Correction, David wasn't a dancer. He danced. He could have looked like a a spinning fool on crazy flakes when he danced, but he was so filled with the joy of the Lord that he couldn't contain it all. So he danced before God and all the people of Israel in celebration. One of his wives was watching from a window and later said to him:
"How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!"
(Aka: "How kingly you looked dancing today, David. Can't you keep a shirt on while you are gettin' jiggy? You're acting like a civillian, not royalty! You looked like a fool dancing all around.")
He shot right back at her:
"It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel--I will celebrate before the LORD.Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!"
(Aka: "Yo, wife! There was no shame because my dancing was for God. Anyway, God chose me, NOT your father the last king, to rule over Israel. I will celebrate and thank God for what he has done for me. I would embarrass myself so much even I thought I looked ridiculous if it was for God. Oh, and those servant girls in the crowd watching me? They will only think I am being kingly! True story."
(By the way, his wife ended up being cursed never to have children to the day of her death. Better think twice before despising God's people.)
"So great," you're thinking. "He was filled with great joy and danced with no shame before the Lord. Great guy, good for him, time to go check Facebook." But there is more. Anyone can worship God with a thankful heart when life is going well, blessing and favor being showered, a new iphone 4 in their pocket. But what about when your To Do list is longer than your day? What about when you are depressed, an emotional wreck? When you don't have the new car you want and you just wrecked the junker you do have?
"And they said, “He (David's son) is dead.”
To someone who isn't a christian, stumbling on this story without looking at the rest of the Bible, they must think that God is a heartless, cosmic dictator. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God had to punish David, like a parent taking away a toy that their child had stolen, but it was perhaps harder for God than it was David. No father enjoys seeing their kid in pain, but sometimes the right thing to do isn't the easy thing to do. How easy would it have been for God to just allow David to live happily ever after, no side-affects after committing adultery and murder. But it wouldn't have been right, it wouldn't be the best thing for David. It can be so hard to understand from our point of view, but God was only doing what was best for David, like any good parent would.
Never think that God didn't care about David, though. God did. The price of sin is death, and since no one is perfect we all are sentenced to death, no matter how many good things we do. God loved David, you, and me so much that he gave his own perfect son to die so that we could live. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.
Right, back to King David.
"And they said, “He (David's son) is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped."
Wow. When I first read this I did a double-take. If you've ever lost a child, a sibling, or a family member you know what it feels like. Shock, disbelief, confusion; the feeling like someone has unceremoniously ripped your heart out of your chest and all that remains is a hollow place where all the memories and love of that person are supposed to be but never will. "How it feels when the sacred is torn from life, and you survive." The death of a loved one, especially a child, is an event that can destroy a family. It took months, more, for my family to return to a semblance of normal life after my baby brother died (another story for another time). So how, HOW, can David worship and dance before the Lord when his newborn son just died? Not to mention when David knows that it is all his fault?
Because David knew why God had taken his son, he knew God did it because he loved David more than the King could understand. He still knew, beyond the pain he felt, that God had saved his life and had made a way that despite David's sin he would see his son again one day. He knew that God is indescribable and worthy to be praised.
So he danced. I doubt that the same joy filled him, i'm sure he felt like a piece of dirt that had gone into the wash and became a shred of beaten lint. Not to mention he hadn't ate, washed, or slept for who knows how long. And yet he worshiped. David had enough wisdom to know that worship isn't just praising God when everything is thanksgiving and blessing, its about learning to dance in the rain.
So that is also why I dance. I'm no prima ballerina and i'll never be able to do a perfect grand je'te, but I will always strive to dance like King David. Unashamed, in love, with a heart of worship. Plus, have you heard me sing?
|(Here is an incredibly subtle hint...)|
(P.S. Started writing this as my 20 minute blog post about why I dance, idea from Brianna's lovely blog. Here I am, two hours and some pretty heavy writing later...)