2 Samuel 6:23
The greatest day of David's life did not end without a cloud. His wife Michal, "Saul's daughter" (ver. 16; 2 Samuel 3:13; 1 Samuel 19:11-17), had not, from whatever cause, gone forth to meet him with the other women (ver. 19)on his return to Jerusalem with the sacred ark; on beholding from a window of the palace, as the procession swept past, the enthusiasm which he displayed, "she despised him in her heart;" and when, after he had blessed the people, he returned to bless his household, she met him with sarcastic reproaches. "When at a distance she scorned him, when he came home she scolded him" (Matthew Henry). "Whereas David came to bless his house, she, through her foolishness, turneth his blessing into a curse" (Willet). Her scorn (like that of others) was -

I. INDULGED IMPROPERLY.

1. Without adequate cause; and even on account of what should have had an opposite effect. Fervent piety is not understood by those who do not possess it, and is therefore wrongly and uncharitably judged of by them (1 Samuel 1:13-18). "In Saul's time public worship was neglected, and the soul for vital religion had died out of the family of the king" (Keil).

2. From want of spiritual sympathy; in love to God and joy in his service. Her religion (like her father's) was marked by superstition, formality, and cold conventional propriety. She "knew nothing of the impulse of Divine love" (Theodoret). "The life from and in God remains a mystery to every one until, through the Spirit of God himself, it is unsealed to his experience" (Krummacher).

3. With a sinful mind - vain, proud, discontented, unwifely, irreverent (Ephesians 5:33), and resentful. "Probably she bitterly resented her violent separation from the household joys that had grown up around him in her second home. Probably the woman who had teraphim among her furniture cared nothing for the ark of God. Probably, as she grew older, her character had hardened in its lines, and become like her father's in its measureless pride, and in its half-dread, half-hatred, of David. And all these motives together pour their venom into her "sarcasm" (Maclaren). She had not "a meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).

II. EXPRESSED OFfENSiVELY. "How glorious the King of Israel made himself today," etc.!

1. At an unseasonable time; when, full of devotional feeling, he was returning from public worship "to bless his household," and when such language was calculated to be a cause of pain and of stumbling. But scoffers are inconsiderate, and reckless of the mischief their words may occasion.

2. With exaggerated statements and misrepresentation of motives. David had neither committed any impropriety, nor been desirous of vain display in the eyes of others, nor careless of affording occasion for their contempt. Mockers often ridicule in others what is really the creation of their own imagination or suspicion, and the reflection of the evil that is in their own hearts.

3. With bitter irony and derision. How keenly it was felt by the sensitive spirit of David may be learnt from what he says of an evil tongue (Psalm 52:2; Psalm 57:4; Psalm 120:3). "Scoffing at religion is irrational; rude and uncivil; a most cruel and unhuman sin; a most hardening vice; its impiety in the sight of God surpasses all description; it is a contagious and injurious vice" (J. A. James).

III. ANSWERED CONCLUSIVELY. By:

1. A sufficient explanation and defence. "It was before Jehovah" that he had "played;" conscious of his presence and desirous of giving him honour. He was not insensible to his own royal dignity; but recognized the surpassing greatness and goodness of Jehovah, from whom it was derived, and acted only in accordance therewith by giving free expression to his humble gratitude and abounding joy. His language was restrained (Psalm 39:1; Psalm 141:3); though not without rebuke of the proud daughter of the king in preference to whom, and all his house, himself had been chosen.

2. An expression of his resolve to proceed still further in his course of self-humiliation (Psalm 131:1).

3. And of his expectation of finding honour instead of reproach among others. In the affectionate regard of those who sympathize with fervent piety, there is abundant compensation for the contempt of those who despise it. "In this incident we have the clue to that spiritual conception of his duties and position which distinguished David from Saul. It was, in fact, his spiritual conception of the true Israel, of the high privileges and duties of worshippers in the holy place, and above all of the privileges and duties of a king, as one who should carry out Jehovah's counsels upon earth, which distinguished David's reign, not only from that of Saul, but from that of any subsequent Jewish monarch" ('The Psalms chronologically arranged,' by Four Friends).

IV. PUNISHED DESERVEDLY. "Michal's childlessness is specially mentioned as a punishment of her pride. This was the deepest humiliation for an Oriental woman" (Erdmann). The scorner:

1. Inflicts a self-injury, by hardening the heart and rendering it less capable of faith, love, hope, sympathy, and joy; more solitary, discontented, useless, and unhappy.

2. Becomes unamiable and odious in the sight of others.

3. Incurs the displeasure of God; for "surely he scorneth the scorners" (Proverbs 3:34). "Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong" (Isaiah 28:22).

EXHORTATION.

1. Expect to meet with opposition and contempt in your zeal for God. Even Christ himself was despised and mocked.

2. Count it no strange thing, if in your household, which you desire to bless, there should be those who deprive themselves of the blessing and dislike your devotion.

