Having Undignified Praise
October 29, 2006
New Hope Baptist Church
2 Sam. 6:16-23
Somebody everyday uses the word virus. Virus can take on many of meanings in today’s vernacular. Originally, the Latin word virus means a poison; a microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism. These particles can infect a wide range of organisms, both animals and plants and bacteria. Viruses are incapable of reproducing outside of a host cell because they have no cell division, but they use the metabolism of a host cell to produce multiple copies of themselves. The only way to actively deal with a virus is to first detect it. This is done in a laboratory from a sample. Then, one must purify it through centrifuging, thus separating the mixtures or cells. This will lead to a proper diagnosis. Once a positive diagnosis is reached, the process of prevention and treatment must begin. The odd thing about viruses is that they are almost impossible to eliminate unless the host cell is killed, so, usually the medical community treats them with vaccinations to provide resistance to infection, and drugs that treat the symptoms of viral infection.
Well, unlike biological viruses, computer viruses are self-replicating. Their sole purpose is to alter the way a computer operates, without the permission or knowledge of the user. Both viruses spread themselves by inserting itself into living cells, thus causing an infection. And like biological viruses, computer viruses are fought through anti-virus software.
I hope I haven’t bored you with this somewhat lengthy discussion on viruses, but I want to be sure that you understand the severity of the message this morning. You see I just came early this morning to drop off this warning; it’s a virus alert. There is a virus going around. I’m not talking or warning you today about a computer virus or a medical virus. This virus that I’m warning you about is not new. We will see from our text today that it has been around a long time, and if you’re not careful, if you don’t properly inoculate yourself, if you are not pre-medicated, then you are open game to the Michal Syndrome. The symptom of the Michal Syndrome is anti-praise; it is against Undignified Praise and instead, infects the metabolism of your praise bank to infect it with something else to be offered in the place of praise.
Body and Background:
As you will recall, Michal was the wife of King David. She was also the daughter of King Saul. Saul had promised her to David in marriage if David killed 100 Philistines, so David killed 200. While David was running from Saul and hiding in the wilderness, King Saul forced his daughter to marry another man. After King Saul’s death, David returned and requested that Michal be retuned to him as his rightful wife, so she rejoined (against her will) him in Jerusalem. It should have been a happy ending, but it wasn’t.
David had been on the road for a long time. God had brought him all the way from the sheep pen to the palace. Now, David had been declared King and he was bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the tabernacle of his capital city. What a glorious day of celebration and worship. At lease that’s what it should have been, but David had to contend with Michal, his wife. Let’s look at Michal and understand this syndrome and then David will show us how to treat it.
The first symptom of this Michal Syndrome is Dim Vision. The Bible says that Michal looked out through a window and saw David dancing. With all that she had been through, being used by her father to further his own selfish ends; being forced to marry another man while still married to David; lonely and without real guidance; after all of that, she dared to look out through a window instead of looking up to God; looking around instead of looking up.
Loved ones, I’m telling you this morning that this virus is running rampant in the Christian community today. Some on you have been hurt by parents, maybe molested or otherwise abused. I don’t mean you were whipped a little hard or more often than you liked, no, I mean really abused by insensitive parents or guardians. Some body may have been cheated on by a spouse, often, or put down by a close friend. You may have been the subject of ridicule all through school and not even have a good friend now. Maybe you’ve been misused or manipulated; lied on and deceived. Whatever malady has come your way in the past, my warning to you today is to stop looking around; stop looking down; stop looking at others and look up to Jesus. Look up, and God will judge your motives; look around and man will judge your actions. Let your faith rest in the smile of Jesus, not in the approval of man. One day, we will appear before the judgment seat of Christ; so, don’t worry about the judgment seat of man.
Michal was bitter, and that bitterness caused her to think that she was all of that; that she was superior to others; that she was above the menial things in life. That bitterness caused her to reject anything and anyone outside of her own developed prevue. Don’t let bitterness keep you from praising God today. Whatever you have faced in the past, whatever you may be facing right now, praise Him for bringing you out and for sustaining you right now!
Michal had Dim Vision, but she also bore a Disparaging Attitude. The Scripture says that she despised David. She was prone to scorn; apt to look down on others; to turn her nose up at others; to disregard the intents of others and to hold others in contempt. In a word, she was a detractor, a critic. Nobody likes a critic. I don’t know about you, but I just get tired of and don’t want to be around somebody who can only see the bad side of life. No matter what it is, they have a negative take on things. You know, they have a “but” problem. How was dinner? It was o.k., but. Did you enjoy the movie, yes, but. Was church good today, yea, but. Or, they come to you with, “girl, I don’t want to talk about the sister, but”. Everything has to have a – but and most of us Black women have enough “but” as it is. They are just detractors. They must criticize every thing around them and detract you from your mission. Michal was a “but” woman and I’m not talking about her posterior. “I know you want to celebrate, David, but, it don’t take all of that”.
