Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. (2 Samuel 6:12–15)
Recently, at a New Room Conference, we had Bishop James Edward Swanson Sr. preach. It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen a preacher dance a lap around the auditorium, praising God at the top of his lungs, to end his sermon. Some might have thought this display was over-the-top or even undignified. For me, it reminded me of King David’s rejoicing and dancing before the Lord with all his might while bringing the Ark of the Lord into the City of David.
In David, we see a strong leader, whom many believed should maintain a calm and controlled demeanor before his people. This was accentuated by Michal, daughter of Saul, who chastised David for his dancing and suggested that it was indecent to be seen in this way. Then, of course, we have David’s famed 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, emphasis mine).
Interestingly, we could contrast this passage with the words of Jesus who said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matt. 6:6). It would appear that Scripture encourages both secret acts of prayer and praise along with public acts. Matthew Henry clarifies this when he said, “As secret worship is better the more secret it is, so public worship is better the more public it is.” Perhaps we should take our cue from David and Bishop Swanson: if we are going to delight in God publicly, we should do it with all our hearts, like we mean it. If we are to delight in God privately, we should do it with all our hearts in secret, like we mean it.
Jesus, you are the Most High King. I worship you from the bottom of my heart, from the secret of my room to the top of my lungs. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Can you recall a time in your life when you worshipped God with everything you had in secret? Now what about publicly? Consider sharing one or both of these with your band.
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