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Revering & rejoicing (3)

Michal:  Michal was the daughter of Saul.  She loved David and when Saul found out about it, he arranged to have her given to him in marriage as part of a plot to bring about David’s death (1 Samuel 18:20-29).  Later, when Saul sends men to David’s house, Michal helps David escape and engages in some deceitfulness against her father --- right up to telling him that David made her do it (19:11-17).  Saul is not as good at receiving deceit as he is as giving it, so he punishes her (and David), by giving her to another man (1 Samuel 25:44).  David later demands Abner bring her to him and Michal is separated from her weeping husband (3:12-16), and reunited with David.

There are many unanswered questions in all of this.  We know Michal loved David, but did David love her?  Or did he marry her simply because Saul invited him to and marrying the king’s daughter was the prudent thing to do if you hoped to be the next king?  It seems as if the man Saul later gave Michal to loved her, did she love him?  Did David seek her return because he loved her or because having the daughter of Saul as one of his wives would strengthen his hold on the kingship?  What was Michal’s reaction when she learned of David’s other wives, since as far as we know, she was the first?

As you can see, there’s a lot that lies underneath the surface of the story.  Certainly some of these things figured into her vindictive response toward David (6:16).  He was unaware of his wife’s feelings and when he returned home to bless his household (v. 20), Michal confronted him.  Her charge was that he has lowered the dignity of the kingship by “disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!"  (v. 20).  Since David’s disrobing consisted of not wearing an outer garment, it seems that the essence of her accusation was that he was acting inappropriate for a king.  He was acting like a common person in front of common people.  You can almost hear the woman who was raised as royalty saying, “My father would never have acted this way.”

David’s response was even more telling.  He explained that his actions were intended for the Lord and no one else (perhaps to make the point Paul does in Romans 14:4).  Then he reminded her that it was the same Lord who made him king as opposed to her father or anyone else from her household.  And lest she be worried, he would be honored.  The story ends on an ominous note as we’re told that the "daughter of Saul " bore no children.  Whether from God’s hand or David’s hands off, her bitterness of heart ended up in barrenness (v. 23).  What happened to her physically seems to have become almost a reflection of what she was spiritually --- barren --- unable to find joy.

In the end then, it seems to me that the lessons we walk away with from this chapter aren’t primarily about worship or the authority of God’s word, but about the heart.  Uzzah’s heart was uninformed and therefore presumptuous.  Michal’s heart was haughty --- she found no joy in the ark coming to Jerusalem.  All she can do was find fault with her husband.  David’s heart wasn’t where it should have been either, but it was teachable and the his renewed reverence brought about true rejoicing. 

May we lives as disciples who know the joy of our Lord.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life," (Proverbs 4:23).
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