I wrote a sermon this week on 2 Samuel 6:16-23. In this passage, King David of Israel is bringing the ark of the covenant up into Jerusalem effectively moving the center of Jewish worship to that city for the first time. And he is dancing and leaping and shouting praises to God while dressed down to the clothing of a lowly servant! He is humbling himself as the king of Israel before the King of All!
And his wife Michal mocks him for his display of unselfconscious worship! She thinks him a fool and says as much. She disdains his undignified worship!
I have never danced in the aisle of a church (except in Uganda and The Dominican Republic). And a question that this text about King David could easily leave in the minds of the readers is, “how expressive is expressive enough?” What are the parameters of healthy worship? Is it okay to sit quietly, with my head in my hands in worship? Must I dance? Must I shout? Must I raise my hands in worship? I am blogging about this mainly because there are some things that I just cannot fit in a 3,000 word sermon but I still feel like they need to be said.
I do not believe that this passage is recorded in the Bible to prescribe dancing, shouting, trumpets, or any type of external specifics. Instead, I think it is recorded to show us that we should lose ourselves in the worship of God. When your favorite team hits a buzzer-beater, how do you respond? If someone gave you a bag of cash that totaled a million dollars and told you it was yours, how would you respond?
If there is anything that should evoke exuberant and enthusiastic worship . . . If there is anything that should make us jump up and down in delight, it is this good news . . . Jesus has canceled the debt of sin against me! He has given me His own righteousness. I am adopted into the family of God. He has removed the sting of death and eternal punishment. He has given me a new destiny to live forever in a kingdom He is returning to set up for his people. I am like a homeless beggar who found a winning lottery ticket in a dumpster! Mine is a rags to riches story! And worship flows from the awe and wonder of this truth!
David sheds his concern for his own dignity. And that sets him free to worship. I will make a case in my sermon that we have a choice before us. Dignity OR worship. Will we spotlight our own austerity? Or will we put the spotlight on our God who rescues lowly sinners like us? We cannot both maintain our own dignity AND truly worship God.
So let’s fix our eyes on our savior. And let the awe and wonder and praise carry us to outward expression of joy and delight. Maybe you will dance, maybe you will shout a hallelujah, maybe you will raise your hands to the heavens, maybe you will fall to your knees in adoration. But I am convinced that you will not remain unmoved, if you truly consider what Jesus has done for you.