Verse: 2 Samuel 6:13-16, 6:20-23
Media: Court scene from Footloose
I love movies. I can quote them, I know who the actors are in them, I love soundtracks, I love the stories they tell... I love movies. One of my favorite ones is Footloose. Now mind you, not the new one. The REAL one. The ORIGINAL one! In getting ready to speak tonight, I analyzed why it is that I love(d) this movie so much. When I saw this movie for the first time I was probably about 13-14. I loved to dance! Ballet, jazz, school parties- any kind of dancing, you name it, I was there.
Now my dad on the other hand- not such a huge fan. He was okay with the ballet, but not the rest of it. So, whenever I wanted to go to a party, it was a huge battle with him, that usually ended in him saying something like “Well, I’ll trust you’ll do the right thing... and I’d go to the party.” So, when I saw this movie I was like “Oh my gosh! Someone went into my brain, and made a movie about me! Okay, they added a Kevin Bacon, it’s in a small town, it happened before I was even born, and the girl is kind of easy, but other than that... totally me.”
I’m going to show you one of my favorite scenes - cue video.
Whenever I saw this scene, I would look at my dad and go “mhhhh-mmmm!” And my dad would tell me that the verses were being taken out of context, and that that’s not what they were about, but by that point they were back to dancing, and I wasn’t listening anymore.
Fast forward to this month. We’ve been talking about worship in our Sunday school class this month, and that same story about David came up up, and I immediately thought “Woooo! Footloose!!!” And then I actually read what they had to say, and I went back to the Bible.
“And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.” 2 Samuel 6:13-16
“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!” And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince[a] over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your[b] eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:20-23
Here are the things I found out.
1. Worship not performance
Check it out. David didn’t dance for anybody but God. The King of Israel was literally in the street, dancing and shouting for the Lord. It wasn’t for a crowd, for a woman, and he didn’t care what the people around him thought. He was worshipping in mind, body and soul. He was so thankful to God for the return of the Ark, that he let go of any self-awareness and danced with reckless abandon. It was not a performance, where the dancer was main center of attention. There was no audience, no applause, and no congratulation. These are all elements that we should remember when we are worshipping God or ministering through the arts. Even though, naturally there is an audience, because we are dancing as a ministry, we are not performing for an audience, we are worshipping God. Although, of course applause feels good, and it may even feel deserved, remember that the applause shouldn’t be for you, it should be for the message you portrayed to someone. People will inevitably congratulate you, I try to congratulate you because I know how hard you all work. But even in that situation, you should always point the attention back to God. Remember that the focal point shouldn’t be the worshipper, but that the focal point should be God.
There are plenty of wrong reasons to worship. Like, the cute worship leader in your youth band, whose type is probably the “worshipful” type. Or, because the people around you are doing it. Or, my personal confession. When I first got engaged, for months I only “worshipped” with my left hand. My bling sparkled so beautifully! But like I said. All of our surrounding need to me removed, to where we can focus all our attention on He who deserves worship.
2. Judge and be Judged
When reading this passage, I kind of felt for Michal, because I was thinking “If Dan were dancing like a mad man, in an undershirt, or what have you in youth service, you’d better believe we’d have a very similar chat.” But, I’d never had really noticed that last verse until now. “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” Obviously there was something that God found fault with in what she said. Also, I’ve learned enough about God to know that it’s not usually about WHAT people say that He has issues with, but rather the MOTIVE and the SPIRIT behind what they say.
So, I decided to read what Michal said to David again. She said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” She mocked him, spoke down to him, and called him vulgar. Her issue with him wasn’t necessarily that he was half-naked, because actually, I found out that the “ephod” was just a simple commoner’s robe. So her problem was that he wasn’t behaving in the way that she thought a king should act. He had acted in uninhibited worship, and now he was being judged for it. Isn’t that the main reason that we fear worshipping like that? Because we’re afraid someone will pull a “Michal” on us? That someone might think or say something like “when she knelt down I could totally see her spare tire popping out” or “Did you see how crazy they looked jumping up and down, with snot coming out of their face?”
And do we not think things like that about other people? Things like, “How can they be worshipping, when I know they have sin in their lives” or “Seriously, that kid has no rhythm.”
Are these the things that worship is about? Are only the well dressed, thin, coordinated, graceful, musically inclined, pulled-together, sinless people allowed to worship? Because if that’s the case, we would have very silent church services.
I’ve always loved music and loved God, so naturally I’ve always loved worship. When I was about 9, I was in a worship service in Hungary, with my hands in the air, when an elderly lady behind me said “oh, how cute!”. Now, she didn’t mean to hurt me by what she said, but to be quite honest, she kind of broke my spirit for a little while. Because I wasn’t trying to be “cute”, or even imitate what I saw around me. I was worshiping God, and that was all I was doing. She judged, not even maliciously, but she did judge my motive. And it effected my attitude towards worship for a couple years.
Michal judged her husband on “not looking the part”, and as we know, judgement is reserved for God alone. So God punished her.
Don’t judge the worshippers around you. We all have plenty of things we could be judged on, but aren’t you thankful that Jesus already took care of that? And that we are free in Christ? We are free to dance, free to sing, free to worship God with everything within us.
3. Strip Down
Like I said before, King David was wearing an Ephod. This wasn’t a G-string, a loin cloth or a speedo. It was the outer coat of a commoner. This is not what he would’ve normally been wearing. This means that he would’ve had to have taken off his royal, kingly robe. That means that he humbled himself before the Lord. There was no hiding behind what or who he was to man, there was no acting. When it comes to God, we are all equal. It doesn’t matter how we look, what our background is, or who is sitting next to us. What matters is whether or not we come to God in honesty, not hiding anything from him and spiritually “barring all”.
It’s easy to pretend we’re a certain way with others. We can say the right things, act the right way, wear the right clothes... but with God? We can’t do those things. He sees right through what you’re saying, to what you’re thinking. He sees right through how you’re acting to the way you’re feeling. He sees right through your clothes, and sees your heart. There’s no reason to put on a show for God, and yet we do it all the time. In our worship we tend to be “me”, “self”-centered instead of God-centered.
That’s why we should take the example of David. If anyone had any reason to act a certain way it was David. And yet he was so moved in his worship to God, that all that mattered was that.