I LOVE to dance!
I always have. I can remember stacking records (45s remember?) on my record player, grabbing my hairbrush, lip-synching the lyrics, and dancing like Cher, in my South Florida bedroom. There didn’t have to be a reason for dancing.
I just loved to dance!
My dear man and I don’t often have opportunities to go out dancing. We outgrew the club scene from the 80s and 90s long, long ago. Still if we attend a concert or an occasion which includes dancing you’re likely to see us boogey. Music plays through our home practically 24/7. And sometimes, we just have to dance to that one song!
I still love to dance!
Currently I’m studying through 1st and 2nd Samuel with a beautiful group of women gathered weekly for Community Bible Study. And so, it wasn’t much of a stretch to think of King David dancing with all His might before the Lord wearing only his linen ephod.
Dance is celebratory, and often this scripture is used to support free styles of worship in church. King David is often used as a beautiful illustration of how we should praise God with unfettered abandon for all the good He’s done for us.
I don’t disagree.
“And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.”
2 Samuel 6:14 ESV
However, there’s a much bigger story here that goes way beyond dancing in church. David was dancing because he and his countrymen did not die that day. For three months earlier, King David and all the people of Israel learned a hard lesson about the holiness of God. To gain a bit more understanding we have to go back to Moses and the Pentateuch.
Whole books have been written on the Ark of God, His presence, Sovereignty, and Holiness. So this isn’t a small topic. Let me simply encourage you to dig into the scriptures of Exodus and Deuteronomy, even Leviticus and Numbers, to learn about God’s specific commands and regulations regarding the care for and transportation of the Ark of God.
Regretting an attempt to oversimplify, let me summarize. Moses was correct when he gave his final speech to the people of Israel. The gathering was a solemn ceremony before the Lord at the Tabernacle where Joshua would be commissioned to lead Israel across the Jordan into the promised land. He knew all the people after him would forget all that God commanded and would forget to revere His Majesty and Holiness unless they regularly read God’s words to His people.
“And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.””
Deuteronomy 31:10-13 ESV
And so we fast forward to King David’s generation, in which all that Moses predicted was true. The people of Israel knew in general the greatness of God. King David loved God and revered His name. He respected the Sovereignty of God. There’s evidence of this truth all through the pages of 1 Samuel. However, he made a mistake by assuming he could just go and retrieve the Ark of God as if it was simply a misplaced article of furniture.