2 Samuel 6:16 (NLT)
But 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.
The other day I was on Amazon looking over a couple of parenting books that had been recommended to me. As I read the reviews, I noticed a particular theme among those that liked the books:
Great for Christian parents!
After reading the words “Christian parents” over and over I wondered how the non-Christian parents reading the reviews might feel. Would they not understand the content? Not be able to apply the content? Were they unworthy of the content?
I wondered at the deep ruts of thinking in our Christianity Club mentality. If a parenting book is rich with Godly wisdom, wouldn’t it be really, really great for a parent not yet acquainted with the love and grace of Christ?
Makes my insides squirm.
I’ve lived life from the perch at my window. Looked down with contempt from various places of opinion and experience. And the truth is I had no idea! I could not see the pride in my heart for the life of me! But as I’ve begun to recognize this perch and membership mentality in my life, I’ve been saddened. Ashamed. Asked God, and still do almost every day, to clean out my heart.
I don’t want to live life from a perch. Judging and calling the roll all in the name of Jesus, when the truth is He would never be a part of my little club.
I’m after mercy, not religion. I’m here to invite outsiders, not to coddle insiders. (Matthew 9:13 the message)
As I read about Michal looking down from her window as David returned with the Ark of The Lord (the special chest where God’s presence resided in the Old Testament…today our hearts are His dwelling place!) I was reminded of this perch mentality.
See, Michal was Saul’s daughter. She was accustomed to club life. She grew up a princess and now was a wife to the king. And she was David’s first wife, which I believe gave her an even greater feeling of superiority. But Michal is not so enraptured with David as she watches from the window…perhaps she still sees the shepherd boy in this openly exuberant king, dancing and leaping in the streets because the presence of God would once again rest in Israel.
Webster’s of 1828 says contempt is the act of viewing or considering and treating as..worthless.
Michal did not see the worth in David’s celebration with the people. And once he finally made it home, she shared her sentiment. It went like this:
David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today–exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory–more recklessly even than this. (the message)
Michal liked feeling “distinguished.” Set apart. Superior. She mocked her husband because he was willing to be right in the thick of it with his own people.
Yet David is known as a man after God’s heart.
(Jesus also got into the thick of it: Creator mingled with criminals. Dined with the undignified. Listened to and healed the hearts of the those living beneath the perch.)
Jesus ripped membership-mentality to shreds with every drop of blood…every ragged draw of breath…with every salty tear He tasted.
If you feel as though you are living beneath the perch today, I want to encourage you. Implore you, even.
Let it go.
Just as David was overjoyed to recapture the presence of The Lord and made a fool of himself over it…Jesus so longed for the joy of recapturing your heart that He made Himself the ultimate fool in the eyes of men. He looked down on humanity…from a Cross.
Christians and churches are meant to be hospitals…search-and-rescue units…rest and recovery stops.
If not, then what? Courtrooms? Judges?
I’m coming down, my friends. I’d rather jump off than be pushed off. I’m asking God to make my heart like His, full of love and compassion. Less concerned about which denomination and preaching style is “right”…less concerned with someone’s divorce, misbehaving child, church membership or career choices…less concerned with appearances, performances and accolades. More concerned…overwhelmingly so…with hearts.
Because at the end of the day, the end of all time, our judgements amount to wood, hay and stubble. The nest of superiority we spend a lifetime building from our perch will burn hot and high in a matter of seconds. No, I’d really like to look into His eyes and see the reflection of hearts and lives He touched through me. People I stop now to love and embrace, just as they are. Just the way He embraces me.
Let’s abandon our post, above or beneath. Let’s live and love recklessly for the glory of our King.
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
(Matthew 23:11-12 the message)