Tuesday, August 23, 2011

divested of dignity

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 6:14-15

This was a realistic worship in its purest form. David has longed for Jerusalem, his new capital city, to house the tabernacle for the worship of the Lord. And now the time has come to see this dream become fact. As the ark of the covenant is carried through the streets of the city, David leads the joyful procession. He dresses, not in royal robes that draw attention to him as king, but in the simple linen ephod that any Levite might have worn in service before the Lord, showing himself to be a willing worshipper. It is a humble designation.

David is exuberant, and he worships the Lord as the musicians loudly play by leading the procession in a free-form whirling dance of pure joy! He is running and spinning like a child in the freedom and joy of the home of his father! It is a liberating and instructive worship. Israel sees the king humbling himself joyfully before God. It was a deeply spiritual and also a wildly happy day for David and the nation.

Of course, this is not kingdom protocol. And someone gets upset. In this case, that someone is Michal, daughter of Saul, David's wife. She chides David for his lack of royal decorum (2 Samuel 6:20) and expresses her snide disapproval. She did not get it. While the entire nation rejoiced with the king in worship of God, she held back because she could not see that the true King of Israel was honored by the ark's coming into Jerusalem.

Thankfully, David does not let her sarcastic lecture deter his enthusiasm for God's worship. He plainly tells her that he would gladly humble himself even more in worship of His God. He is willing to strip himself of all dignity before God if that is what worship means. He refuses to let stuffy palace propriety ruin his heart before God. And in so doing, he shows us that kind of passion we ought to bring in our own worship of God.

I am afraid that for many evangelicals, a relationship with God and worship of God is shackled by the trappings and protocols of worship decorum. And it can be different in different church settings. You hear things like: "We have to have a quiet prelude with piano and organ"; "We need a band and laser lights!" "No musicians! They are a distraction!" "Lots of music and a full orchestra!" The list is really endless because it boils down to a personal cultural preference. We need to instead bring our own hearts into worship, whether corporately or privately. There we humble ourselves, divested of our dignity, to find God's wonder-filled grace and the true meaning of worshipping our great God.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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