DANCING with GOD
“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isa. 51:11, KJV).
There are several references to dancing before the Lord in the Old Testament. The one which came to mind first, was King David leaping and dancing before the Lord with all his might, on the occasion when he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the City of David
Following this humiliating defeat of Israel, the Philistines took the Ark to their god Dagonâs temple in Ashdod, where they sat it beside the likeness of Dagon.
They sent the cart to the Israelite town of Beth Shemesh. The people of the town were happy to see the Ark, so they chopped up the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. Their joy was short lived, however, when God struck seventy of them dead, because they had looked into the Ark of the Lord (I Sam.
Fast forward the tape to the time when David ruled Israel. He and thirty thousand chosen men set out to bring the Ark from Abinadabâs house to Jerusalem, which was now his capital city. They placed the Ark on a new cart, guided by Abinadabâs sons, Uzzah and Ahio. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals (II Sam. 6:1-5; 7, NIV).
David felt two intense emotions: anger and
Someone is sure to ask or think, “So what has this to do with our lives today?” I
David loved the Lord with all his heart and all his might as so many Psalms attest, so perhaps he became angry when God smote Uzzah simply because he had his feelings hurt. Why would God, who had been with him in countless battles, now put such a sour note on David’s plan to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem? On a darker note, David was the “Lord High Everything Else” in Israel. He was the King. The buck stopped on his desk, and while that carried a lot of responsibility, it also could have inflated his ego, filling him with pride. Usually, lessons learned do not start with those at the top of the heap, but begin at the lowly bottom rung. Plus, he was afraid for his own life, and kings and others in power are loath to deal with personal insecurities. So are we.
The main lesson here is that when God gave an order or laid out a plan of action under the Law of Moses, He expected that plan to be followed. Failure to comply often brought God’s swift and terrible retribution. I was very afraid of Him in my youth, because I had not yet learned to rightly divide the word of truth.
Though we live by grace, not law, there still are personal consequences when God is disrespected. My Baptism in the Spirit gave me great joy and comfort, but also filled me with the sure knowledge that God is as able to discipline us today as He was then. I’m not talking about striking people dead, although sometimes the nightly news makes one wonder about that, but the Hebrew writer said, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son...If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons”
Those cactus patches I’ve written so often about could be discipline, or they could merely be course correction, but either way, when God’s judgments come upon the earth, we, “the people of the world learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9).
Shortly after we came to Neosho, I heard a statement
As I was pondering this, the following words came to me. They could have been written by David, or by Jan, or who knows, maybe even by you:
DANCING WITH GOD
hard to please, always ready to pounce, who would want to dance
When I’m weary with my load of care, burdened by feelings of despair,
does He know and does He care? Is He really there?
Why would He want to dance with me?
When my knees ache and my back hurts, and my mind
is sagging from carrying the load, how could I dance with God?
I’m too tired, too wobbly on my feet, but He’s so very sweet;
He’ll put my feet on His and then, He’ll dance for both of us.
So in spite of leaden feet and a learning curve that’s steep,
I can dance with God! He paid the price for me to dance with him.
I’m really, truly free.
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever” (Psalm 30:11-12. RSV).