2 Samuel 6:12-19
When David brings the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, Michal, one of David’s wives, does not join the others for the parade. She watches from the window, despising David. “Well, that’s not very nice,” we first think. “She’s certainly not supporting her husband.” Then we discover her story. In 2 Samuel 3 David takes Michal, who is Saul’s daughter, from her husband Paltiel to solidify David’s hold on the throne. Paltiel follows her, weeping as he walks behind her, surrounded by the king’s entourage, until he is ordered to leave Michal and return home (3:16).
Using women in this political way was typical. We hurt with her and understand why she won’t take part in the significant festivities below her window. When David dances in his undergarments, she despised him in her heart (v. 16). His joy comes at the expense of her sorrow.
David, unaware of Michal’s anger, continues to share the love he feels, giving cake to each household that is present. Everyone is in on the party except Michal, who hates it all.
We find this narrative’s dynamic and dilemma familiar. Something similar still plays out in communities when our stories unfold in all their complexity. Good things happen. Excellent celebrations take place that include many in the victory, the windfall, the benefits, and the joy. When the ark arrives, the whole town seems happy. But we must read the footnote, too, and hear of the suffering linked to this celebration.
Life is complex, and there’s usually more to a narrative than first meets the eye. The disposition of someone’s heart has everything to do with their story. When we read the story, we need to take the time to see the full picture. Celebration is an essential part of life, and parades are important. But some aren’t able to take part and we need to realize why.
When have you realized that your joy came at the expense of another’s sorrow? Whose stories make you more compassionate and understanding of their response to life?
God, make me slow to judge and quick to care for anyone in the story. Amen.