading in verse 11 and read to the end of the chapter.
David was ecstatic about the movement of the ark. This time, he had carefully studied what was necessary and went about it with all due respect and propriety. And he was so excited; he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm about what was happening. So, here was this great king- one of the greatest- dancing with all his might, and singing. But his wife wasn’t as enthusiastic about it. Remember that David had ‘won’ Michal when he killed Goliath. Part of the prize was King Saul’s daughter. Sometimes, after winning something in life, people find out that the prize wasn’t all it as made out to be. This was the case with Michal. She was aristocracy; David didn’t have all the advantages of royal training. She looked down on him in what he did and actually despised her husband in her heart (v.16). David, obviously, didn’t do what was expected.
Before we proceed, I want to relate something I heard on Thursday. I heard an interview, on CBC, with Queen Noor of Jordan. In the interview, the discussion came up about a time that her husband, King Hussein, had gone to an Israeli home to comfort a family whose daughter had been killed in a raid by some Arab extremists. King Hussein sat on the floor with the grieving family. The interviewer commented that this is not what someone would expect of a king. Queen Noor declared that he did that, often, in Jordan and elsewhere, as he sought to identify with people where they were. But many would think it inappropriate for a king- a very good king, too- to sit down on the ground floor with someone.
v. 17- 22- in the end, David went home. He had blessed everyone else and wanted to get home to bless his family, but his wife wanted no part of it. She ‘lit into him’ as soon as he walked through the door, complaining and criticizing him for what he had done. In her mind, he had acted like some common person in the community. He had not acted in a dignified manner, as she would expect of someone in his station of life. David was not diminished by her criticism, but was clear that he would do whatever God wanted of him in the course of his serving of God. Notice what isn’t said, too. Notice that David, or God, never said that Michal had to worship God like David did. She simply had no right to criticize him.
Notice the last verse of this story- v. 23- notice what happened to Michal because of this. She was barren. She had no child. In a society where the value of a woman depended on providing children and where the value of a queen depended on providing a male heir, she was prevented, because she criticized David and his style of worship.
In our church, remembering that women, often, typify the church, do we want barrenness? Do we want the curse of Michal on us for the same reason that God put it on her? Do we want to be so ‘cool’ that God curses us? Or do we want to be critical of one another, and bring a curse on ourselves?
I grew up in a large Canadian denomination where, every Sunday, we sang songs- we didn’t worship- we sang songs. When I was 18 years of age, I changed my church home and came to the WCG, where we sang songs- we didn’t worship- we sang songs. Over the past 10 years, or so, I’ve been growing to be able to worship and I tell you, worshipping is better than singing songs. There is a difference between singing songs and worshipping. Singing is part of worshipping, but only uses part of us. In the past, most of our songs were songs ‘about’ God- that’s great in an outreach situation, where we want God’s story to be told. But worship involves singing more songs directly TO God, rather than singing ‘about’ God.