Undignified Worship
Glynnis Whitwer

"…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… ." 2 Samuel 6:21-22a (NIV)

I grew up in a traditional church, singing traditional hymns. Being a Christian was very matter-of-fact for me. I was a Christian in the same way I would have told you I was a student.

Nothing much changed in our little church. Every Sunday, faithful men and woman of God taught Sunday school, served on committees and made lemonade, coffee and cookies for after-church fellowship. It was a wonderful experience and I grew up loving God's Word, His church and its people.

When I was a high schooler in the late 70s, I was introduced to Christian "rock and roll." Being in Arizona, we got overflow from the California Jesus movement, and were familiar with many of the bands coming on the scene. I heard songs by Keith Green, Second Chapter of Acts and Phil Keaggy. These songs depicted a faith in God that was passionate and alive. Something stirred within me as I listened to their music over and over.

I can still vividly picture myself in a sold-out symphony hall before a live concert as one half of the room yelled, "We love Jesus, yes we do. We love Jesus how 'bout you?" I was on the other side, and we answered as loudly as we could, repeating the challenge. Joy and celebration vibrated through the hall as we shouted, jumped up and down and waved our arms in the air for love of Jesus.

It was completely undignified and I was completely undone … never to be the same. I knew I wanted a faith like that. I wanted to be so excited about Jesus that it overflowed, and I didn't care what my worship of Him looked like.

A few years ago, I read the story of King David dancing before the Lord. Now there was someone who didn't worry what others thought. David had overseen the return of the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, and as it neared, he couldn't contain his joy. He replaced his kingly attire with a simple outfit and danced with all his might.

His wife, Michal, watched from the window and didn't approve of David's behavior. She was disgusted with him, and told him so. David wasn't fazed, and responded with words that encourage me today, "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 …" (2 Samuel 6:21-22a).

David was so in tune with God's heart, that he was unconcerned with the judgmental comments of others. David's only focus was on worshipping his God with sincerity and abandon.

That is my hope and prayer for myself. I want to let go completely of the fear of man, and worship with uncontained joy. When I am older, too old to dance in some people's opinion, I hope you'll find my gnarled hands raised, my gray head bobbing and my body swaying in worship. My kids and grandkids might be embarrassed. But, yes, I will be even more undignified than that for my King.

Dear Lord, King David got it right, and I want to as well. You are worthy of all my worship and adoration. Forgive me for letting the opinions of others influence my worship of You. Help me to focus more on Your majesty, and less on myself. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Have you met a King who is worthy of your devotion? If not, click here to learn more: Do You Know Him?

Worship: Nearing the Heart of God a small group Bible study by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Glynnis’ blog where she shares more thoughts on worship

Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas

Check out two of our event worship leader’s CDs: From My Heart to Your Throne: An Intimate Worship Collection by Melissa Milbourn and Jason Catron by Jason Catron

Application Steps:
Set aside some time this week to worship God. Read the Psalms, listen to music or just sit somewhere quietly. Write down five characteristics of God that make Him worthy of our praise.

Read 2 Samuel 6:14-23. Describe the scene in verses 14 and 15. What are some of the ways people are rejoicing and worshiping God?

How can David's answer to Michal help us overcome the fear of other's opinions?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 29:25, "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." (NIV)

John 4:23, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." (NIV)

© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but to burst into worship to my King.He truly deserve our worship no matter who or what is watching.

Anonymous Alison Panik said...

I recently traveled over 1000 miles to be at my sister's side during a crisis on Easter Weekend. Away from my husband and daughter, and also my church, I felt a need to worship God after attending a rather reserved Easter service at a small town church. So I put on my iPod and ran out a trail to the middle of an empty cornfield and sang worship songs loudly and passionately with arms raised, tears of joy flowing down my cheeks. Since I am NEVER a charismatic worshiper at church, this was a new experience for me, but one that marks a turning point in my walk. I was most definitely undignified (my voice is not the kind that should be singly loudly in front of an audience if you know what I mean), but it was true worship. This devotional has encouraged me to consider why I haven't "let it roll" in the worship services I attend with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it! Especially the part about getting "too old" and still being demonstrative in your worship!

I now have gray hair and wrinkling skin...but dance around my house to worship tunes. Even in church I am drawn to "sway and bob" as you say...ha-ha-ha! We are eternally young and our spirits dance before God unashamed...better yet, our spirits dance with our Heavenly Daddy! He is an AWESOME Daddy!

:) May we never be afraid to be "undignified" (as the song says) when it comes to humbling ourselves before Almighty God!

