Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Become Undignified

Sounds strange right? Become undignified? Become undignified before the Lord. As David Crowder sings, "I will dance, I will sing to be mad for my King. Nothing Lord is hindering this passion in my soul. And I will become even more undignified than this. Some may say it's foolishness, but I'll become even more undignified than this. Leave my pride by my side and I'll become even more undignified than this."

That's exactly what David did in 2 Samuel 6.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. What would cause David to be undignified? What would cause him, in verse 14 to wear nothing but his linen ephod (what's an ephod? You'll wish you had one.) and dance for the Lord with all of his might? Okay, this would be like the President of the United States dancing before the Lord, in the middle of Dupont Circle, in his underwear (well, the ephod was much more sacred than Hanes, but you get the image nonetheless).

Did I mention that three months prior to David's "crazy dance" he had requested the Ark of the Covenant? The ark was commissioned by Moses and symbolized God's provision (the manna), God's power (the staff), God's precepts (the commandments), and, most of all, God's presence. Max says that, "During the temple era, the high priest would be granted a one-a-year audience with the ark. After offering personal sacrifices of repentance, he would enter the holy of holies..."

God had given very specific orders for the care and transportation of the ark. Orders that involve acacia poles, priests to carry the ark with a system of rods and to carry the sacred objects on their shoulders, and not to touch. When David plans for the massive parade and requests the ark, Uzzah, a Koathite priest, who knew better loaded it up on a wagon with oxen. As Max says,

"The holy became humdrum. The sacred, second-rate."

An exchange of commands for convenience. No obedience or sacrifice; expediency instead.

In God's anger, He struck Uzzah dead. Dead? Why? Why did Uzzah have to die for breaking commandments?

Joe Shulam, who grew up Jerusalem, studied at the Orthodox Jewish Rabbinacal Seminary, and still lives in Israel says "The question is not why did God will Uzzah but rather why does he let us live?"

And that is why, after David is confused and hurt of the Lord punishing Uzzah in His anger David retreats back to Jerusalem. But after three months David returns for the ark. This time, priests replace bulls. Sacrifice replaces convenience. God comes. God comes on His terms. His presence is known because His commands are revered, hearts are clean, and confession is made.

David dances with all of his might before the Lord.

David didn't care what anyone else thought. Micah was disgusted that her husband, the King, would disrobe himself in front of the slave daugthers of his servants. She was embarassed because he lost his dignity in the presence of the Lord. Scripture had never portrayed David dancing at any other time. He slayed Goliath, and he did no victory dance. The ultimate touchdown, and no dance. He was named King of Jerusalem and quietly took his throne. No dance.

So, when God came to town David "rolled back the rug and celebrated the night away". When's the last time we did that? Set aside our own pride, set aside our cares for what other people were going to think, zoned out the world around us and danced for the Lord. Dance for Jesus. Because of Him, we are not struck down to our death as we daily break the commandments of the Lord. Because of Him, we are not struck to our death because we trade in His commandments for convenience.

Max says "God loves you too much to leave you alone, so he hasn't. He hasn't left you along with your fears, your worries, your disease, or your death. So kick up your heels for joy." He also points out, "Uzzah's lifeless body cautions against such irreverence. No awe of God leads to the death of man. God won't be cajoled, commanded, conjured up or called down. He doesn't respond to magic potions or clever slogans. He looks for more. He looks for reverence, obedience, and God-hungry hearts.

And when He sees them, he comes! And when he comes, let the band begin. And, yes, a reverent heart and a dancing foot can belong to the same person.

David had both.

May we have the same."

Our Father would not miss a chance to dance with His children.

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