“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, 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.” 2 Samuel 6:16
“…’It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord-and I will celebrate before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of who you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.’ And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:21-23
Let me set the scene here: David has just done what was astonishing, he has brought the ark of God back into the hands of God’s people. This wasn’t just a trip to the storage unit with a borrowed van. This was a life-altering move of the presence of God that cost one man his life in the process. David dared to believe that the presence of God was so important that he would move the ark just to have it in his house. It took a few attempts to get the ark moved so when it was clear that they were hearing and following God on how, David is overcome with joy and he dances his way into the city. He dances so much the he loses his royal garb and is down to his undergarments. He doesn’t care, he’s in the presence of God and he is praising his King and he is undone.
David commanded respect because he was the king. With that title came certain expectations around how he should dress and how he should act and certainly dancing in his underwear wasn’t desirable. When his wife saw him, she was surely embarrassed and concerned about his behavior. She was angry that he would expose himself and act outlandish and thereby risk shaking the opinion of others about him, and her. She had a choice to make as she saw him coming into town: she could have been questioning but excited to see him rejoicing or she could have been irritated and criticize his actions. She chose the wrong option.
Because she didn’t understand the full picture, she allowed a spirit of criticism to fall over her and she judged David. She assumed that he was acting crazy and undignified for no good reason and she despised that he had removed the outward appearance of the king. He had shattered her expectations of how he should behave and she was not willing to even ask why. What was everyone going to think? How would the people react? Michal got caught up in the reputation of her husband as king and judged his acts of worship because it didn’t fit in her mold.
David was recklessly abandoned to the movement and presence of God and he was undone by joy. God had just allowed him to accomplish a daunting task. God’s presence is now in David’s house! David didn’t care that he was king, he didn’t care the he was in his undergarments and he certainly didn’t care what anyone else thought. He was following God and doing what he knew he was supposed to do and in that moment, he was overwhelmed with joy and sheer delight. He had thrown off the role people had expected him to play and he was a child before the Lord. His reputation couldn’t be less of a concern than it was in those moments, he was dancing his heart out in worship before God.
I love how David reacts to Michal. She’s just ripped him up for following God and acting in a manner that she feels is unbefitting a king. The spirit of criticism is pouring out of her and she is distraught at his actions. There is no support for David from his wife, only judgement. The enemy is so clearly present in her words and heart and she has only daggers for David. But David is still worshipping God in his heart. David is completely comfortable knowing that he is acting the way God has called him to act and what other people think, even his close family, is of no consequence, God trumps everyone. He could have allowed the spirit of criticism to bring him down, make him feel bad and stop praising. Instead, David looks at her and says, “I will make myself yet more contemptible than this…” (v 22) He isn’t willing to let go of the moment and step out of the presence of God, no matter what it may cost in is his reputation. He declares in that moment that he is willing to lose it all for God. He is going to recklessly abandon everything in order to pursue the heart of God and follow Him no matter what. God wins!!
In the end, Michal lost the ability to have children because of the spirit of criticism and that would have been a harsh blow. She didn’t understand how God was moving in David’s life and instead of having faith in David, and God, she judged what was happening and allowed her desire for a good reputation to win out over her desire to be moved by God. Because she was unwilling to accept that God would allow David to act this way, God removed His blessing from her.
There is a warning and an invitation for all of us in this passage. First the warning: don’t allow a spirit of criticism cloud your ability to see God moving. God is God and He is able and allowed to move people however He sees fit. God doesn’t want you to desire to please man, He wants you to desire to please Him. God may move someone in your close circle to do what seems strange and you may want to say something and I encourage you to pray about it first. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean that God isn’t in it.
Now the invitation: dance. Dance before God and all that He is doing. God is moving all around you and He is constantly inviting us all to get into agreement with what He is doing and worship Him. If you see someone who is doing something out of the ordinary but is convinced it is the call of God, pray for them and dance with them. We’ve all got enough critical words in our heads to last more than 10 lifetimes, we don’t need more. We need to be supporting each other in prayer and in deed. Express concerns only after you have prayed about them and feel that they may be from God. We all need that kind of support so long as it is genuine and not just reactionary. Don’t allow a spirit of criticism to remove God’s blessing on your life. Likewise, if God stirs you to go outside the box, follow Him! Dance with all of your might and shake off the hold this world has on you. Dance with reckless abandon as you pursue the presence of God.
God is able to do whatever He wants and sometimes, it looks crazy. Actually, I’m finding that the closer I walk with God, the crazier my life and choices may look to man. I’m getting more and more ok with that as I get to the place of David where I can say, “I’m willing to get even crazier so long as I’m following God”. We no longer have the luxury to live like Michal in judgement, now is the time to live like David in reckless abandon to the will of God.