I know you know that the virus is loose in the church today. Every time people start praising God for His goodness, the “but” people start up. “She ought to sit down; it don’t take all of that”. Don’t misunderstand me. No everyone will show an overly exciting, outward expression of praise all the time. We are not all the same, neither do we all respond to things in the same manner. How boring would that be? And I don’t need a preacher telling me every two or three minutes to high-five somebody or to turn to my neighbor and give some expression. No, that’s not what I’m talking about.
But I am saying that if you really know this god you say you serve; if you really have had a personal experience with Him; if Jesus is real in you life and you have seen His handiwork in your affairs; if the sacrifice of the cross has significance for you; if you really remember what He did when you receive the Lord’s Supper; if you once were young and now you are older, and you have began to understand about grandma’s walking cane and papa’s rock in a weary land; if you can look back, even if it’s is only as far as yesterday and wonder, “How I got over”, then sometimes you ought to show a little sign that He’s real in your soul.
Michal looked down on others as if she were better than they. She accused David of associating with low lives and of gallivanting with the commoners. That reminds me of the Pharisees. Most of them never went to see Jesus. You know why? Because they felt they were better than other men were. They didn’t need Jesus. The proud and the arrogant need nothing and so God gives them nothing. One day, they will go into Hell because they did not need anything from God.
Michal’s disdained attitude was about decorum and culture. It was about pride and position. It was about having to face the next meeting of the Jerusalem Women’s Auxiliary meeting after they had all watched her husband, the King, boogying down Main Street in his royal underwear.
Too many “Christians” today are concerned about what others think or what others will say if they let loose and praise God. So, they just sit back in silence and disdain and criticize others who are not ashamed of the Gospel of God or to express their sheer joy at His many blessings. It’s the Michal Syndrome that will infect you and make you say things like, they sang to long and too loud; they raise their hand too high and nobody can see around them; they ain’t gotta be saying all those many amen’s. This virus has turned many into “church police”. They see their mission in life as to insure that praising, if done at all, is done with refinement and propriety.
You better start looking for the antidote, or look for the cure, because this virus is catching on quickly. This virus will have you just like Michal; married to the king but having no relationship with the King of kings. If you can’t or won’t praise God for your own blessings, don’t look down on others who feel like praising God for theirs. David was celebrating because he had received so much from God. How much have you received from the Lord? If nothing, you will have nothing to celebrate about. However, if you believe that every good and perfect gift comes from God, you cannot help but to get up and dance every once in a while. Proud and arrogant people have nothing to celebrate but themselves. Christian people have everything to celebrate because we have all spiritual, all material, and all social blessings in the Lord. Bless His name and praise Him this morning, for He has given us all things! The Great God of the universe has inclined His ear to listen to our petitions and to even answer our prayers. I don’t know about you, but when I think about all that I have been; when I think about all that I have done; when I think about all of my unrighteousness; my sins; my meanness; my evil thoughts and desires; my no-good self; and then I think about His goodness; His love; His patience and guidance; His sacrifices; His Grace and Mercy; about all He has done for me, I just have to praise Him. I may not do it, but I feel like dancing in the streets, shouting from the rooftops, and flying a banner. He’s just too good to ignore.
Finally, Michal had Dim Vision; she had a Disparaging Attitude; and she had a Detached Heart. People with a Detached Heart will not be with you in your dark times. Where was Michal when David was in the wilderness? She would not have gone with him because that would have been too humiliating. When you are down, people with a Detached Heart will only talk with you to later talk about you. People you thought were for you will ultimately turn against you. They will look at you, but they won’t look out for you.
Michal not only despised David on the surface, the Bible says that she despised him in her heart. She looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord. David’s praise was undignified, but it was no irreverent. She was angry also because he didn’t immediately come into her presence. The Bible says that he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as he had finished making the offerings before the Lord, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. He gave every man and woman, to the whole multitude a bread cake, some meat and some wine. When God blesses you and when you are full of the Spirit of God and just enjoying His presence, you just can’t help but to be a blessing to others. Your praise ought to rub off on somebody. Somebody ought to feel like they’ve been to church just because they are sitting close to you. Somebody should be able to experience the presence and goodness of God by osmosis from your presence. When you go home, the whole atmosphere should change. If you stop by the store, the clerks ought to be more pleasant; it you go out to dinner, the waitress should languish at your table because somebody should be able to sense something different with you in the room; somebody should be blessed by your presence. If you know you’ve been in God’s presence, you ought to bless somebody today. Not tomorrow; not when you feel like it; not later, but today!
