Have a read through 1 Samuel 6: 12-22 - maybe try a few different versions of the bible to get a full flavour of what is going on here.
“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.” (1 Sam 6: 12-15)
Worship Is a Response
Religions around the world try to make gods respond to them through worship, but this is not the picture we get in the bible. In the bible we're told that God's desire is to be present with his people, and our worship is a response to his presence. When David saw that God's presence was in the city - he couldn't help but worship - he got so excited that he took most of his clothes off and danced like crazy. How is it that we are able to keep ourselves from responding to God in this way - Jesus died on the cross, took our sin, rose again and then filled us with his same dynamite presence that raised Jesus from the dead - woooohoooo! If that doesn't make you want to jump, shout, dance, then what will?
Our Worship is For an Audience of One
"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 Lord." (v 21)
Although David's dancing was visible to the people around him, his heart had a single focus - to bring Joy to God's heart. He wasn't bothered what people thought, his inhibitions were non existent because he was in the presence of his daddy and there his identity was secure - even when the accusations came from those closest to him. David lost the fear of man in the presence of the Lord. This is what authentic worship looks like and it can take many forms; singing, dancing, cooking, making noise, serving people practically & even speaking words of blessing over people.
Worship is a Sacrifice - That Leads to Our TRUE Identity
David's worship meant laying aside his status. Kings's ought to be in royal robes doing important political things, but David strips back to the core of who he is. He wears special priests underwear - not usual attire for someone who is not a priest, but David knows that the reality of being a human is to be a priest - someone who stands in the presence of God and also represents God on earth (remind you of anyone?). When we worship we need to be humble, to give up our self importance and any worldly status - here we get restored to our true identity as sons and daughters of the king of the universe - no status given to us by any person or any system can be better than this!
Worship Changes the World
Whilst David's worship is for the Lord it has a practical impact on the people of Jerusalem. David doesn't conjure up God's presence, but his response to God's presence makes God's presence known to people who may not have noticed it and clearly demonstrates the importance and magnitude of God's presence. Our worshipful response to God's presence makes him known to a world that doesn't always know what his presence looks like.
David's worship doesn't stop at reckless art filled expressions of gratitude but spills out into reckless generosity.
"After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes. (vv 18-19)
Odds are the crowd was pretty big and David provides several days worth of dinner for each family. This distribution of wealth is an integral part of David's worship. Our worship must always include us becoming carriers of God's justice out in to the world - in fact, if it doesn't, it is not real worship and God doesn't want it! (Check out Amos 5 :21-24)
When we make space to encounter God's presence, we can't help but respond with worship.
When we respond with the single goal of bringing Joy to His heart we lose our inhibitions and the fear of man - we find freedom!
When we disregard ourselves in pursuit of the Lord, he reveals the fullness of who we are (in partnership with him) which is so much better than any identity we can give ourselves or any that we accept from the world around us.
When we encounter the presence of God and intentionally host him in our lives, we splash his presence out into the the world around us - all creation benefits. We partner with God and become the conduit that links heaven and earth - we join in with the big story of scripture where heaven and earth are being reunited.
For those of you here at creation fest - so many young people responded today saying they want to become worshippers like David today - please do follow this up together as a family!
Where can you make space to encounter God as a family and what will your worshipful response look like?