Resisting the Devil – ‘Joy’

Excerpt from Resisting the Devil, chapter 7, by Robert Prins

“It was a great day when the ark of the covenant was finally brought to Jerusalem. It was all being done according to the word of the Lord. The priests were carrying the ark, sacrifices were being made, people were singing and dancing. There was great rejoicing and gladness. Even their king was out there dancing with all his might and providing the sacrifices. After so long, while the ark of God was in captivity with the Philistines, and then sitting around in people’s houses, it was finally coming back to where it belonged. At last the people could turn their hearts back to God in the way He had asked to be worshipped. At the end of the ark’s journey, king David provided all the people with a feast of bread, dates and raisins. This was a new beginning, a new opportunity to serve God in the way they had been asked to serve Him. Everyone was rejoicing. Everyone had joy in their hearts. Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was doing the right thing. Everyone … except Michal.

2 Samuel 6
The narrative of Michal in Samuel includes two window scenes. In 1 Samuel 19, Michal helps David escape from Saul by letting him down through a window (top), while in 2 Samuel 6, Michal watches David dance before the ark (bottom).

Michal was not down on the street joining in the celebrations. She was not dancing. She was not singing. She was not even smiling. Michal was looking out of her upstairs window with a scowl on her face. While everyone else had joy in their hearts for the events of the day, she refused to rejoice. While everyone else was doing what was right, she chose to be miserable.

The joy of that day kept all the people focused on what was good. If we had taken a census of the rates of sin and temptation for that particular day in Israel, it would have been one of the lowest rating days in their history. But Michal, who decided not to fill herself with the joy that was offered, gave in to the temptations to despise her husband, to refuse to give glory to God, to be grumpy and negative on a day of rejoicing, to excel in sarcasm and to develop a critical attitude (2 Samuel 6:12-23).

“12  And it was told king David, saying, Jehovah hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with joy. 13 And it was so, that, when they that bare the ark of Jehovah had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David danced before Jehovah with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of Jehovah with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 And it was so, as the ark of Jehovah came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before Jehovah; and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of Jehovah, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before Jehovah. 18 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Jehovah of hosts. 19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to every one a cake of bread, and a portion of flesh, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed every one to his house.

20  Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! 21 And David said unto Michal, It was before Jehovah, who chose me above thy father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of Jehovah, over Israel: therefore will I play before Jehovah. 22 And I will be yet more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight: but of the handmaids of whom thou hast spoken, of them shall I be had in honor. 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.” (2Sa 6:12-23 ASV) {Our addition for this article}

Like Michal, a lack of joy in our lives will make other temptations much harder and often nearly impossible to overcome.”

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  3. The Ark of the Covenant – 1 Samuel 5–6
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