There are two quick things I want you to see from verses 20 and 23. First, after David had blessed the people, he was on his way home with good intentions. His heart was right. That’s why God called him a man after my own heart. David was going to bless his household, but the virus was waiting to meet him. Have you ever had good intentions and been met with contempt? David’s intentions were good, but Michal had had a long time to allow her disdain to brew. She had rehearsed over in her mind just what she was going to say to the King when he walked through the door. When I was a teenager and I’d stay out too late on a Saturday night, I knew that my sister would be waiting up for me. So my friends and I would rehearse our stories: “we had a flat tire, on the freeway; or we got lost”. Our stories were meant to thwart off a beating, but Michal had rehearsed to belittle David. Her bitterness over life had lead to a deep-seated heart problem. You see, when you let things fester inside; when you don’t deal with and forgive those who have hurt you;, when you allow yourself to believe that you are the ultimate prize in the Cracker Jacks box and that you are some sort of supreme being, knowing more than everyone else and above others, then you will develop a deep-seated heart problem that will cause you to infect others with disdain.
The second thing I want you to see is that as David was coming to bless his household, because of her Dim Vision; because of her Disparaging Attitude; and because of her Detached Heart, the Bible says that, therefore, Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
When you are not looking up to God and praising Him for His blessings; when you are putting down others for finding time and opportunity to praise Him, you are cutting off you own blessings. No good thing can come from you. You become a member of the “Ness” family: Fruitlessness, barrenness, deadness, hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, bitterness, emptiness, loneliness, and selfishness! Needless to say, the "Ness" family leaves you in a mess! Everything you touch will become ill. You will be ineffective in the Kingdom of God; full of nothing but hot air, criticisms and blame.
The church needs the antidote this morning. We need to be inoculated with the serum that will treat our maladies; heal all of our diseases and guard our hearts and minds against the Michal Syndrome. We need to have an Undignified Praise.
An Undignified praise has no form or fashion. An Undignified praise has no rhyme or reason. It says, “I don’t know why God loves me like he does, but I’m gonna praise Him anyhow”. An Undignified praise reasons that – like David, I used to be in a sheep pen; I was dirty with sin; I didn’t smell too good; I slept in the streets and I didn’t have too many changes of clothes; I have been cut off from family and friends; I’v been looked over on the job; talked about; lied on; used and abused; I’ve been in the caves of despair; from pillow to post; didn’t know where my next meal was coming from; cut off from the place of worship; but God, in His goodness; God, the Way maker; God, the One who sits high and looks low; God, the creator and keeper of the universe has seen fit in His wisdom to bless me, to bring me out, to clothe me, to put food on the table, to give me a job, a car, a home, health, strength, a family, a church home; and I don’t care what you say, I don’t care how dim your vision, how disparaging your attitude, or how detached your heart, I’m going to praise Him for all He has done, and I’m going to praise Him with Undignified praise.
Let me illustrate this a little further. You see, one Friday, this same God saw fit in His great Love for mankind to allow His beloved Son, Jesus, to be hung on a cross. Although He could have come down, He stayed on the cross and suffered the humiliation for my sake and your sake. Although legions of angels could have rescued Him, He decided to remain in the undignified position on that cross for me and for you. It was undignified because “cursed is every man that hangs on a tree”. He died on that Friday, and they buried Him in a borrowed tomb. He stayed in the tomb all of Friday, and all day Saturday. While He was in the tomb, the Head virus, Satan, and all of his imps had a party in hell. They were doing their best imitation of praise, for they thought that Jesus was done for. They thought that they had won and that their virus would last forever and kill any chance of Jesus ever ruling.
But early, on Sunday morning, before the night had turned to day; early on Sunday morning, before the birds began to sing; early, before the roses opened to shake off the dew; early on Sunday morning, Jesus got up from the grave, clothed with all power in heaven and earth, and that’s what makes me want to have Undignified praise.
I praise Him, for who he is, I praise Him, for what he has done, I praise Him, for his marvelous love, I praise Him, for his great compassion and his loving care. I don’t care who doesn’t like it. I live in a land today where I’m free to praise and worship as I please, and I please to praise Him with all of the indignity I can muster.
When was the last time that people were embarrassed at you, but your Father in heaven was smiling? Will you dance and praise like David, or will you take a seat and criticize like Michal? In fact, forget whatever He has done for you; forget whatever it is that you want Him to do. Forget about tomorrow; forget about your needs and wants; forget about your ills and sad nesses; forget about yourself completely. Just praise Him because:
He’s worthy! He’s worthy! He’s worthy!
I’m not trying to tell you what to do, and I’m only going to suggest it one time; but if you know what I’m talking about this morning, you ought to stand with your hand in the air, wave them to Jesus, waive them like you jut don’t care. He’s worthy today of some undignified praise!