Five Smooth Stones - Giant #4: Pride of Michal
Come to Vision Night / Danny Vanscoy / Inserts
I want to play a little game with you called name that symbol! A symbol is defined as “something that represents something else. It’s a sign with a specific meaning.”[i] I will give you a symbol and you tell me what it means or represents. Ready to play! Name this symbol! This is the Peace Symbol. There are also gender symbols! Name this one: MALE - which makes this one female. I had no idea this was the International Symbol of marriage! What about this one? In America the bald eagle is a symbol of freedom – along with our flag. White doves are a Christian symbol of love & peace and of the Holy Spirit. What is this? This flag represents the country of Japan. A 30 year missionary in Japan by the name of Carlton Walker wrote an article entitled, Japan: Begin helping by praying. Mr. Walker helped me better understand what has happened in the last week. He writes from Tokyo, “The government has upgraded the earthquake from 8.9 to 9.0. Thousands are still trying to connect family, friends and loved ones. They say “not knowing” is the hardest. Bottled water, toilet paper and batteries are scarce to nonexistent in most places here, one can only imagine what things are like in the harder-hit areas in the northeast. This is the biggest quake in all of Japan’s recorded history. Geophysicists have reported that the force of the quake was so strong that it moved the island of Honshu 8.2 feet to the east. One colleague emailed Mr. Walker saying, What do you do in times like these but pray and ask for His guidance?” And Mr. Walker responded by saying, “All of us around the world can be there in prayer. Although it doesn’t make sense in human terms, perhaps the way that most of us can make the most significant contribution for the time being is to pray because the lives of others both physically and spiritually depend on it.” So let’s pray right now “that those who are hurt may be found and receive comfort, for the survivors and families of victims and for Christian workers and local Christians to meet and plan the best way to implement relief efforts.”[ii]
I have one more symbol. What’s this? This is the Ark of the Covenant. Otherwise known as the Ark of God or the Ark of the Lord. The Ark of the Covenant is “the symbol of (God’s) Divine Presence.”[iii] Turn with me today to 2 Samuel chapter 6. If you need a Bible to do that simply raise your hand and one will be given to you to keep or to use. Forgive me folks, but when I think of the Ten Commandments I think of Charlton Heston and when I think of the Ark of the Covenant I think of Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford. My all time favorite IJ’s movie is the Last Crusade where the best movie line ever is, “He choose poorly!” But Marcus Brody in the 1st movie – Raiders of the Lost Ark, riding in the jeep also said something profound. When it comes to the ark, “You're meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend.”[iv] King David himself would agree!
Let’s start with verse 1 of chapter 6 in 2 Samuel. (Read) Now why so many men? Because 1st Samuel 31 tells us that both King Saul and his three sons are dead. So the men – the people - rally after David. In 1st Samuel David will eventually become King, but in 2 Samuel David is King. He’s King of Judah in the south and King of Israel in the north. David will reign as king for 40 years. Go back to verse 2 of 2nd Samuel 6. (Read) The Ark symbolized the presence of God, but powerful or not – the ark has been in storage for the last 20 years. Go back to 1st Samuel 7. Find verse 2. Saul left the ark alone. Why? Marcus was right, “You're meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend.”[v] Truth is the Philistine’s captured the ark. But they didn’t keep it long. God invested their land with rats and inflicted their people with tumors. Even the Israelites fumbled with the ark. Find 1st Samuel 6: 19. Curiosity killed the cat and these 70! Saul didn’t want to touch the ark, but David does OR at least he thinks he does. Go back to 2 Samuel 6:3! (a new cart…THEY IGNORED these instructions from Exodus 25: 10-14) The Israelites knew this – David knew this, but they ignored what God said to do! Go back to verse 3. (Read 3-7) And then look what happens in verse 8! Have you ever been mad at God? David is angry at God and it’s for that same reason many end up angry at God – the death of someone you care about! Are you angry at God because someone you love died or your dream died or your job died? I’ve been mad at God. When you are mad at God you have a couple of options. Stay mad and miss the blessing or realize God is God and claim the blessing. David misses the blessing. Find verse 9. That’s not a healthy fear. David is angry and afraid and that leads him away from God. Let’s keep reading. (Read 9-11) That blessing could have been David’s, but the lethal combination of both anger and fear prevent him from receiving true blessing. Someone points out the obvious to David in verse 12! You can stay made at God – you can – many do. “God, I can’t believe you took this innocent person away from me! God, I don’t get you! I’m curious. Do you think Uzzah went to heaven? There’s nothing here to say that he didn’t! How did you get in here? You can stay mad at God because of death or you can rejoice to God because he conquered death by giving up his one and only Son! David rejoiced. Find verse 13. (13-15)
Everyone was pumped. Worshipping God. Celebrating. Dancing. David didn’t become Michael Flatley – Lord of the Dance. He’s not Beto Perez’s Zumba! He’s not jiving, waltzing or doing the samba. The word “dance” here means to whirl.[vi] When I was in Africa it meant flailing my body in all direction. David is whirling around in total celebration not knowing he’s being judged. Find verse 16!
