Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dance with Joy

2 Samuel 6: 14, 21-22, NLT

14: And David danced before the Lord with all his might....
21: David retorted to Michal, "I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord. So I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the Lord.
22: Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this...!"

This passage has always fascinated me. For one, because Michal, David's wife & Saul's daughter, is so incredibly judgmental of David dancing before the Lord. She rebukes him and tells him that he looks like a fool. Every time I read this, I want to reach through my Bible and slap Michal silly. David is her husband, the King of Israel. Apparently she wanted to marry David because she was in love with him. (Go back a few chapters for that part of the story.) David has been away from home and she hasn't seen him in quite a while. Yet she calls him a fool and tells him that not only is she embarrassed, but that he should be ashamed of himself, as well.

I get so sick and tired of judgmental people. I grew up in a variety of church denominations: Baptist, Pentecostal, Pentecostal Holiness, Free Will Baptist, Bapti-costal, and Pentecostal in the form of an Assembly of God. Many of my favorite worship services have been when we were encouraged to dance before the Lord with all our might or to shout and Praise the Lord and to rejoice enthusiastically in our Lord and Savior.

We had this one sweet man in a church we attended when I was about 10-ish, Mr. Jimmy Little. He was probably in his late seventies or somewhere in his eighties about this time, so he was definitely an elder of the church who was loved and respected by all who knew him. (He and his wife adored my little sister; they always had candy in their pockets for her and she always made sure to "visit" them at some point during each and every worship service.) One of the most precious things I remember about Mr. Little was his love for the Lord and his way of celebrating Him. Rather than just shout "Amen" during a service, he would do this high-pitched, "Whoop-whoop-Wooooooo!" To this day, almost 40 years later, I can still hear him just as clear as day rejoicing in the Lord in his own way and it brings a smile to my face.

Now if I enjoyed hearing Mr. Little praise the Lord in his own way, doesn't it stand to reason that the Lord Himself was pleased with Mr. Little demonstrating his joy in the Lord? You can't convince me otherwise. I witnessed Mr. Little's joy for myself. He is remembered fondly in our family as someone who gladly made a fool of himself in order to show His joy for the Lord!

Michal was completely wrong in her embarrassment of David, her husband. So much so that not only does David rebuke her and tell her that he is willing to act like a fool in order to show his joy in the Lord because of all that the Lord has done for him, but God, too, disciplines Michal as we read in verse 23 that "Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life." If that isn't a firm statement from God Himself that Michal was in the wrong for criticizing David, I don't know what is! Remember: a woman's main role was to marry and provide sons for her husband, especially the wife (and daughter) of a King.

In the New Testament, Jesus Himself tells us that we shouldn't judge one another: "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged" (Matthew 7:1-2, NLT). It saddens me how in our world today we continue to judge one another--especially those who enthusiastically demonstrate their love for the Lord, or show enthusiasm for anything, for that matter.

In my Sunday School class the other day, we were talking about how difficult it is to remain in a state of joy in the Lord. Once we begin to feel and experience the Joy of the Lord, someone inevitably comes along and does everything in his/her power to steal our joy.

I call them my "Joy Poppers." I imagine them with bows and arrows, shooting at my balloons of joy that God has given me. The loud Pop! whenever they successfully shoot a balloon is felt deep into my very soul and can send me into a depression--if I'm not careful. My ladies were telling me that they feel the same way. Just when they begin to feel true Joy, someone says or does something that makes them feel ridiculous for having felt any joy at all.

So, to all the "Michals" out there, remember that Michal is the one who was ultimately chastised for her judgmental criticism of King David, her own husband, who was dancing before the Lord with all his might. (Isn't it interesting that quite often it's our own family members who tend to be our "Joy Poppers"?) The enemy rejoices when we allow the judgments of others keep us from showing our joy in the Lord with all [our] might. We know that Joy comes from the Lord, those of us who believe, so when the "Joy Poppers" attempt to keep us from experiencing Joy, they are being used by the enemy.

I, for one, refuse to allow the Michals, the "Joy Poppers," keep me from showing my Joy in the Lord with all my might....How about you?
Works Cited
2 Samuel. Holy Bible New Living Translation. Slimline Edition. Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1996. Print.

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