Saturday, April 19, 2014

David: we would have kicked him out of church

When David finally brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he did so with great fanfare. He offered sacrifices during and after the process, was accompanied by a host of people shouting and playing trumpets and danced in an ephod - a sort of one piece linen tunic. He finished the day blessing the people and distributing food in the name of the Lord. It was quite the celebration.

Three sets of onlookers were present. David's wife Michal refers to the slave girls who were watching; no other comment is made about them. Michal herself was watching and had a very negative reaction. She snubbed the worship of David. It was unorthodox and embarrassing. When she confronted David with her cutting remarks about it, he responded vehemently that the worship was never intended for her pleasure but only for the Lord's.

This brings the last onlooker into the conversation - the Lord. He explained that he had not ordered a temple to be built and that David was not the person qualified to build it. Despite both of those objections, he blessed David's intent. He lavished promises onto the one who had gone beyond what was commanded and who had humiliated himself publicly in the Lord's name. Not only that, but the Father apparently closed the womb of Michal (6:23). Childlessness was reason for a loss of face or shame in her day. Michal intended to shame David for his public worship but the Lord shamed Michal for her private thoughts.

David would not fit into most of the churches with which I have been associated. He committed two infractions that fly in the face of most conservative Christians - he publicly worshiped in humiliating ways and went well beyond what was commanded in the first place (orthodoxy). Yet in both cases, he was blessed while those who looked down upon his actions were not. This leads me to question myself.

Do I respond more like David or like Michal when it comes to worship? What do I privately think about those who go beyond orthodoxy? How do I view those who would worship publicly in ways that I consider humiliating?

Honestly, its probably good I was not there that day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

David: letting God handle it

David amazes me. I admire that a young man would take on a lion and a bear without anyone's help.  I admire that he would take that same courage and confidence into a battle against a skilled warrior. I am amazed that he could move back and forth from the king's household to the sheepfold. Yet I am particularly impressed by his restraint.

When David was offended by Nabal, he almost lost it. He marched against Nabal but then listened to the advice of Abigail. In the end, he thanked God for restraining him from avenging himself. Twice he could have killed Saul but refrained; he explained to his friend that the Lord would strike him but "the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's annointed".

It seems to me that I often start out with great intentions into service, ministries or missions. Somewhere along the line, I become frustrated with those who are less committed to the cause. In those moments, to simply take care of my heart and let the Lord deal with the rest is not easy. Jesus, in his last conversation with Peter on the beach, called him to do the same - take care of his own life while letting the Father deal with others.

For some, that is probably not a hard challenge. For those of us who feel a deep sense of justice, who were raised on "The Pursuit of Excellence" principle and who tend to live in leadership, it can be a great challenge. One which David seemed to handle well; one in which I will try to grow.