Now who is Michal? The Bible tells us.[vii] She’s the daughter of the former now dead King Saul. Saul tried to get David to marry both of his daughters. Merab went to Adriel, but Michal goes to David in 1st Samuel 18:20. She’s good with it, but Saul’s intentions are impure because he’s jealous of David. He hopes Michal will become a snare to David, but she loves him. She loves him so much she rescues David from her loose cannon father by lowering him down a window. The only problem now is that David is gone, so Saul gives her to another man named Paltiel.
David doesn’t like that arrangement. He wants her back. Find 2 Samuel 3:13. David will use Abner, Saul’s former army commander to get her back! (Read vs. 13 & 15) Another reminder that life is not fair! And nothing is said that she wanted to go! But she’s David’s wife – one of eight in all. Go back 2 Samuel 6:20. Remember, Goliath wasn’t the only giant in David’s life. Now he’s being confronted with the pride of his own wife, Michal. Maybe she was jealous – frustrated – lonely – is she missing Paltiel? All I know us that she’s acting more like Saul’s daughter than David’s wife. She should come down from her window perch and dance with David, but she won’t. Her pride wouldn’t let her! Let’s talk pride for a moment!
There’s good pride and bad pride. I remember when Tim Wilkins came and spoke at WCC. He told the story of a woman coming to her minister after the church saying, “Pastor, I have not sinned in a week!” To which the pastor replied, “I can see you’re real proud of that!” She said, Yes, I am!” Pride is so subtle. (TUNA OFF CAPE CODE) I’ve told you about Dr. Meg Meeker’s book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. She talks about the lessons Dad’s must teach their daughters. “Humility is the foundation of all healthy relationships. If your daughter lives with humility, she will discover who she is and what significance her life holds. If you teach your daughter to be good rather than simply happy, she will become both. Teaching your daughter humility is a wonderful gift. And it can be taught only by example.”[viii] Apparently Saul did not do that or Michal just wasn’t listening. David responds to Michal in verse 21. (Honor) Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.”
A very clever 4th grade school teacher in Ventura, CA gave her students the beginning of a list of famous sayings and asked them to provide original endings for each one. Here are a few of their answers: The grass is always greener when you leave the sprinkler on. / A journey of a thousand miles begins with a blister.
A rolling stone plays the guitar. / Early to bed and early to rise is first in the bathroom. / You have nothing to fear but homework. / A bird in the hand is a real mess.[ix]
Michal shows us the messy consequences of pride. Look at the last verse in chapter 6. (6:23) Either David withdrew physically or God prevented her from having children.
What is your pride preventing you from doing? Worshipping God. Trusting God? Asking for forgiveness? Let me give you one more symbol. What’s this? What does the cross represent. What often prevents us from trusting God, believing in Jesus and experiencing true blessing? Our pride.
[i] Encarta Dictionary, Symbol
[ii] Rick Warren Ministry Toolbox, Carlton Walker, Issue #469, March 15, 2011
[iii] Ronald F. Youngblood, EBC, Volume 3, 874
[vi] www.e-sword.net/dance/2 Samuel 6:14
[vii] James E. Smith, The OT Books Made Simple, 80
[viii] Meg Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Kindle edition
[ix] Good, Clean Funnies Email listed dated March 18, 2011