The ark of the covenant (described in detail in Exodus 25:10-22) represented the very presence and glory of God to the Israelites. Unfortunately, it became captured by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4). For seven long months God’s own nation was void of His glory. Meanwhile, though, the Philistines were plagued with misfortune. From tumors to toppling idols, they started to understand the message (1 Sam 5:2-12). So they sent the ark on a cart, loaded up with guilt offerings and pulled by two cows “mooing all the way” (true story, 1 Samuel 6:12, NIrV).
I love that God tucks these reality-show-like stories into scripture. Ahem. Let’s fast-forward…
After a failed attempt to bring the ark home to Jerusalem, David gathered his gumption to try again. This time David’s men succeeded because they did it God’s way. So “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sounds of trumpets” (2 Sam 6:14).
David was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). His real-deal zeal for God’s presence and glory led him to dance like no one was watching. However it turns out his wife, Michal, was watching and she was far from impressed. She not only “despised him in her heart” (2 Sam 6:16), she was openly vocal about her opinion.
As committed followers of Christ, our zeal may not lead us to dance, but it can lead us to do other “foolish” things such as --
To those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and are unable to comprehend His infinite worth, these things can seem downright reckless. When loved ones become vocal about their disapproval, it can be a hard pill to swallow.
I love how David answered His wife though: “It was before the Lord, who chose me… I will become even more undignified than this…” (2 Samuel 6:21-22). Basically, “I’m not living my life for you, I’m living it for the Lord.” I love this confident statement.
Unshakable zeal is a result of a deeply abiding relationship with Christ.
Has your red-hot zeal for God become cold in the attempt to please others? Has your wholehearted obedience waned to half-hearted service unto the Lord?
Unlike my brother’s silly boyhood antics, our “foolishness” is for more than entertainment: it is for the glory of the One who is worthy. If you’re struggling to see Christ as the Prize worthy of your highest affection, ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you today.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
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