IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES
TOPIC: IT WAS BEFORE THE LORD WHICH CHOSE ME BEFORE THY FATHER I PLAY
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.”
David rejoiced greatly before the Lord with all the people as the Ark of God was moved to Jerusalem. It was an occasion of great joy, so David sang and shouted praises to God. But Michal supposed David should have been “more reserved” and “austere” and took issue with him. While all things should be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40), it is “comely” (fitting and attractive) for the upright to utter praise to God.
The Jeer Of Sarcasm, And The Retort Of Piety
“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before your father and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus and will be base in my own sight: and of the maidservants which you have spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor.”
2 Samuel 6:20-22.
You will remember the remarkable passage of Sacred History which I related to you this morning, how David sought on one occasion to bring up the Ark of God from Kirjath-Jearim to Jerusalem; but neglecting God’s Law, they put the Ark upon a cart, instead of carrying it upon the shoulders of the Levites. And as one mistake very soon leads to another, when the oxen stumbled, Uzzah put forth his hand to steady the Ark and prevent its falling, and God smote him there for his error and he died. It was an awful moment. The pulse of that vast assembly beating high with solemn festivity, receives a sudden jerk. The trumpet which erstwhile sent forth its cheerful blast, with the sacred melody of cornet, of psaltery and of harp—all are hushed in one instant! Dullness and terror seize the minds of all. They separate to their homes; the Ark is carried into a private house adjoining the residence of that eminent servant of God, Obed-edom, and there it tarried for the space of three months. David at last recovered his spirits and a second time, having carefully read over God’s Law concerning the removal of the Ark, he went down to the house of Obed-edom to carry it away. The priests, this time, lift up the Ark upon their shoulders by means of the golden staves which passed through golden rings and so uphold the Ark. Finding that they were not smitten, but that they lived and were able to carry the Ark, David paused and offered seven bullocks and seven rams as a sacrifice to God. Then, putting off his royal robe, laying aside his grown, he dressed himself like a priest, put on a linen ephod in order that he might have ease in the exercise which he meant to take and so, in the midst of all the people, like the poorest and meanest of them, he went before the Ark, and playing with his harp, he danced before the Lord with all his might.
While he was so doing he passed by his own house, and Michal, his wife, looking out, thought it was a strange thing to see the king wearing so paltry a robe as a linen ephod! She had rather see him arrayed in some goodly Babylonian garment of fine linen; or she desired to see him clothed with his usual garments, and she despised him in her heart. When David came in, the first words she uttered were a taunt
or she desired to see him clothed with his usual garments, and she despised him in her heart. When David came in, the first words she uttered were a taunt—“How glorious was the king of Israel today!” Then she exaggerated what he did—her spleen found vent in sarcasm; she made it out that he had behaved worse than he could have done. He had simply divested himself of his robes and acted like the rest of the people in playing before God, but she accused him of immodesty. This was, of course, but a pitiful satire, he having in all things acted blamelessly, though humbly, like the rest of the people. His reply to her was with unusual tartness. Seldom did he seem to lose his temper for a moment, but in this case he half did so at any rate. His answer was, “It was before the Lord which chose me before your father, and before all his house.” Thus significantly and, as it were, ominously, did he remind her of her pedigree. And because she had slighted her husband when he had acted in God’s service according to the dictates of his heart, the Lord struck her with a curse—the greatest curse which an Eastern woman could possibly know—a curse, moreover, which wiped out the last expiring hope of her family pride—she went childless to the day of her death.
