Undignified King David
Quick overview here. Michal was the daughter of King Saul. Michal was given to David essentially as a prize for killing lots of Philistines. Later, Saul had a hissy fit, was trying to kill David and gave her to someone else. After Saul’s death, King David went to go get Michal. That’s the Sue paraphrase, please read 1 & 2 Samuel for the exact details.
As you read through we come to 2 Samuel 6:16-23. This is after King David has brought his bride back home. He is victorious and bring the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David. Michal sees King David rejoicing and praising in front of the Ark. He is dancing, making a joyful noise and simply overjoyed with praise for God. Michal is appalled by his behavior. Hold on to those story highlights.
Let’s see what trusty Merrium-Webster has to say about the word undignified; “lacking proper seriousness or self-control in behavior or appearance”. Proper seriousness and self-control in terms of religious expression conjures up images of very serious and sad ceremonies. Michal thought King David was not being serious. On the contrary, he was quite serious. He understood that praise ushers in the presence of the Heavenly Father. Can you be more serious than that?
One of the definitions for serious is “deeply interested” and ironically enough it is attached to devotion. Think about the things you are deeply interested in. Do you walk around solemn. I don’t. If something interests me I am passionate. I may get loud, jump around and I will probably not look very dignified. King David is overjoyed to be bringing the Ark of the Covenant home. He is deeply interested in praising God, celebrating and rejoicing.
The Rest of Michal’s Story
Scripture states Michal despised David in her heart. She chastises him for being undignified. David basically tells her, “Whatever, I’m gonna praise even more”. (Again Sue paraphrase.) Michal never had children. I can imagine being Michal. She was married off to this man then taken away and married to another. The father, Saul, who juggled her life was dead along with her brother. I imagine that she probably blamed David on some level for the loss of her family. She may have been jealous of David’s other wives. Then as he enters the city with the most holy Ark of the Covenant…he is dancing and shouting like a fool.
The bible states David danced with all his might. Have you seen people dance with all their might? It is not a pretty sight…to us. When done for the Lord, he sees it as beautiful. The same is true for making a joyful noise. To our ears there are some not so joyful noises when singing starts. God does not hear the sour notes, he hears our praise, our worship and he sees our hearts.
I have learned to open my mouth to praise, worship and pray. I am not crazy loud, but I often weep. No, I cry…weeping is more “dignified”. I do not have to be in a church service to have this crying experience. It happens in my vehicle, at home, reading my bible, and praying. My tears are not tears of sadness or pain. These are tears of joy, gratitude and love. I have often felt this was “undignified”. I mean who cries EVERYTIME they are in praise and worship. In recent months, I have come to accept this as part of my worship. Maybe, in time, I will have the joyful giggling or that serene expression some have throughout praise and worship. Just as our prayer language evolves, I believe our reaction and expression of worship evolves as we mature in our faith. I would really love to be a joyful giggler, but my Granny Wheeler was a crier. She cried with ever heartfelt expression of thanks and love. I do not recall it from memory but I would be willing to bet that Granny cried in praise and worship. Her tears were a testimony to the heart she had for both God and people. I am completely comfortable with being known that way.
So what is the lesson? Do not be caught up in what others think of you. To the eyes of man we may look ridiculous, but praise and worship is between us and God, not us and an audience.