Dancing Half Naked (2 Samuel 6:12-23)

2 Samuel
2 Samuel
Dancing Half Naked (2 Samuel 6:12-23)

Preached by Pastor Bryan Clark

Sunday, January 10, 2021


Dancing Half Naked (2 Sa 6:11-23) 

Jan 10, 2021 I love this story because, in one sense, it’s so relatable.  We’ve all had time when we’ve been on cloud 9. Delirious with joy for whatever reason. Giddy. Life couldn’t be better. And then someone pops your balloon. Rains on your parade.  Sometimes it can be your spouse!  He/she thinks you’re crazy.


On the other hand, there is part of that story is hard to relate to. 6:20 half-naked  NIV trying to be discreet. NLT: shamelessly exposing himself.  ESV: uncovering himself  When we want to worship God, dancing around half naked is usually not the first way we want to express that adoration. What do we do with this? How do we explain this to our kids? Little embarrassing.


Walk through this story.  Not 3 points.  3 Movements. 

David Dances in worship. Michal Despises his worship. David Defends his worship

We’ll spend 2 Sundays. What’s w/ linen ephod? Raisin cakes? We’ll get there

David Dances in worship

David is in near ecstasy.  As the parade and marching band move their way down the streets lined with thousands of people, David is dancing and leaping for joy.  With all his might (14).  What makes you want to dance?  Visceral excitement: toes tingle, body gingle. Things I get excited about:  beautiful sunset, finding a new offtrail scenic route to hike in mountains, moment of intimacy with Alicia. “God, thank you for life.” Maybe for you its watching your kids have a great game, dancing on sidelines. Bow hunting and you call in a huge bull elk up close. What makes you want to dance?  


Public worship doesn’t often make the top of the list. Dance around the living room when your team scores a touchdown. But totally reserved in worship 


We want that full engagement of our wills and our emotions and our bodies.  I want there to be in my heart something of the leaping and dancing we see here in David.  This story gets my attention!


What makes David want to dance?  Ark is being carrying into Jerusalem. 

6:2 who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark.  The ark was not merely a symbol of God but a sacrament of his presence.

Symbol represents his presence, really absent:  statue of person

Sacrament reveals his presence, really there!  Dove, burning bush, ark 


Isn’t David silly? Doesn’t he know God is everywhere?  Look carefully at 11-12 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household  There is a special blessing with God’s sacramental presence.  Do you believe that? That is why the church has made the sacramental meal the center of worship. Do you believe that?  One person who didn’t believe God’s sacramental presence worth dancing about. 

Michal Despises his worship 

6:16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.   


daughter of Saul  3x 6:16,20,23. Note that Michal is identified not as David’s wife but as the daughter of Saul. She’s more like her father than her husband.


watched from a window A strange, yet vivid, detail.  Why? She had helped David escape ambush through a window (1Sa 19:12). She had saved him thru a window, now she will judge David thru a window. Their story begins and ends with a “through the window” episode.  Artistic tough. 


NLT: filled with contempt for him. Social scientists define contempt as conceit (you are beneath me) mixed with disgust (you repulse me): a toxic combination, like ammonia with bleach LYE10. When somebody treats you with contempt, you never quite forget it LYE11.


When David came home at last, tired/sweaty, emotionally and physically spent, we see her. came out to meet him (20). She had opted to stay home.  While everybody else was publicly celebrating God’s grace, she said: I’d rather be home.


You can’t just read this story; You have to feel this story. Her makeup was just right, not a hair out of place, not a crease in her fitted gown.  She looked him up and down:  ‘Well!  She said slowly, averting her eyes as if from some disgusting sight.  Her voice dripping with sarcasm:  You’ve distinguished yourself today (20).  Worked up a sweat!  Half-naked!”  Moves within a few inches of his face with look that could freeze the sun. “What were you thinking?  Creating a scene! Not cool.  Exposing yourself.  Vulgar.” A king has a certain image to maintain and he shouldn’t put himself on a level with the, well, unwashed masses


Psychologist and author John Gottman, prof at U of W.  Love lab. After watching a couple interact for 1 hr, can predict with 94% accuracy whether they will divorce within 3 yrs LYE23.  Biggest indicator: contempt. Sarcasm, sneering, hostile humor, eye-rolling.   Gottman:  contempt is ‘sulfuric acid for love.’ LYE25  Heart check: What makes you show contempt?


Public level:  Media and social media can be a breeding ground for contempt. “Ideological equivalent of meth.” Highly addictive LYE28.  Public life isn’t an exchange of ideas; it’s the exchange of contempt. il929   Heart check: What makes you show contempt? 

If after the events of this week, there is a lot of finger pointing at others. If you feel contempt, here’s my challenge: turn off whatever newsfeed is feeding it. Spend that time praying for our your heart, your church’s witness, and for our nation.    


6:23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.  

Contempt makes you unhappy, unhealthy, unattractive even to your loved ones. 

A Christian conveying contempt is a contradiction to the character of Christ. 

David Defends his worship 

6:21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORDOccurs 6x in this chapter (5,14,16,17,21)  Wonderful answer. The slave girls were the audience. It was not performance for people but worship for Yahweh.  An audience of one.


6:22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”  Michal, you are right about this: this is a humbling actTrue worship is self-forgetful. In other words, in true worship, we are drawn out of ourselves. We don’t look around nervously, wondering how we appear to others.  We don’t worry about whether our voice sounds right.  

Not a lapse of judgement. Didn’t get carried away. Intentional. Should we all then dance half-naked? Does this justify liturgical dance?  Is David the new icon of the body positivity movement?  We’re a bit embarrassed?

What if the naked thing is not about what we should do for God, but what God did for us in and through Jesus?

The removal of robes has been a theme in the book of Samuel. Robes symbolize kingship (15:28, 18:4, 24:4).

15:28 Saul grabs Samuels robe and it rips, the kingdom is ripped out of his hand. 

18:4 Jonathan takes off his robes and puts them on David: you will be king

19:24 when Saul is stripped of his clothes (goes naked), stripped of his kingdom


The robes represent the dignity and splendor of the king. They were too important to the daughter of Saul.  Saul could not give up the frills and trappings (pomp, perks, pageantry) of royalty. Held on to them for dear life.  


God blesses his people here with his sacramental presence. But Michal will have none of it. Below my dignity. I will not stoop to that. She would not share in the blessing. This is the last we hear of her in the book of 2 Samuel (YKC 194).


6:20 I will be humiliated  David had put aside these things, joyfully humbling himself, putting himself at the same level as a servant. Made himself nothing. 

Jesus abandoned his royal dignity in an act of glad humility. 

Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used for his own advantage 2:7 but made himself nothing  Lit: emptied himself, gave up his rights. Humiliated himself—intentionally. Surrendered divine privilege, not divine attributes.  Llike David here, he didn’t stop being king.  


Far from being an embarrassment, David is a picture of the coming king!

6:22 I will become undignified [humbled, demeaned, dishonored] and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these servants, I will be held in honor.”