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

This is an awesome reminder that it is ok not to be "traditional" just for traditions sake. We joined a very traditional church that is in the process of changing to a blended service and it has been interesting to watch the people who have resisted the change and hear their reasons for it. My parents on the other hand (who are in their mid 60's) just joined a large contemporary church where the CELEBRATE worship. It is awesome to see their joy when talking about their experience there.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful message. During my 10-month battle with cancer "undignified worship" was my way of dealing with the darkest and most painful moments of my journey. When the word cancer fell on my life like a bomb out of nowhere I asked our Lord Jesus to give me the strength for anything that was ahead on my path. I sang out loud songs of praise for my Lord when I was hurting the most physically or spiritually. I was particularly inspired by the words "He is Jehovah, the God that healeth thee". It's not that I am a particularly strong person. It was the His Powerful Hand that was holding mine! I am still dealing with the sequels of a very agresive treatment but I haven't let go of His Hand and I don't plan to. My singing voice is probably only pleasant to Him but I'm sure He doesn't mind that it's not of choir quality :)

Thank you so much for your inspiring words today!

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

To my sister fighting the aftermath of cancer - I'm praising God for the healing He has already done in your life, and all that He is going to do. I'm praying for you today!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great message today! My grandma, 87, passed last month. She was a wonderful worshiper of our Lord. She had the loudest yodelly voice when she sang praise songs... I loved it. As a teenager I was a little embarrassed. Now that, and her iron clad hugs, are what I miss most. :) Thanks posting these devotionals.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks SO much for the encouragement! The LORD is worthy of our humblest, most sincere worship - without reservation.
Today's reference promps me to evaluate if I've been like David's critical wife. It's important to note that after this incident she and her husband were never intimate again... she never had children. Jesus said "Render to Czar the thing's that are Czar's, and to God the things that are God's" Being made in His image, do I offer my whole self to God as an instrament of His will? If I answer 'yes' but I am critical of or I wont submit to authority figures in my life (ie. my husband) then I am decieved.

Oh I love to read the Psalms and about DAVID. He has always been one of my very favorite to read about in the Bible. I love his honesty and can relate to his ups and downs of life. I love his comment back to his wife when she was embarrassed by his dancing for the Lord. What a wonderful example of not worrying about what others think when we are praising the Lord with our whole heart. It is my prayer that I keep loosing more and more of the chains from what others think and more and more focused on my Lord and Savior.

Oh and I forgot to mention that just yesterday, my daughter posted a video of my 4 yr old granddaughter singing, dancing and praising the Lord at her preschool program. At the end of the song she even did the splits which mortified her mommy since she had put her in a dress that morning. But my heart was so blessed seeing the enthusiasm she had and her joyous spirit. It made me realize once again how much more I could be praising my Lord and with my whole heart and with true, genuine, and innocent enthusiasm.

Blogger Kristie Jackson said...

Fantastic! I needed this gentle but clear reminder to listen ONLY to the Spirit's prodding when it comes to worship. Many thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to offer another thought to consider. My church is very "traditional". Sometimes it is the only place where I hear God's still small voice in cacophony that is the rest of the world. It is through the the hymns and the classical organ pieces that I hear the voices of those who have gone before and have walked the great darkness into the "Light"..."Great is Thy
Faithfulness","His Eye is on the Sparrow". "Holy, Holy, Holy"- is there a greater praise song? Even thought I have been referred to as the "Frozen Chosen", I in no way consider contemporary Christion music-undignified. As I have walked through the journey of my oldest son's brain cancer, I have found solace and joy in songs like, "You Were There" and "Hold Me Jesus". God speaks to us in many different words and melodies. I think to limit God's message of worship to a certain genre of music is to limit His creativity and infinte greatness. I do not believe God wants us to be in judgement of how others appear to worship.God can speak to our souls in the traditional or contemporary. It does not matter the tempo or the beat. Joy, praise and worship is "true" when our spirit is aligned with God's.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this reminder that God "inhabits the praises of His people". There is no better way to usher God's presence into our lives than to offer ourselves 100%, without distraction to Him in worship. The presence of or style of music is not important. The location is not important. What matters is that we are able to give our maker our complete attention and adoration, and to praise Him for who He is, sacrificing all that we are to be in His Holy presence. What a refreshing place to be! Thank you Father, for tearing the veil and inviting us into your Holy presence!

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

Thank you to the reader who commented about not judging. I completely agree with you. And I don't think worship has anything to do with music. 2 Samuel describes a mix of sounds: "David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals." Probably unlike anything we are used to.

What I love about that verse is the description of "celebrating with all their might".

I think we could all use more celebration in our worship. And I love the old hymns too.

Thank you for sharing your insight.

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