She couldn’t have imagined anything more distasteful. It disgusted her to see such behavior. She regarded her husband’s actions with contempt. The disdain for what he had done was evident on her face and dripped from her lips. And, as I hover over Michal’s reaction and response to David’s celebration before the ark of the LORD, I can’t help but think, like father, like daughter.
Bring the ark into Jerusalem . . . take two. That’s what David had determined. The first attempt had ended badly. What began with great celebration had ended in death (2Samuel 6:5-7). Mission aborted. And for three months the favor known because the presence of the glory of God was for the house of Obed-edom alone. And David knew that blessing was intended for all the people of God and so he went again to move the ark to Zion.
So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn. (2Samuel 6:12b-15 ESV)
Great celebration . . . great sacrifice . . . all before a great God. And what does the Spirit want to ensure we know about David, beyond the fact he could bust a few moves? That “David was wearing a linen ephod.” And I take note of it as I read. And so did Michal, daughter of Saul, as she watched. I wonder at why David wore it. She writhed in disdain.
And I’m thinking what was the alternative for David to wear? What else was in his closet that he could have put on that day? How about the royal robes? How about the ornate symbols of his power of Israel which was due him? How about garments that drew the right amount of attention to their king? All his to rightfully wear. His to display as the big kahuna. Garments that would draw attention to him . . . and his position . . . and his power.
But rather than wear them, he divested himself of the royal robes that were rightfully his to wear. Just like Jonathan had when he relinquished his garments of power to David (1Samuel 18:1-5). And it had choked Saul to see Jonathan bow in such humility before David. Just as it choked Saul’s daughter, Michal, to see David “uncovering himself” before the eyes his lowliest servants (6:20). “Vulgar,” she says, for a king to so humble himself. “Shameless,” she spits out, for power to acquiesce before such lowliness. Like father, like daughter.
David’s response? “It was before the LORD.” David put on a linen ephod — the simple, unpretentious garments of the Levites who gave themselves to the service of the tabernacle — because, while he might have been a king of men, he knew he was nothing more than a servant of the Most High God. Only one spotlight to be shone on that day they moved the ark, and it would be upon God alone. Only One worthy of honor and glory, and it wasn’t the guy dressed in the linen ephod. In fact, says David, “I will yet make myself more contemptible than this.” You ain’t seen nothing yet. He must increase . . . and so I will decrease. He deserves all the glory and honor and I’ll just dance in worship induced celebration with the crowd.
And Michal the daughter of Saul looked upon the ephod dressed king and she “despised him in her heart.” Just as Saul’s anger had burned against Jonathan. Like father, like daughter.
But I look over the shoulder of the stripped down king of Israel and behold the One David sought to exalt . . . the King of kings . . . the LORD of heaven. And, if not with my feet, I dance before Him with my heart. He alone is worthy of unreserved praise.
Michal was like Saul . . . might I be more and more like David. By the grace of God . . . for the glory of God.