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Category: 2 Samuel

Dance Like Someone is Watching

Have you ever heard the saying, “Dance like nobody is watching”? This saying is basically an encouragement to not be inhibited or worry about what other people think. To just go for it with abandon and be authentic and true to yourself without fear of judgement.

This morning while reading 2 Samuel 6 I read about a time when David did the opposite and danced like somebody was watching.

As David and all the house of Israel were bringing the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom in to the city of David there were horns and shouts of joy sounding in the background and we’re told,

And David danced before the LORD with all his might.
2 Samuel 6:14

King David. The anointed of the LORD. The guy who killed Goliath with a sling and a stone and ultimately severed the giant’s head. He’s dancing. And not just dancing but he’s dancing “with all his might”.

Let’s just pause for a moment. If we’re honest with ourselves, how many of us would have lost total respect for David at that moment? How many of us would have given the signal to the ushers to grab him  by his arms and escort him to the exit? After all, that’s not orderly worship, is it? I mean, heck, it’s uncomfortable enough with all the folks raising their hands and swaying back and forth during their favorite praise songs. But dancing? That’s crossing the line, right?

That’s exactly what David’s first wife Michal (Saul’s daughter) was thinking. She was watching through the window and observed the whole spectacle with her own eyes.

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

And later, after David had placed the ark in the tent he had pitched for it, offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and blessed the people, he returned to his own household to bless them. He didn’t receive the nicest greeting upon arriving home.

And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”

2 Samuel 6:20

Now I can only guess as to what was going on in Michal’s heart and mind when she said these things to David but if I had to guess I would say that she’s more concerned with her own reputation and with being embarrassed than she is with God being rejoiced in and praised. It also seems like she’s questioning David’s motives and thinking that rather than worshipping God he was trying to attract the attention of the ladies in the crowd. She’s probably also judging David based on what she deems to be an acceptable way to worship and praise the LORD. After all, in that culture at that time, dancing was typically reserved for women only.

Really, Michal is no different than a lot of us. We have our biases. We have our own ideas for how things are to be done. We have standards against which we deem things to be acceptable or not. The problem is that we discount the variety within God’s creation; within His people. We limit the ways that the Holy Spirit works. We question and judge the motivations of those who may comfortable experiencing more freedom in their worship than we are.

But David obviously had no problem humbling himself and dancing before the LORD. In fact, I have a feeling that he couldn’t have helped himself if he tried. His dancing was an expression of worship and was a natural response to the overwhelming joy he felt as the ark of God was restored to the people of Israel.

Now, I’m not telling you to dance or not to dance. In fact, I’m pretty confident you won’t see me dancing any time soon. But I do hope that you and I will be filled with so much joy in the LORD that we feel like dancing. I hope the joy of the LORD abounds in our lives such that it takes a lot of effort to not dance. And if you ever run in to me I hope it’s obvious that I’m dancing on the inside. And just know that it’s all for His glory.

Inquiring of the Lord

And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
2 Samuel 5:19

As I was reading in the book of 2 Samuel this morning I found myself spending some extra time considering the fact that “David inquired of the LORD”. As I’ve spent time this year in both 1 & 2 Samuel as well as 1 Chronicles I have seen many instances where David inquires of the LORD before taking action. “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?”, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?”.

If David, a faithful and courageous king who would ultimately be referred to as a man after God’s own heart took the time and initiative to inquire of the LORD before taking action, what are some of the barriers or hindrances that keep us from doing so?

The reality is that we could probably come up with a list that is quite long but following are three barriers that hinder us in inquiring of the LORD:

  • Lack of humility – we like to think (and we like others to think) that we have it all together and can handle pretty much anything that comes our way. Asking for help is an acknowledgement that we don’t necessarily have all the answers and indicates weakness. Inquiring of the LORD requires humility and more often than not, our humility is sorely lacking.
  • Lack of patience – in our always connected world, we expect instant gratification. We don’t inquire of God because quite frankly, we don’t feel like waiting for Him to answer. We need to act and we need to act NOW! And typically we do just that and then ask God to bless our decision and/or action without ever proactively seeking his guidance, will and blessing.
  • Lack of faith – this is probably the biggest barrier. We don’t inquire of the LORD because we don’t have faith. We don’t have faith that He is available, listening or that He even cares. We don’t have faith that He can really do anything to help us.

So, if a lack of humility, patience and faith are keeping us from inquiring of the LORD, what are we to do? How about David? Did he struggle with any of these things? David certainly wasn’t perfect but I think we are able to find some encouragement from his life and how he learned to exhibit humility, patience and faith as he inquired of the LORD.