Well now, this picture is designed to teach us some wholesome lesson. I want you to look at it. You remember that old saying of ours—“We should expect some danger near, when we receive too much delight.” When I see David dancing, I am quite sure there will be a darkening of his heart before long. How happy he looked! His whole countenance radiant with joy! I think I hear him shouting loudest of that crowd, “Sing unto the Lord; sing Psalms unto Him. Sing unto Him. Sing unto Him. Call on His holy name!” And then awakening all the strings of his heart to ecstasy, he sings again, “Sing unto the Lord. Come sing unto Him! Sing Psalms unto His name!” Perhaps he was never in a more holy excitement; his spirits were all heated; he was in a flow of heavenly joy! Ah, David, there is a sting for you somewhere. Now there is a calm, but there is a tempest rising
“More the treacherous calm I dread,
Than tempests rolling overhead.” This joy is on the threshold of a grief. He blesses the people. After he has ceased from his worship of God, he distributes to every man a flagon of wine, and a loaf of bread, and a good piece of meat, and they all eat and are merry before their God. And now David says, “I have blessed the people; I have made them all glad. I will go into my house and I will give them a blessing there.” But he is met on the threshold by his own wife, and she in the most sarcastic manner sneers at him—“How glorious was the king of Israel today!” Poor David is angry, heart-broken and sad. His joy is scattered to the winds for a while; though he puts her off with a rebuke, doubtless the irony went to his soul; the joy of that day was sorely marred—
“A Christian is seldom long at ease, When one trouble’s gone, another does him seize.”
So says old John Bunyan; and we may truly say, when we are at the top of a mountain, we are not far from the bottom of a valley! When we are riding on the top of one wave, it is not long before we shall be in the trough of another! Uphill and downhill is the way to Heaven! Checkered must be our path; golden shades are interwoven with a black ground. We shall have joy, but we must have trial; we shall have transport, but we must have trouble in the flesh.
II. I shall now turn away from the consideration of the trouble, to look at holy David as he meets and encounters it. We have had David’s trial; now we will have DAVID’S JUSTIFICATION. What did David say in extenuation of what he had done? He said, “It was before the Lord, which chose me before your father, and before all his house, and appointed me ruler over the people, over Israel, therefore will I play before the Lord.” David’s justification of his acts was God’s election of him! Do you not see the Doctrine of Election here? God had chosen him before her father Saul. “Now,” says David, “inasmuch as by special love and Divine favor I was lifted up from the common people and made a king, I will stoop down to the common people once again, and I will praise my God as the people do, robed in their vestments, dancing as they dance, and playing on the harp even as the rest of the joyous crowd are doing.” Gratitude was the key note of his worship. Let the worldling say of the Christian when he is acting true to his Master, “You are enthusiastic;” our reply is, “Yes, we are. We may be considered enthusiastic if you judge us by ordinary rules, but we are not to be judged so; we consider that we have been loved with special love; that God has been pleased to forgive us our sins, to accept us by His Sovereign Grace, and give us the privileges of His children—
‘Loved by our God, for Him again
With love intense we burn!
Chosen of Him before time began,
We choose Him in return!’
We do not expect ordinary men to do for God what the Christian would. No,” he says—
“Love I much, I’ve more forgiven!
I’m a miracle of Grace.”
If he gives more to the cause of God than other men think of giving, still it seems very little to him, for he says—
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a tribute far too small!
Love so amazing so Divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!”
Michal may say we have acted madly; she would act the same if she felt as we felt. Men of the world may say we act extravagantly, and go beyond the rule of prudence. They would go beyond the rule of prudence, too, if they had been partakers of like love and received like favor! The man who feels himself to have been chosen of God from before the foundation of the world—who has a solid conviction that his sins are all blotted out; that he is God’s own child; that he is accepted in the Beloved; that his Heaven is secure—I say there is nothing extravagant for that man to do! He will go and be a missionary to the heathen, cross the seas with his life in his hands, and live in the midst of a heathen population.
“What Men say, “What for? He calls gain but a miserable pittance to sustain life, after giving up the most flowery prospects. He must be mad.” Mad no doubt you may account him, if you judge as Michal judged—but if you consider that God has chosen him and loved him with a special love, it is but reasonable, even less than might have been expected—that such a man is ready to sacrifice for Christ!
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel, in nothing terrified by your adversaries.” “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in His name, but also to suffer for His sake.” Amen.
O Lord, let us not be embarrassed or ashamed to praise you, even if others are present. Let us not do it for show, to be seen of men, nor in a truly inappropriate manner, but neither let it be that others falsely supposing our true worship is amiss stop us from worshipping you.
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