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DANCING BEFORE THE LORD: Life Lessons from King David & Michal, Bible Study

Updated: May 8

What a different story might have been written about Michal, the first wife of King David, if only she had been a woman after God’s own heart.

Michal was the youngest daughter of King Saul. She was the first wife of David. She loved her husband in the beginning. She once helped him escape from her father’s attack. Later on, she forsook him, becoming the wife of Phalti. She was a woman full of pride and had a loyal love only for prestige. She was eventually restored to David, but her love for him ultimately turned to scorn and disdain.

Let’s look at Scripture and pull out some truths and life lessons from this Bible story that we can learn from and apply to our own lives.

Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

{2 Samuel 6:14-16 NIV}

Wow! Despised is a strong word. It actually means to feel contempt or a deep repugnance for. Some synonyms for the word include: detest, hate, loathe, and abhor. I don’t know about you, but I would hate for my spouse to despise me for demonstrating my affection before the Lord.

That is what was happening here.

Michal misunderstood David’s motives.

She had no appreciation for the event. She failed to understand the significance of bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of David and she deeply resented him for his public display. David was celebrating with enthusiasm the arrival of the Ark, the presence of God. He was pouring out his heart and worship in the presence of the Lord. But because Michal neither shared David’s heart for God, nor did she share his same faith, she failed to understand what was taking place. She didn’t get it.

Here are some lessons we can learn from the life of Michal:

Michal may have been a king’s daughter, but she lacked the heart and character of true royalty.

Michal made no effort to understand her husband’s Godward desires. In return, she passed wrong judgment upon him. Michal was a mirror image of an angry and outspoken wife.

In her eyes, she saw him disrobe in the sight of slave girls, & though his dance vulgar. She accused David’s display as unworthy of the dignity of a king.

When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

{2 Samuel 6:20}

We must be so careful not to make this same mistake.

  • We must be careful not to make assumptions, pass judgments, or jump to harsh conclusions about others. We must recognize that we are unable to accurately weigh the motives of one’s heart. There is only one Judge who sits on the throne and that is God. Only He is able to see into the heart of man and measure one’s motives and behaviors. Only He can truly see who a person is and why a person does what they do.

  • Don’t question another without first questioning the other or seeking God. Recognize you could be wrong.

David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

{2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV}

  • Do apologize for behaving unrighteous. She could have apologized to her husband for her misunderstanding once she received knowledge of the truth and heard his explanation.

  • Michal should have asked for forgiveness. Be quick to ask for forgiveness when stepping into the wrong.

David realized that they could never share the same heart for God, and as a response, he cut his bride from his heart.

Michal was eaten up with pride and had no room for tolerance or acceptance. There was no harmony in their relationship, which didn’t make for a good marriage, and they eventually separated.

Who are the Michal’s who need to be cut from your heart?

Are there people in your life who are always looking down on you or passing judgment?

Are there condemning voices from the enemy that are constantly speaking negative tones over you?

Are there relationships in your life that are continuously toxic and inharmonious?

Are there people who openly despise you for dancing before the Lord and misunderstand your motives, or scorn your Christian behavior without understanding your true heart for God?

Perhaps, it’s time to separate by cutting these relationships from your heart, your mind, or your life.

When dancing for Jesus you may be misunderstood for your Christian faith.

There may be people in your life who fail to understand your righteous motives or behaviors.

David had experienced numerous victories with the Lord and had much cause for celebration. Maybe you can relate and that is why you dance for Jesus. But not all can relate, because not all have shared in these types of victories.

Pray for the Michal’s in your life and bless them. Pray that God would open their spiritual eyes and that they would experience a change of heart and become a man or woman after God’s heart. Pray that they would come to experience victories from the Lord in their own life.

Remember that man can’t see as God sees. We must forgive others, as Jesus has forgiven us, even when we are misunderstood or despised, because they know not what they do.

Here is some Good News:

God does know. God sees and understands all. He sees you clearly and loves you unconditionally. He understands fully who you are and why you celebrate Him. He also understands the pain of being misunderstood and despised for His faith and obedience.

Because He sees and knows all, we can talk to Him about anything and everything.

dancing before the Lord

Lessons to Learn from the Life of David:

David danced before the Lord unashamed & unapologetic. He was willing to strip himself bare and be undignified before God.

We must recognize, as born-again Christians, we don’t have to look the part to play the part. We don’t have to dress to impress as a queen or princess, in order to be seen as royalty.

We must understand that we are children of God. We must remember our God given identity.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

{Romans 8:14-17 NIV}

If you have received Christ as Lord and Savior, then you are a new creation. You have been given a new name. You have become a child of the one true King. That is your royal inheritance as sons and daughters of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

{2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV}

We don’t have to prove our identity or force it upon others. All we have to do is receive it. We must believe and know who God is to us and who we are to Him.

We can be free and comfortable in our own skin, to dance before our kin, our heavenly Father.
Don’t allow the Michal’s in your life to put shame back on you- the shame that Jesus rid you of and stripped you from.

