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.