Humility

And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, my father’s clan in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?”
1 Samuel 18:18

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O LORD, became their God. And now, O LORD God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
2 Samuel 7:18–29

Patience

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14

I waited patiently for the LORD;  he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:1–3

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalm 62:1–2

Faith

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Hebrews 11:32–34

And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
1 Samuel 17:37

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
1 Sa 17:45–47

I don’t know about you but it’s my desire to be more faithful in inquiring of the LORD before taking action or making decisions. To humble myself under His mighty hand, to patiently wait for the LORD, and to believe that He cares for me and He hears my cries but even more, that He is sovereign and His will be done for His glory alone. And in that, may I know peace and joy.

Taking a census: trusting God in the decision making process

making decisions by using a pro and con listHow often have you made a decision based on a carefully considered list of pros and cons? Or, perhaps you’ve made a decision based on whether or not you had enough money. Perhaps, even though you were sure that God had called you to do something, you didn’t respond in obedience because the timing just didn’t seem right or the right doors just didn’t seem to be opening? How many times have you placed more faith in your reasoning and decision making skills than you have in God?

I was reading in 2 Samuel 24 this morning about David taking a census of all the people in Israel and Judah. By doing so, David seemed to be putting more faith in his numbers than he was in trusting God. He was also assuming ownership of them as resources to accomplish his own purposes instead of maintaining his rightful position as a steward of that which God had provided. And he (and the people whom he led) was punished for it.

Now I would never make a blanket statement that says we should not carefully consider the information available to us when making decisions. But I am thinking that we need to be careful about where we put our faith, hope and trust.

Are we going to trust more in the things that fall in line with popular opinion, financial analysis, or our pros vs. cons list? Or, are we going to trust in the name of the Lord our God and submit everything we do to Him, seeking His wisdom and His guidance along the way and walking in faithful obedience to that which He reveals?

Just my food for thought for the day.

A Shield About Me

This morning my reading included Psalm 3. This is the first psalm that includes a title and for me, that is quite a perk since it allows me to better understand the context around it. The title that is given reads, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son”. Referencing back to the book of 2 Samuel provides the background on why David is fleeing from Absalom his son.

It all begins with David’s son Amnon’s affection for his sister, Tamar. The long story short is that he ends up deceiving her and puts her in a position where is able to violate her. This despicable act causes David’s other son, Absalom to despise Amnon. Absalom concocts a devious plan and ultimately murders Amnon. Absalom then conspires to overthrow David and assume the role of king. While in Jerusalem, David receives the message about all that is happening and that the hearts of the people are now with Absalom and he decides to quickly flee so that Absalom will not destroy him and the rest of the city. Now, I’m not sure if David wrote Psalm 3 while he was fleeing or if it was after the fact, but it is this story from 2 Samuel that provides the context for the psalm.

The psalm can basically be broken down in to three parts:

  1. David acknowledges the situation in which he presently finds himself (many foes rising up against him)
  2. David finds faith and encouragement by recalling how the Lord has come through for him in the past
  3. David asks the Lord for help

I find this to be a great model and a wonderful example of how a Godly man should respond to difficult and challenging circumstances. David doesn’t ignore his troubles and hope they will go away on their own. He also doesn’t become so focused on them that he becomes paralyzed and is unable to act. No, he comes to grips with the fact that he is in trouble and needs some help. And David makes it clear that he knows exactly where his help comes from. He even takes the time to remember how many times before he has witnessed God’s faithfulness and care and provision in his life. Remembering God’s deeds and meditating on all of God’s wonderful works can be a source of great encouragement.

David remembers God as “a shield about me”. Take some time to visualize that for a second. Remember, a shield is not an offensive weapon. It is primarily defensive in nature. And also, having a shield doesn’t mean you won’t be attacked, it just means that you have something to protect yourself with when you are attacked. Can’t you just picture David with this powerful, strong, gigantic shield that is protecting him from all of the challenges, issues, struggles and dangers that he has faced in the past? That is how David sees the Lord. Is that how you see the Lord?

And finally, after David has acknowledged his situation and remembered the Lord’s faithfulness in his life, David prays. He humbles himself to say, Lord, I’m in trouble but you have always been faithful to me and I need your help again. How often do I take the first two steps only to leave out the praying part? I try to be prayerful and more often than not, I commit most things to prayer but I would be lying if I said I did that all the time. No, all too often I just take action without first seeking the Lord. All too often I get so wrapped up in thinking about my present troubles that I forget how the Lord has proved himself faithful. But I am glad that this morning, David has provided me with an example to follow.  And who better to follow after than a man after God’s own heart.

Lord, I thank you for your Word. I thank you for how it instructs and encourages. I thank you for David and the example that he has provided for me. God, forgive me for the times that I have worried and become anxious, focusing so much on my problems that I lose sight of you and miss out on experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding. Thank you for how you have always proven your faithfulness to me even when I am unfaithful. Lord, help me to see you as a shield about me. When the storms of life come, I desire to take refuge in you. And Lord, forgive me for the times I have taken action without first pausing to seek you in prayer. To you be all the praise and glory, forever and ever. Amen.

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