Monday, 8 July 2013

Undignified David

This morning, Elli and I read 2 Sam. 6. Here's what struck me as we read it.

David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. As the Ark is carried by the priests (the Levites) into the city, David follows behind it, dancing with all his might, wearing only a simple outer garment called a linen ephod.

When he gets home, his wife Michal, daughter of the now deceased King Saul, tells him that he, the king, has disgraced himself as a commoner. David's response comes as a surprise, I would guess, for even though on paper he is the King of Israel, he refers to himself as "but a prince."

Our strange 21st Century Western take on life means we automatically side with David as the guy who was bold enough to be an individual and express himself and his devotion to what he loved (in this case to God), the British Prime Minister might have jumped on the bandwagon and called for him to be knighted (topical joke at time of writing that probably only Brits will get) but the vast majority of history and geography would be on Michal's side. Here is a man doing something not just unfitting, but outrageous for those who have had high office conferred upon them.

Except that it is not unfitting in this case.  The Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God and more specifically, the pre-incarnate Christ, with his people. It was the pre-incarnate Christ who told Samuel to anoint David king. As he dances and worships, David recognises that he is in the presence of the one who has given him everything he has.

Moreover, he refers to himself as a prince because ultimately, he is not the true king of Israel, he is a mere throne warmer for the greater king who was to come.  Christ, the true king, the true bridegroom represented by the ark would finally come to his people. In the face of this reality, David strips off all his garments of his kingly office, for he is not in competition with this king, he is merely looking after this greater king's kingdom in trust until he (Christ) comes to take it for himself.


Beauty said...

Wow, what a revelation of this Great and Mighty King who is soon coming. He has made us kings but He is the King of Kings. It's so amazing.

Richard Walker said...

I agree. Thanks for sharing that, Beauty! :-)