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

{Psalm 30:11-12 NIV}

  • Don’t be ashamed or afraid to bare it all before Jesus. He has covered you anew with a white robe of righteousness. Don’t hide or cover up.

  • Don’t feel the need to apologize to man for behaving righteously before God.

  • Dance with all of your heart as David did. Celebrate your faith, praise God for your victories, and thank Him for His gifts, even when others don’t get it or share your same heart for Jesus.

  • You don’t have to be in right standing with man to be in right standing with God.

  • You can’t help but dance in all you do when you know all He has done.

  • Dance out of a LOVE response toward God, not for a love response from man.

  • Don’t dance to be seen, or heard, or recognized. Don’t dance to make a name for yourself. Dance to glorify the Lord and bring Him honor.

  • Don’t fear man, but continue to fear the Lord in loving reverence and awe-struck wonder.

At times we are our own Michal’s.

Sometimes we have inner voices that are our biggest hurdle and we have to learn to get over ourselves.
We have to learn how to get over “SELF.”
We have to get over self-hatred, self-doubt, self-pity, and self-centeredness before we can gain self-confidence and grow in self-love.

Sometimes the Lord has to stretch us and work our “SELF” out in order to prepare us for what He is calling us into.

God is training us to run the race He has set before us. But the Michal’s scream from the sidelines in an attempt to stop our progression and keep us from advancing, leaping, and dancing.

We must learn how to cut these condemning voices out of our hearts and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of us if we want to overcome these personal hurdles in our lives. We must not look down on, judge, or despise ourselves.

“Self” is a hurdle we all must overcome. And it is one that trips up many.

The enemy wants to distract us by tempting us to not only fear the thoughts and opinions of man, but also put our focus on ourselves, rather than rest and trust in the presence and assurance of God.

This is often how he gets in the way of our promise and causes us to fall. We must remember that we dance not for ourselves. It’s not all about us. It’s all about Him.

What became of Michal and David?

David went on to become everything God said he would.

David finished the race strong. David was victorious!

David dances unashamed and unapologetic.

Allow God’s thoughts about you and words spoken over you to define who you are and what you do, so that you become who God has called you to be.

You have a destiny, a purpose, and a royal position in Christ.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

{Matthew 25:34}

Don’t allow the Michal’s in your life to hold you back and keep you from living a victorious life.

Michal missed out.

Michal lost what she had and never obtained what she might have had.

She never had children. She lost the lasting companionship with her husband, King David, and most importantly, she missed out on a personal relationship with God, the true King. She missed out on her royal inheritance from the Lord. Her life could have had a very different ending, if only she would have humbled herself, asked for forgiveness, let go of her pride, and become a woman after God’s own heart. She could have shared in her husband’s victories and triumphs.

She desired position, rather than fruition. As a result, she missed out on the abundant, fruitful life God wanted her to have.

What will become of you?

Ask Holy Spirit what He is saying to you through this message.

Where do you fit into this story? What role do you play in this narrative?

Maybe, like David, you feel misunderstood because of your faith in God, or looked down upon for your demonstration of worship.

Maybe you are a born-again Christian and God is stretching you and calling you to overcome some hurdles in your own life. Maybe you are trying to be obedient and move forward in the direction He is moving you, but you are feeling the condemnation of Michal’s trying to put shame on you and hold you back.

Talk to the Lord about what you are facing and listen to what He has to say.

Trust in your identity. Trust in the person He has called you to be. Allow Him to judge the motives of your heart and to be the one to speak to you, guide you, and keep you on the right track.

Living by the Power of the Holy Spirit

So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.

{Romans 8:1 TPT}

Maybe you identify more with Michal at this time, and you find yourself looking down on others. Maybe it’s time to ask for forgiveness from God. The Lord loves you and wants to help you make wise choices. He will help you offer grace and acceptance to others. He will bless you as you humble yourself and ask for His guidance.

Like David and Michal’s relationship, we were once cut off and separated from God due to the sin of Adam and Eve, but Jesus made a way for His Bride to be reunited.

Because of His work on the cross, we now have complete access to come before His throne of grace and enter into His presence without guilt, shame, or condemnation.

Jesus desires companionship and relationship with us. He wants us for His Bride.

All we have to do is be willing to give Him our whole heart. We can invite Him to come into our hearts and ask Him to forgive us for all our sins and He will make us new. God wants to see you receive His royal robe and watch you make music with your life.

Like David, we can live a victorious life, we can become a man or woman after God’s own heart, and we can dance unashamed and unapologetic before the Lord.

Messiah’s Music

10 I will sing and greatly rejoice in Yahweh! My whole being vibrates with shouts of joy in my God! For he has dressed me with salvation and wrapped me in the robe of his righteousness! I appear like a bridegroom on his wedding day, decked out with a beautiful sash, or like a radiant bride adorned with sparkling jewels.

{Isaiah 61:10 TPT}


Mistie House

Award-winning Christian author and host of the Beloved Bride Christian women's podcast.

Learn more about Mistie's books and please follow her on social media.


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