A Fool In Love, A Fool For God

A Fool In Love, A Fool For God – 05.12.2019
 
[2 Samuel 6:1-15 and 2 Samuel 6:12-23]
 

          When I was in high school, I had a true passion for only one type of movie – the action movie. Gun fights, sword fights, lots of explosions, very little plot – that was the type of movie for me. High quality, low quality – didn’t matter to me, as long as it wasn’t boring. If somebody didn’t pull out a sword, or something didn’t blow up in the first five minutes – I had probably tuned out. Now, of course, the opposite type of movie was the dreaded romantic comedy. That was girl stuff, and I had no interest in that nonsense. But, of course, as time went on, I became interested in girls, and thus found myself watching movies with girls that I wouldn’t normally have chosen if I was with my guy friends. In my overly-simplified mind – there were two types of movies. Action movies and boring movies. But then I started dating, and inevitably, I saw a few of the dreaded romantic comedies. Now, this is difficult for me to talk about, but the truth is – when I saw those romantic comedies – I LOVED THEM. They were fantastic! I laughed, I cried, and then, of course, I denied all of that. But over the years, romantic comedies have become one of my secret guilty pleasures. I’m a sucker for a heartfelt plot with some good old witty dialogue. When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days, P.S. I Love You – I love ‘em all. 

    
      Now, I’m not saying romantic comedies are good movies. In fact, a lot of times the plots can be fairly predictable. But to me, there’s not much better than watching someone make a fool of themself for love. And my favorite moment in these movies is the “gesture.” In most of these movies a situation, some comedy, a collapse, and then the epic reveal. Someone does something unexpected, some grand gesture proving their love. Sleepless in Seattle – when she shows up on the empire state building. In The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds – it’s the moment when he proposes for real. Or in some movies, like Hitch or How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, it involves someone chasing down a car and endangering their life – just to let someone know they love them. OR, one of my favorites is the airport reveal – you know, when somebody has to chase down the person of their dreams and stop them before they get on the plane and fly away forever. But one of the greatest, and most iconic “gestures” in any romantic comedy ever is the boom-box scene from “Say Anything.” Say Anything is an iconic 80’s film starring Jon Cusack. And the big  reveal in the movie has sort of become a legend – Jon Cusack is standing outside her window, next to his beat up old car, hoisting a giant boombox over his head blasting a love song to her. The reason these things stick in our minds, the reason we think they are so sweet – is because these people are willing to look like absolute idiots for love. They are putting themselves all out there, which is a huge risk. And after the big gesture, you have to hold your breath to see the response. To see if looking like a fool is worth it.
 
 

          In our scripture for today, King David puts it all out there. People love to say, David danced, as if he was doing sort of the controlled back and forth type dance [do the back and forth type dance]. You know, moving – but in a reasonable, controlled manner. But verse 5 tells us [read it] – I’m not even sure what half of those things are – but I bet they all make noise. They were dancing with all their might! The only time I think I’ve ever truly seen someone dance with all their might is when you watch children dance at a wedding. They have no idea what they are doing, and they don’t care and they just go for it. A little later, verse 14 gives it to us again [read v.14]. It’s pretty safe to say – they are really excited about whatever is going on in this text. Dancing with all their might. Worshipping with everything they’ve got.

    
      But let’s back up just a second to see why we are so excited. Last week we talked about how David faced the giant Goliath – and how God will fight our giants with us. This story comes a little bit later in David’s life. In chapter five, right before our lesson for today, David has finally been made King over all of Israel. He conquers Jerusalem and makes it his capital, and then he goes and defeats the Philistines. Not bad for 25 verses. Lots has happened. And now David decides that it’s time to bring the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, which is his new capital. Now, in case you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – I’ll explain. The Ark of the Covenant was a box that the bible says held a few very precious items inside it. One of the big things inside the ark was the two stone tablets which had the ten commandments written on them – that Moses brought down from Mt Sinai. So the ark is very precious to Israel. Not only that, but the Ark was believed to be the dwelling place of God. They believed that that’s where God was.
    
