Read His Words Before Ours!
Distant shouts echoed through the open window and disrupted the quiet. The woman stood and turned in one fluid motion. Her regal bearing and movement did little to belie her royalty. Costly robes whispered across the stone as she moved, and the maiden who stood behind her scurried out of the way with downcast eyes. Michal leaned toward the window, brow furrowed as she searched for the source of the disturbance. At last she could see the object at the center of it all: the ark of the covenant had returned.
And there he was.
King David. Chosen by God, beloved by all. Strong, brave and handsome, David could have married any girl he wanted…and in his youth, he wanted her. Michal had loved the giant-slaying shepherd boy once, too; she had even lied to her father, King Saul, to save his life. But all of that was many years ago, and the dynamic between them had shifted.
Disdain curved her lips as she surveyed the scene before her. Her eyes narrowed as David tore off his robe and tossed it aside, dancing and singing to his God with delight. Cheeks burning, she turned away and blinked back angry tears as her gaze caught that of her young servant. “Get me some water!” she barked. The girl fled at once and Michal returned to the window, stoking the anger that smoldered in her chest.
The scene isn’t difficult to imagine, is it?
Michal was shocked and incensed at David’s willingness to set aside his title and decorum to humble himself before the Lord. Her fury was further fueled that David didn’t care who saw his worship; she was embarrassed that the nearby servants and subjects saw the king’s shameless dancing and singing. What Michal couldn’t or wouldn’t understand is that King David was always ever David, worshiper of God. His passion for worshiping the one true God never waned, and he consistently humbled himself before God all throughout his life. Though David sinned (just as we all do), once he repented and was restored to God, he immediately resumed his lifestyle of worship.
Because that is what worship is: a lifestyle.
Worship isn’t just an act or routine we perform on Sunday mornings at 9 or 11, respectively.
It isn’t a song we sing or a prayer we pray. It isn’t just singing or kneeling or dancing or playing an instrument or painting. It is all of these things, but it is so much more than that. I paraphrase, but in John 4:24, Jesus said that the real worshipers will worship in both spirit and truth. From His words, it is clear that there will be those who claim to worship, but they will not be authentic in their worship.
Michal was a Jew and had been raised as royalty. She had witnessed David’s life over the years and had known him since he was very young. That her husband would humble himself to dance and sing praises to his God publicly should not have come as a surprise, but she was so focused on outward appearances, and the opinions of others, that she overlooked the beauty behind it. Rather than rejoicing that her husband’s whole heart was soft and obedient to God, she was furious that he would embarrass himself…and her…by behaving in such an “un-kingly” fashion. In her self-righteous anger, Michal didn’t recognize that David was simply modeling a lifestyle of worship.
Would others recognize that same lifestyle of worship reflected in our lives? Are we persistent in worshiping God in our hearts, words and actions, day in and day out? Do we worship with the same fervor and passion in turmoil that we do when life is easy? Do we worship without thought to our appearance or what others might think of us? Do we worship openly, even when we know what they will think of us?
Michal and David’s relationship went through many highs and lows just like any other relationship… more than we could possibly know from this one snapshot. Her reaction to David’s jubilant worship of God paints a rather grim picture of her attitude, but it does shine a light on areas we may need to examine within ourselves. When we look into our own hearts, can we honestly say that we have never observed someone else worshiping and felt something similar to Michal? Maybe someone raised their hands just a little too high, sang a little too loudly or off-key. Perhaps our neighbor in the pew beside us swayed a little too much or the leader “got a little too carried away.”
As my pastor is fond of saying: Don’t raise your hand. I won’t, either.
A lifestyle of worship involves many layers, and as we consider what a lifestyle of worship should and does look like this week, let’s ask for guidance from the One we worship.
Father, you made us and know our hearts. We aren’t perfect, but You are. We give you full reign in our hearts and lives. Help us model a lifestyle of worship, to become worshipers in spirit and in truth. Teach us what that means and how to apply it in our daily walk. Help us to recognize when our focus shifts to others’ opinion rather than Yours. You are the only One we want to serve.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!