Day 13 2 Samuel 6 ... King of Passion

An unavoidable question dangles over the Bible's account of David's life. How could anyone so obviously flawed-he did, as we shall see, commit adultery and murder-be called "a man after God's own heart"? The central event in this chapter may point to an answer to that question.

David consistently acknowledged that God, not a human king, was the true ruler of Israel, and so in one of his first official acts, he sent for the sacred ark of the LORD that had been captured by the Philistines half a century before. He would install it in Jerusalem, the new capital city he was building, as a symbol of God's reign.

It took a few false starts to get the ark to Jerusalem. Without looking up the regulations given to Moses, the Israelites tried transporting the ark on an ox cart, as the Philistines paraded their gods, rather than on the shoulders of the Levites, as God had commanded. Somebody died, David got mad, and the ark sat in a private home for three months.

Nevertheless, when the ark finally did move to Jerusalem, to the accompaniment of a brass band and the shouts of a huge crowd, King David completely lost control. Bursting with joy, he cartwheeled in the streets, like an Olympic gymnast who has just won the gold medal and is out strutting his stuff.

Needless to say, the scene of a dignified king doing backflips in a scanty robe broke every rule ever devised by a politician's image builders. David's wife, for one, was scandalized. But David set her straight: It was God, no one else, that he was dancing before. And, king or no, he didn't care what anyone else thought as long as that one-person audience could sense his jubilation.

In short, David was a man of passion, and he felt more passionately about the God of Israel than about anything else in the world. The message got through to the entire nation. As Frederick Buechner has written, "He had feet of clay like the rest of us if not more so-self-serving and deceitful, lustful and vain-but on the basis of that dance alone, you can see why it was David more than anybody else that Israel lost her heart to and why, when Jesus of Nazareth came riding into Jerusalem on his flea-bitten mule a thousand years later, it was as the Son of David that they hailed him" (Peculiar Treasures, p. 24).

Point to Ponder: : If you had been in the crowd watching David dance, how would you gave responded?