Anyone remember Mikhail Gorbachev, the fall of “The Wall” in 1989, and the end of the “Cold War”? Well today we’re going to look at another Michal, this one built a wall and started a ‘cold war’. This Michal lived about 1000 years BC and had a sad life which has been recorded for us in 1st and 2nd Samuel. In 1 Sam 14:49 we find she was the youngest daughter of King Saul and then from 1 Sam 18:10-29 we find she becomes second prize and given to David, though she does love him, as we see in 1 Sam 19:9-18 where she defies her father King Saul and saves David’s life. This however began the start of her downfall. For in 1 Sam 25:40-44 we read that while an exile, David takes Abigail and others as wives, whilst her father, in retaliation, takes her from the one she loves and gives her to another man.
But maybe all is not lost, for in 2 Sam 3:12-16 we take up the story with Michal being the price paid to David for an alliance to gain the kingdom. She is reunited with her love. David could have demanded many things to achieve this, but his love for his first wife still burned for her. As an aside, you cannot but feel for the heartbreak of Paltiel who must have loved her dearly to have not wanted to abandon her. So maybe her life is good now, being redeemed back to her first love. Though she must now share him with others.
Meanwhile, the Arc of the Covenant, the Judgement Seat, the Mercy Seat, the Seat of Meeting between man and God, had been lost to the enemy. Now we come to 2 Sam chapter 6. We can imagine that her childlessness was due to never again sharing a loving moment with her husband. She had erected a wall of contempt between them and there now existed a ‘cold war’ in their household. Childlessness became her self-imposed recompense, while David was given many sons and daughters, and even her sister Merab bore five sons. She ended her days without the love and companionship of her husband, caring for her dead sister’s five children, all of whom were ultimately beheaded. It is interesting to note that just a little later, her rejected husband spied a woman he shouldn’t have, and had a son that could have been hers.
So what can we learn from this tragic tale? The practical lessons regarding marital relationships are rather obvious. If we, in any relationship, choose to ‘harden our hearts’, then there are always going to be tragic results. Had Michal sought forgiveness for her outburst after hearing David’s explanation for his lack of decorum, all may have been put right. Love and forgiveness are always the major weapons against contempt and estrangement within any relationship. And just for good measure don’t forget Ephesians 5:33.
But wait, there’s more happening in this story. Who is this woman, and what brings her to this tragic ending? She is born a daughter of the King of Israel. She is raised as a princess of the kingdom. She falls in love, probably as a rebellious teenager, with a virile young man who has just become the nation’s hero. She finally gets to marry him, only to find that her hero has become a hunted fugitive hiding in the wilderness, not the gallant knight wining and dining her in the company of aristocracy. And then was handed off by her father to some lackey, how degrading! And then to be traded back yet again, and this time to the man who had taken her father’s kingdom and was now parading himself shamelessly in the streets like some drunken commoner. This was obviously too much for someone of her birthright to accept. David had been a shepherd and it was clear to her that he still danced with the sheep. Well, not her! Her pride could not let her embrace the joy that her husband wanted to share with her. The old saying is still true today as it was then, “pride comes before a fall”. How often do we take pride in our positions in society to the detriment of our fulfilled joy? Have we as “good” Christians disdained our brothers and sisters who have yet to know their salvation? Maybe that is why so many churches are running low on members, they’re childless!
And then there is the question of compatibility of faith. We know that David was a man after Yahweh’s heart, yet we are told in the story of how she had saved David’s life from her father’s anger that she used a bedroom idol to dupe the soldiers. She did not have the faith of Yahweh as David did, and this would also show in her reaction to David’s dancing. For to her there was not something worth getting so excited over when God’s Meeting Place with His People , the Mercy Seat, the Arc of the Covenant, was finally coming home so that God could again dwell with His people. We see the same with the Pharisees against Jesus, and we see the same today as religious falsehoods and traditions get in the way of God rejoicing in fellowship with His children – all of them, not just those in churches! Has the church, as the Bride of Christ, become so haughty in its perceived position that it has become estranged from its bridegroom and become barren? Has the religion of western Christianity become the sour brother to the prodigal son and forgotten how to rejoice and celebrate being in the Father’s presence? Let us take the time to rejoice in the coming home of all who have need to know their heavenly Father’s welcome, and let us all humble ourselves and become undignified as we dance with great joy in His presence!