Dancing, But Not off a Cliff (2 Samuel 6:22)

2 Samuel 6:22 (ESV)


“I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.”


            When David danced in celebration before the Lord as Israel brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, his wife despised him for taking off his royal robes and partying like a commoner. In response, David reminded Michal that he had been anointed king over Israel, that he was celebrating the glory of the Lord with joy, and that those who loved God would respect him even more for his abandon that day.


            This scene with David takes me in two different directions. On the one hand, this passage does for me what I think God most wants us to see when we read it. David celebrated before God, and he was not at all afraid of the social consequences of rejoicing in his Savior. This is good. WE all could use a little less fear of man in our lives. Generally we could do with less thinking of how others will perceive our worship and more simple joy that God receives our worship. There is room for me to have more outbursts of joy in my life that God would save me and allow me to praise him.


            On the other hand, I think this passage has been taken further than it intended to go. I think of the song “Undignified,” which plays on this verse and recounts the authors willingness to be “mad” for his king. It also has several “na-na-na, hey” type lines in it. Sometimes we can take a concept so far out of its context that we miss its original meaning and any other balancing texts. David’s dancing before God was not to call us to immodest dress—David did not dress immodestly, but simply not in a kingly fashion. David’s dancing before God was not to call us to be silly in formal worship. David’s dancing was to call us to celebration of the grace of God that is not concerned by losing social status.


            Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe I’m just not the kind of celebrant that others are. I simply know that, when it comes to this passage. I want it to call me to joy in my walk with God. I know it calls me to not fear looking “dorky” for simply believing in God and his word. At the same time, this passage is not calling me to do silly things for the sake of being silly in order to prove that I worship my King. God has also called us, in his word, to sobriety, to reverence, and to awe. All of these and expressive celebration have their right and proper place in the life of the believer.


            Which do you need more in your life? Do you need more willingness to let your guard down and celebrate Jesus? Do you need more reverence and awe? Following God includes both sides of this coin.