      Last week we talked about how armies would go into battle, even if they were outmatched, if they thought their God could beat the enemy god. For Israel, that meant bringing the ark with them when they went out to fight. Bringing the ark was the same thing as bringing God with them into battle. As long as the ark was there, they were going to win the fight – because if the ark was there, God was there. So King David bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city isn’t just about bringing a very important box to the capital – it was literally thought to be the act of bringing God into the capital. Bringing God into the city. Bringing God together with the people. This is the most exciting thing they can think of. In the previous chapter David gets crowned king, he conquers the greatest city in the area, and then he defeats the philistines – again! All that military victory, and he doesn’t even get a pat on the back. But bringing God into the city? Celebrating with all their might. God was coming to the people! This is why David and all the people in Israel are so excited. The Ark coming into the city means that God is going to be with them. They are so excited to be with God. They are so eager to dance and look like fools – this is how excited they are about their connection with God.
     
     But not everyone was so excited. If we remember, one of the prizes of David defeating Goliath was marriage to Saul’s daughter. So, David married Michal, Saul’s daughter. [Read verse 16] she despised him. And then later in verse 20 we get a taste of biblical sarcasm. [Read verse 20-22] I think we all have our Michal moments. Moments when we are embarrassed by those we are attached to. Or maybe we don’t know them, but we see people doing something and we think – “I would never do that.” I was raised in the Methodist church, and I know…there’s a reason we are called the frozen chosen. We are uncomfortable with too much movement in our worship. In our most animated services, you get a little of this [bob your head around], and a maybe a little of this [raise hands up, or point upwards] and maybe, just maybe you might get some clapping to the music. Not everyone likes wild dancing in the aisles. And you know what? That’s just fine. You don’t have to be wild to love God with all your might.
     
     I said it on my first day here – We are all different, and that’s a very good thing. Here’s the difference. Verse 16 tells us that Michal looked on David with disdain, she despised him in her heart. We are different, and that’s okay. I promise I won’t make you dance in the aisles. We are different, but it is not okay to despise one another because of those differences. I love David’s response to Michal. Basically, he tells her, “it’s not about you. You don’t like my dancing, that’s fine, I’m not dancing for you.” Worship is for God. David says, “I will celebrate before the Lord.” Worship, the work we do here, is about connecting your heart to God. Everything else is secondary. If the organ broke tomorrow, we would still be here next week – worshipping God. If an electrical surge blew out all our outlets and we had no electricity – I’d go buy a megaphone and we would still be here to worship. Worship is about you and God – not microphones, pews, bibles, altars, guitars or even organs. King David, with his ridiculous dancing, points us to what it is really all about. He says, “I will celebrate before the Lord.”
 
 

          Now, the past few weeks, we’ve really been hitting on how God breaks down barriers for us. Last week we talked about how God helps us face our giants. God is there for us. We’ve really been focusing on God’s half of the relationship – but today is about our response. One of the biggest misconceptions in the church is that you have to be here because otherwise you’ll go to hell. Some people think, you are earning your way to heaven by putting your butt in a pew. One of the greatest struggles with every confirmation program I have ever been a part of is that parents want their kids to join the church, but then the kids disappear. We usually confirm Youth in 8th grade, and the difference between 8th grade involvement and 9th grade involvement is staggering. I cannot say it any clearer than this. We cannot earn our way into heaven. You cannot earn your way into heaven. We get to heaven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He broke down the barrier between God and God’s people. Because of that, we worship. Because of that, we celebrate. We are here, in this church, not to earn heaven, but to celebrate heaven. To celebrate the fact that God is with us now. The good news today is that God is with us.

    
      That celebration of God’s presence with us, is the greatest thing that has ever happened. David brings the ark into the city, and the people shout and dance and leap – I bet it was quite a party. One chapter earlier, we talked about how David had all these great military victories. David tore down his giants, literally, and the celebration was mediocre at best. David brings God to the people – and they celebrate with a party that has been talked about for thousands of years. Lots of people know the phrase, “and David danced.” Last week talked about facing our giants. Tearing down those things in our lives that are impossible without God. We talked about divorce and the Sabbath, teen drinking and teen pregnancy. And yeah, when we tear down those giants – there will be a lot of celebrating. It’s going to be great. But that celebration should pale in comparison to our celebrating the fact that God is with us.
   
