Scripture tells us that “David was thirty years old when he began to reign” (II Samuel 5:4a, NLT), that is, over Judah, “and he reigned forty years in all. He had reigned over Judah from Hebron for seven years and six months, and from Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years” (II Samuel 5:4b-5).
At the time David became king over both Israel and Judah, “the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land” (II Samuel 5:6b) were living in Jerusalem. “The Jebusites taunted David, saying, ‘You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and lame could keep you out!’ For the Jebusites thought they were safe” (II Samuel 5:6c).
Operative word there being “thought.” Thinking their city was impenetrable, the Jebusites laughed at the very idea of David and his army even making an attempt to attack it. However, the very next verse sums up the outcome succinctly: “But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David” (II Samuel 5:7).
Jerusalem became the City of David, who was successful “because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him” (II Samuel 5:10b).
Reading about David clearly shows us that even a person walking closely with the Lord can have a heap of problems throughout his lifetime. Just when you think things were going to smooth out a bit for David, he experiences another bump in the road.
David and his troops went “to Baalah of Judah to bring back the Ark of God” (II Samuel 6:2a) to Jerusalem. When the Ark arrived in the city there was “great celebration. After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns” (II Samuel 6:12b-15).
The Ark symbolized God’s presence and blessing, and David and the rest of the people were overjoyed to have the Ark in Jerusalem – except for Saul’s daughter Michael, who was one of David’s wives: “As the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him” (II Samuel 6:16).
“When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, ‘How distinguished the king of Israel looked today…!’ David retorted to Michal, ‘I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this…!’” (II Samuel 20a, 21-22a).
Like so many, Michal was all about appearances. It didn’t look very regal for David to be “leaping and dancing” in public. But as David told Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord.” He wasn’t worried about what other people thought of his behavior; he was totally focused on praising God.
If only we’d show half the enthusiasm in worshiping the Lord that we’re willing to show cheering on our favorite football team! We can scream and jump up and down like maniacs and care less who’s watching. But slide into a church pew and what happens? We put on our holy faces and attitudes. I’m not saying there aren’t times when we should be quiet and reverent, but every now and then I believe the Lord loves to see His people celebrating Him with absolute abandon.