Fear and Reckless Abandon

This Sunday morning I woke up thinking about the fear of the Lord. Several of the classic worship related stories in the bible have a lot to do with fear and reckless abandon. Oddly, they seem to go hand in hand. I guess it’s about who they are afraid of and how they express that in worship. Let me illustrate.
David’s dance is one of the most often refer to texts about worship (2 Samuel 6). In the story, David, the king, is trying to get the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, but in transit, a priest is struck dead by God’s wrath for touching this sacred object. David as a result is filled with so much fear at the awesome holiness and power of Yahweh that he dances in his underwear. When his wife is embarrassed by his reckless abandonment, David says a great line, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (Matt Redmen has a great song called “Undignified” based on David’s response.)
I thought of a few other similar stories. Hannah who is mistaken for being drunk, Mary Magdalene who washed Jesus feet with perfume, and the Apostles at Pentecost are great examples of people doing bold and strange things out of a response to being struck with fear of the Lord.
Why is it that when folks talk about “reverence” before the Lord, they usually mean being quiet and controlled? It seems that a lot of times in scripture, when people get a glimpse of how holy and awesome the Lord is, they start to shout, dance, or weep. They seem to forget about being embarrassed and begin to act like fools. Their fear is placed where it should be, on the Lord, and not on the people who look on.
That’s a nice thing to meditate on before a Sunday morning worship service. Way too much of the time I’m really more afraid of what people think of me, how I look, how the music sounds, etc. It was a great Sunday to dance around and act a fool before the Lord.

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  1. #1 by Heidi Vincent on January 14, 2008 - 3:06 pm

    “…’reverence’ before the Lord, they usually mean being quiet and controlled? It seems that a lot of times in scripture, when people get a glimpse of how holy and awesome the Lord is, they start to shout, dance, or weep. They seem to forget about being embarrassed and begin to act like fools.” Hum, I don’t think I would have made that connection, but it seems true. I remember hearing Lauren Hill’s song “Freedom Time” thinking, “Please God give me the courage to be free”(this was about two months ago) maybe I need to pray “Let me have a healthy fear of You so that I can be free”. I guess for me it’s kind of a process.
    Refreshing post, Kirk

  2. #2 by Rinnie on January 14, 2008 - 7:07 pm

    Reminds me about how my Dad watches our kids dancing in church and says how we’re meant to dance before the Lord, since our kids do it without inhibition.

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