3. Suffer not their scorn to quench your zeal for God and your love for their souls.

4. Seek in Divine fellowship consolation amidst human reproach. - D.







David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father.
I What effect had this doctrine, this experience, this inward conviction upon David?

I. IT MADE GOD THE LEADING THOUGHT WITH DAVID.

1. This was especially the case with David in his devotion. David that day worshipped God in spirit and in truth. The effect of this truth upon David was also that, as the Lord had become the great influence of his life, and the great object of his adoration, so he was to him his supreme Lord.

II. Secondly, IT WILL CREATE IN US A PROPER DISREGARD FOR HUMAN OPINION.

1. In his worship David did not allow the opinions of men to weigh with him. He worshipped "before the Lord," and there he left it.

2. He does not seek honour from the many. David sought not the honour which cometh from men.

3. David did not even consult the judgment of the few.

4. Beloved, the doctrines of grace put the very idea of honouring man out of court with us.

III. Then, thirdly, A SENSE OF ELECTION CAUSES A LOW OPINION OF SELF. David said, "I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight." David would more and more abase himself before the Lord. A sense of electing love will render you base in your own sight. I will tell you why.

1. First, you will never understand why the Lord has chosen you. Often will you sing:

"What was there in me that could merit esteem,

Or give the Creator delight?

'Twas even so, Father,' I ever must sing,

'Because it seem'd good in thy sight.'"

2. I dare say David, in a few quick thoughts, reviewed his former estate.

3. Then the king recollected the dangers and troubles he had experienced.

4. David's high position must have made him feel lowly when he knew to whom he owed it all. All the while David had a deep sense of his personal unworthiness. He did not know his own heart fully — no man does so. But he knew enough of himself to make him base in his own sight; for he could never think himself worthy of the choice of God, and all that it involved. Our heart adores and wonders as we think of the election of God. As we rise in the assurance of the Divine choice, we sink in our valuation of ourselves.

IV. A SENSE OF DIVINE ELECTION FOSTERS A FEELING OF HOLY BROTHERHOOD. It is wonderful how democratic the doctrines of grace are, and how aristocratic they are too. The chosen are all kings, and when we mix with the poorest of them we are kings with kings. Free grace strips the proud, but it adorns the humble. David honoured the humblest of the Lord's chosen; for when Michal talked about what the handmaids of his servants would say, he answered, "Of the maid-servants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour." To be esteemed by them was a cheer to him.

V. A SENSE OF BEING CHOSEN OF GOD STIRS A DESIRE FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD.

1. Such service will be personal.

2. This personal service will be cheerful.

3. This service will be in connection with the great sacrifice.

4. This service should be thoughtful.

5. This service must be obedient.

6. This service should be practical.

7. This service must be seen at home.If you are chosen of God you will, like David, bless your household. You will long to see your sons and daughters brought to God.

VI. A SENSE OF DIVINE ELECTION WILL EXCITE SACRED ENTHUSIASM.

1. David had an inward delight in God. God was his exceeding joy.

2. In David's case his inward peace boiled over in holy excitement. Before the ark he was singing, he was harping, he was worshipping, and at last must show it by the joyful motion of his body.

3. David felt so exultant that he wished everybody to know of his joy in God. He told all the crowd around of his delight in God; and he sang that day, "Declare His glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Once robbers besieged a monastery to rob it of its treasures. The monks carried the golden organ to a river near by, and sunk it in the water to keep it from the robbers' hands. At certain periods, so the legend runs, the organ would rise out of the river and give forth such ravishing music as was never elsewhere heard by mortal ears. Such an instrument is a truly thankful heart — one in which is the joy of the Lord. The floods may go over it, but it ever rises out of them and sings its sweetest songs. Nothing can ever check its praise. It sings in the darkest night, its music rolling out into the gloom to cheer the weary pilgrim. A thankful heart always finds something good, even when all things seem evil.

Billy Bray, the Cornish preacher, was a constant visitor among the sick and dying. On one occasion he was sitting by the beside of a Christian brother who had been always very reticent, and afraid to confess joyously his faith in Christ. Now, however, he wast filled with gladness. Turning to Billy, whose beaming face and sunny words had done so much to produce this joy, he said, "Oh, Mr. Bray, I'm so happy that, if I had the power, I'd shout 'Glory!'" "Hae, mon," said Billy, "what a pity it was thee didn't shout 'Glory!' when thee hadst the power!"

In the Natural History Museum at Central Park, New York, a valuable butterfly may be seen. It is estimated that the insect cost its former owner, a Pennsylvanian doctor, at least £2,000. The butterfly is to be found only in a certain part of West Africa, and the gentleman fitted out an expedition and maintained it for more than two years, in order that the rare insect might be added to his entomological collection. If such zeal is shown by one who desires to secure a butterfly, is it to be wondered at that Christians at times display an unusual enthusiasm? Ought they not rather to do so more widely and frequently, when the glory of God and the salvation of never-dying souls are at stake?

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