Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raw Worship

"David, son of Jesse" you can almost hear Michal exclaim "what in ****'s name were you thinking?!? You're the king of Israel for crying out loud. You know those historians are writing down everything you do and the royal artists had plenty of time to get you inscribed on a scroll in all your glory. And what about your sons, you know the ones that are starting to look at you with shifty eyes while sharpening their spears. They're going to use this to their advantage. If my father were alive, he would pin you to the wall no matter what song you were playing."

David's response: "I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." (2 Sam. 6:21-22).

You see, David had finally gotten the Ark of the Covenant back to God's holy city after previous attempts had failed. As he entered the city he disrobed while leaping and dancing before the Lord. Probably not too far out of line with most wives' reaction, Michal didn't like the idea of her husband, the king, disrobing and dancing in the streets in the presence of other women especially the lowly servant girls. In the church today, most people would seriously frown (at the very least) over someone worshiping God while wearing so little clothing. And the dancing would be taboo as well. But my point today is not about dress codes or choreography in our church worship services.

The idea I want to focus on is in David's response. He didn't just humble himself before the Lord. He humiliated himself. His celebration could be described as primal, emotional, and utterly unkingly. He bypassed respect for God, flew past awe of the Lord, and went straight into the realm of the considering himself slime on the nose of the algae that feeds the pond scum in comparison to the Almighty Creator of the Universe. His actions reflected the status of his heart. Before the Lord, he felt as nothing; opening himself fully to the Spirit that lived within him. His leg and arm flailings serving as primal moans that only the Spirit could interpret, faithfully relaying David's message to God.

Have you experienced such worship? How often do we humble ourselves before God to the point of humiliation? How often do we let our emotions pour out before the only one who can truly understand them anyway? Do we pour out ourselves before God? Do we pour out ourselves before God in the presence of our fellow man? David didn't celebrate in secret. He praised God in the streets in front of his whole kingdom. If the light within you is only visible when you're in the closet with the door shut and the lights out, then you're working too hard to hide it under that bushel.

How can we show our deepest emotions (joy, sorrow, gratitude, fear) in our worship before God? Is it by raising our hands, clapping, or jumping up and down? Do we have to cry or smile or laugh? Does it require any physical manifestation at all? I'm really not sure. But I know that I'm not humiliating myself before God because I'm too worried about humiliating myself before my brothers and sisters. If I raise my hands will people look at me funny? Am I moving around too much when I'm singing? If I close my eyes, will people think I've gone to sleep (I wouldn't be surprised if I sometimes sing in my sleepJ).

Who am I compared to King David, a man after God's own heart? If he can dance in the streets in his underwear, I can certainly allow my emotions to come out in my worship in some form. If I let anything or anyone come between me and my God in my worship, then I am not humiliating myself enough. Whether its clothes or distractions or fear or the shifty eyes of my children, I should lay myself bare before the Lord saying "Here I am Lord; I'm nothing before you; take me as I am and mold me into the likeness of your Son." Oh yeah, and Jesus prayed so hard that sweat fell like blood from his head. I think I could find it within myself to let out a little "barbaric yawp" once in a while.

I will not find this in myself except through complete surrender to His Spirit living within me. And I won't find it if my only search is on Sunday morning. If my entire life is not surrendered to His will, then there will be too much of me and not enough of Him.

Come, Lord Jesus! Let me hunger and thirst for you. Open my heart to the humility that David demonstrated that I may empty myself and be filled with your Spirit. Fill me that I may be wholly yours.

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