Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Reason to Dance

She gazed out of the window, and her heart roiled with disgust and shame. She despised him, and she despised herself for loving him. But she was no longer that naive young girl who had been so in love with the handsome, victorious young man, or the innocent young wife who had helped her husband escape her father’s murderous plots. David and Saul – between them they had destroyed her innocence, trampled on her pride, and confused her heart till her one overriding idea was to protect herself from further hurt and guard her fragile dignity with everything she had left. She was the wife of a king and the daughter of a king, horse-traded by her father from one husband to another, only to be demanded back again by her first husband, but more as a status-symbol than his heart’s beloved since there were now other women in his life and in his bed.

And now, when dignity was all she had left, he was throwing it all to the wind, dancing like a crazy man out there in the street, half-naked, as if there were no level to which he would not lower himself as he celebrated the return of the Ark. How could such foolishness ever be appropriate to the worship of God or the dignity of the king? She could think of no reason in the world for him to dance like that, it was a betrayal of their royalty, and she turned her head away from the window as angry tears blurred her sight.

It was hours later when he returned to his own household, tired, exalted and smelling of the smoke of sacrifice, hours she had spent considering her wrongs and re-casting him as her betrayer. All she had left was her royalty, and now she found herself married, as she saw it, to an oaf. Her tongue was bitter with reproaches as she came out to meet him.

David was astonished. Couldn’t she see? Couldn’t she understand? He wasn’t a king because of some dignity he had constructed to make other men elevate him. He was king only and entirely because God had put him there. God had removed the house of Saul, God had overlooked David’s older brothers and placed David on the throne in an act of crazy, glorious grace. How could David’s dignity be of any importance at all? How could any man’s pride or vanity or fragile self-construction matter before such a God? How could it stay standing in the whirlwind of such love?

He shook his head in bewilderment. Today they had celebrated the great glory and wonder of Israel’s God as the Ark, the material sign of His presence, was welcomed back into Jerusalem. If ever there was a reason to dance, to forget self in the wonder-joy of such a gift to a people who had done nothing to earn it, then this was it. And if God asked it of him, he would abase himself further and think nothing of it. It was strange indeed that the lowliest in the land, the poor, the needy, the slaves, could understand exactly why he danced, and join with him in the tear-bedecked rejoicing of the meek who inherit the earth, the dispossessed who possess all things; Yet this proud woman, Michal, daughter of one king and wife of another, could only pour scorn upon his worship. And if she had so closed her heart against God, there were no words he knew that could make her understand.

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