Don’t Be Afraid to Look Foolish

The Big Idea

God’s blessing is so good that as we respond to it in the moment and in life then sometimes this will look foolish to others. We should not be deterred by what others think but should be ready to look foolish for the Lord!

Bible Passage

2 Samuel 6:12-22

What’s Happening?

The ark of the covenant was a wooden box. It contained some of the most sacred items from Israel’s history (including some of the manna that came from heaven, Aaron’s rod that budded and the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written by God’s own hand). It symbolised the presence of God himself and was supposed to be kept in the most holy place in the tabernacle.

Decades before we pick up the story, the ark had been lost. The Israelites had taken it our to battle with them as though it would be a ‘lucky mascot’ to give them victory, even though the nation was corrupt and far from God. It didn’t work and the ark was captured by the Philistines. While Israel kept losing in battle, the ark went on a rampage on its own, decapitating philistine idols in their temples! The Philistines quickly realised that they didn’t want to mess with it and returned it across the border to Israel.

The ark had made it as far as the house of a man called Abinadab and had been there ever since. Nobody had thought to retrieve it and bring it back to the tabernacle where it belonged. This was a problem that David wanted to solve, and so he agreed to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. Their first attempt was careless. One of the crew died, having taken the holiness of the ark too lightly, and so they left the ark at another house. But having heard that the house in which they had placed the ark had been blessed by the Lord, they decided to go again and complete the job.

The whole operation turned into a worship procession. David rejoiced all the way. Every six steps they stopped and made sacrifices. He danced with all his might. He wore only a linen ephod (a priestly garment that resembles an apron). They were all shouting and playing loud music. It all seems a bit over the top until you realise what he is doing. Is there such a thing as over the top when it comes to joy in the presence of the living God? David was moved in the moment and rightly responded with whole hearted worship and joy before the Lord.

David’s wife, Michal, had a very different take on things. When David got back home she told him off for his actions. In her eyes, it was undignified for the king to act in such a way, dancing about in an ephod in full public view. The way things look to other people was more important to her than the heart of celebration before God. Propriety was to be valued higher than exuberance.

David’s answer pointed out that he wasn’t doing this for the people around him, but for God. If it expressed the praise that he had for all God has done for him then he didn’t mind how it looked in the eyes of other people. He wasn’t afraid to look foolish as he praised the Lord.

Taking It to Jesus

Jesus’ refusal to conform to the expectations of propriety in his day also led to lots of criticism. He kept company with the wrong people. He ate and drank enough to get himself a reputation. He disregarded the pharisees code of conduct for the Sabbath. But in it all he was in relationship with his father, and all that he did flowed out of that relationship. Just like David, Jesus was not afraid to look foolish!

Potential Applications:

  • Do not hold back in both corporate and personal worship – be ready to express your praise in ways that may not make sense to others.
  • Understand that ‘what will person x’ think can hold us back from living the Christian life and overcome this fear of man.
  • Be careful not to judge the way others are expressing whole-hearted praise of God.