You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
I admit it, I never really understood what the point of dancing was when it came to worshipping God. I know that sounds kind of dumb coming from me, but it’s true. To make matters worse, I’ve been prophesied over by many people who have said I am the Lord’s ballerina, or that I dance befor joy for the Lord. I have always loved this idea, but at the same time, I’ve questioned it. Not that I questioned the validity of the prophecies, because in my spirit they have always felt very true, but I just didn’t get it. What does dancing have to do with anything? Why dancing? I just kept imagining my goofy 80’s self dancing awkwardly to Duran Duran’s Rio. Ya. Exactly.
But the Lord has not been content to leave me in this place. I have found myself asking and asking for Him to make it clear to me what he wanted me to know about dancing, and, more importantly, what my dancing for Him looked like. I’m not talking about pirouettes or hip gyrations or the Nay Nay. I’m talking about dance as worship. And how does dancing for the Lord not seem weird and awkward, but instead something of great beauty and joy for the Lord.
That’s when I came to the famous “David dancing scene”.
12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 13 And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
2 Samuel 6:12-15
“David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.” David, leading as a priest king, wearing a linen ephod, lead the people in celebration and proclamation of God’s victory and salvation. With every part of himself, he worshipped the Lord as a an act of extreme celebration. He celebrated the arc and the presence of the Lord, and the blessing that the Presence would bring to God’s people. He danced without fear of judgement. He danced for the Lord in celebration of God’s victory, power, and protection.
This got me thinking about when the first time dancing is mentioned in the Bible and what the circumstances of that instance might reveal to me. Sure enough, the dancing came as a celebration of God’s victory for His people.
20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
After the Lord rescues the Israelites from Egypt, the whole group sings a victory song about how great God is and how trustworthy He is to save them. And then all the ladies, led by Miriam the prophetess, dance before the Lord. Miriam led the entire congregation in the celebration of God’s victory, by dancing before the Lord.
So, here’s what the Lord has been teaching me through all of this: dancing is a celebratory proclamation of God’s victory over my enemies. It is an expression of gratitude, worship, and celebration for deliverance. If I have learned anything about God in my 49 years, it is that God is my deliverer. He has saved me from sin and death, and He has rescued me time and time again from the evil of this world. Whether inflicted on me by others, or inflicted on me by my own folly, God has faithfully rescued me. I think that’s worth celebrating, don’t you?
Lord, thank you for rescuing me from my sins and from this world’s pain. You have made me your daughter. You have given me authority in accordance to the will of Lord Jesus, to have victory by His name. I love you, Jesus! Dancing before You is to celebrate what you have done and to proclaim it with unabashed delight. You have given me victory! You have given me joy. You have given me peace. I didn’t deserve any of it and yet You faithfully have given it to me! Indeed, Your promises are true and I will trust You and delight in You forever. Amen.