Cabramatta Vineyard Church

Undignified Worship

In 2 Samuel 6.1-23, the Ark of the Covenant was Israel’s most sacred object. It was supposed to be in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle. It symbolized the throne of God. It sat in Abinadab’s back shed for thirty years after Saul lost it in battle against the Philistines.

David decided to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, which he had established as his new capital city. He brought together 30,000 of his closest friends to celebrate the event. This was a very special occasion.

David gives us a great example of unrestrained celebration in worship. The Hebrew participle literally means ‘making merry’ or laughing. David led his people dancing and singing “before the Lord with all their might.”

However, disaster struck on this occasion because David overstepped the mark and presumed on his relationship with God by ignoring his regulations for transporting the ark (Exod 25.12-14). When Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark, God killed him. David was angry and scared.

The next time, David was very careful to observe God’s requirements (1 Chron. 15.5). The Levites carried the Ark on poles like the book said. The worship was a mixture of joyful celebration and ritual worship, every time they went six steps they sacrificed a bull.

Once again, David led the people of God in worship “dancing before the Lord with all his might.” Another rare Hebrew participle is used here, meaning ‘whirling.” There were shouts and the sound of trumpets. Psalm 47.5 probably recalls this moment.

David was having a great time “leaping and dancing before the Lord”. He stripped down to his priestly boxer shorts (a linen ephod), much to his wife’s disgust.

David’s wife, Michal, wasn’t impressed by the humble, worshipping King. She “despised him in her heart.” She despised him for the very things that made him great in God’s eyes: his devotion to the Lord and his spontaneity in worship.

Michal was more concerned with appearances than with unrestrained worship of the living God. She was worried about what the slave-girls would think!

“I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” I am more concerned to honour the Lord than to worry about my reputation or about what others might think about me.

Who are you more like? David, or Michal, or the slave girls? Are you more concerned about keeping up appearances or about unrestrained worship of the living God?