       Let’s break it down like this. As Christians, we believe that there is something out there. The majority of scientific evidence points to the fact this universe can’t be a coincidence. The odds are absolutely astronomical. There is some sort of intelligent design to this life we live. There is something out there. And most atheists or agnostics conclude – that thing, whatever it is, is unknowable. It’s so completely beyond our comprehension that we could never understand it. Here’s the crazy part – they’re right. There’s no way we could understand what’s out there. Unless whatever’s out there chose to show us. Unless God chose to reveal Himself to us. The story of scripture, culminating in the presence of Jesus Christ is the process of the creator teaching His creation who He is. The craziest thing Christians believe is not “there’s something out there.” The crazy part is that we believe God cares about us, teaches us, guides, loves us. Loves us so much that he would come into this life, and take our punishment for our sins – so we could live free. We believe God is with us. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s why it’s so amazing. We don’t call it “fair, reasonable and completely understandable grace” – right, we call it “amazing” grace. Recognition of that is where worship is born. It’s not an obligation, it’s a celebration. 

 

     
     Now David, was a fool in love. He was so in love with God, he was willing to become even more undignified than dancing around like a crazy person for God. We see this love at the beginning of a relationship. Things are exciting, you know? “Of course I’ll act like an idiot, I got to win her over.” Trouble is, when that excitement dies down – we slip into something called spiritual apathy. A better word for it is spiritual laziness. We get comfortable. We get set in a routine, and we stop trying. This is the exact same thing that happens in romantic relationships as well. We start to take God’s love for granted. We get used to God being there for us, and we forget just how incredible the gift of God’s love is. So the first thing I want you to do to work on this is to spend time with God. I always tell my premarital counseling couples that marriage is a lifetime of constantly falling in love with one another. You can’t take it for granted, it takes time – it takes work. Love of God, it’s not romantic, but it’s very similar. You need to spend time with God. Read your bible every day. Talk to God, we call that prayer, every day. Get to know God, praise him, thank him. Celebrate God’s victories in your life.   

 

The second challenge I have for you today is to overcome embarrassment with love. David was a fool in love, he celebrated with all his might, and he didn’t care what anyone else thought. He was celebrating for God, not for anyone else. But let’s be clear – David looked like an idiot. David looked very silly, dancing around doing all that. In no way was David’s dancing dignified or respectable. It WAS embarrassing. Earlier today, during the passing of the peace, I asked you all to say, “God loves you, and so do I.” and what I saw a lot of was – “God loves you, and mumble, mumble, mumble.” Even if it is completely true, there are things that are uncomfortable to say to other people. And there are few things more uncomfortable that saying “I Love You” to someone. I said this last week, embarrassment is one of our number one obstacles in the church. It’s kosher to say “God loves you” in this building. It’s church. Or at a bible study, or a retreat. But what about at the gas station? What about at the library? The post office? It’s uncomfortable to talk to people about God, it’s embarrassing and we don’t like doing it. David, with his silly dancing, has a lesson for us today. If we are celebrating with all our might, if we are loving God – embarrassment should not stop us. It doesn’t make it less difficult, but it does make it worth it. If we are fools in love with God – what is stopping us from putting ourselves out there? There is nothing worth missing an opportunity for God. Invite your neighbor to church – not the neighbor you know is a Christian, but the neighbor you know needs God. Reach out and be the hands and feet of God in the world. Give to someone in need, tell someone who is struggling about God’s love. There’s a million ways we can share God’s love if we can get over the discomfort. Evangelism begins when we overcome our embarrassment with love.
 
 

  David the shepherd boy had become king, he had defeated his enemies, taken over a new capital and was bringing the ark of God into the city. He had a lot of reasons to celebrate. He had a lot of foolish love. But I was watching the news this past week – and I struggled to find a reason to celebrate. There are so many things going on in this world that are just so horrible. There are moments in life of struggle and pain – and it seems tacky to celebrate. It seems inappropriate to bring up God’s love when there is so much evil in the world. But that’s all backwards, isn’t it? It is in those moments when we so desperately need to celebrate. It is in those moments of horror and anguish that we could use a little God. We could use a little foolish love. In romantic comedies, it’s always in the midst of the collapse, it’s always in the rough spot of the movie when bad things are happening – that the epic moment comes. When all is lost, and everything is falling apart – that is the moment when foolish love really shines. So I’ll leave you with this, May you be fools in love,  may you be fools for God. Amen.


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