Day 26

Michal



1 Samuel 18:12-29, 1 Samuel 19:9-18, 2 Samuel 6:12-23, Exodus 20:2-6

BY Guest Writer

Love makes us act in remarkable ways. In my best moments, I confess my feelings to those I love, sacrifice on their behalf, or put myself in harm’s way to protect them. When we love someone, we step out for them. It’s the God-nature He stamped in us (Genesis 1:27).

In my worst moments, I control those I love, demanding they be what I need. I make them my idols, expecting them to fill me up. I am on a journey, learning that the love I give needs to be daily sourced from God, or else its path is destructive.

Michal has a big story with a heroic beginning and a tragic ending. I wish it were as easy as saying her way of loving was all good or all bad, but she’s the same hot mess I am. Her story is at its best when Michal and David love each other with sacrificial, demonstrative, God-sourced love.

When we look closely at the text, we can identify some of these moments in and hear the echo of God and Gospel in them—

The daughter of King Saul, Michal married David for love, which was not always the case for princesses in biblical history. She chose him (1 Samuel 18:20). It’s our first glimpse of God’s heart expressed in her.

God chose us (Ephesians 1:4).

David must have felt something for Michal as well, because when Saul asked for the death of 100 Philistines as payment for her hand in marriage—knowing there was a chance David would be killed in this effort—David struck down 200 instead. In the unabashed certainty of his gesture we see reflections of Gospel love (1 Samuel 18:27):

Jesus went over and above when paying a price for us (1 John 2:2).  

Michal shows love by saving David’s life, stalling and tricking Saul when he comes to kill him. She protects him at great risk to herself.

God laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16).

It must have been confusing, then, when David didn’t come back for her until years later, after her father had already married her off to another man. How did she mend her broken heart? Did she learn to love another? When her father Saul eventually died, David negotiated for Michal’s return, stirring emotions long buried.

God comes for us (Matthew 1:23).

I am can’t imagine the emotional gymnastics Michal’s heart went through as it loved, expressed, felt rejected, was pursued… and then what? How did she accept him? How did she respond to his other wives? What sourced her emotion at this point?

My heart has been stretched in difficult relationships, and I, too, have found myself with choices to make. Will I grow, lean in, be filled? Or will I harden, hold back, be empty?

These moments are opportunities to love God’s way, especially when our human nature roars to be satisfied.

When we last we read of Michal, she berated David for his undignified behavior as he worshipped God with abandon (2 Samuel 6). She despised how he was uncovered and out of control. Her spiteful words are a magnifying glass to her wounds, her hardened heart no longer able to love well.

In his last recorded loving act towards her, David—the man after God’s own heart—said, “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this…” (2 Samuel 6:21-22). He shared truth in that moment as he saw her stubbornness, setting an example for her—and me!—of where to go to be filled up.

God speaks truth to us (John 17:17).

In the end, Michal paid a heavy price for not listening to that truth. She desired David more than she desired God, making an idol out of her king. He is a jealous God, wanting our whole heart to be captivated with Him so He can fill us to overflowing! When she couldn’t have David on her terms, Michal lost her connection to them both.

Let’s pray to be filled with love today—love sourced from God and not from ourselves or or even those we love. May we be satisfied by Him to the point of spilling over, demonstrating who God is by the way we choose to love.

Beth Guckenberger is a girl who ultimately believes God is sovereign. The journey to that life-truth has been raucous, including living 15+ years in a foreign country, raising ten kids and being married for 20 years to a man she calls “her deepest breath.” Beth is a writer, a lover of orphan children, and follower of Jesus. A perfect day for her involves conversations of substance, ample dark chocolate and an ocean.

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129 thoughts on "Michal"

  1. Paige Petron says:

    Relationships are difficult. I questioned if my ex best friend idolized me before God had us separated. I was seeing how we were going on different paths and she led me to believe she wanted a relationship with God when she told me she wanted to go to church. I later felt I was being misled, she made the excuse that it was because of her atheist bf that she didn’t go, till I confronted her gently. She admitted she wanted to go but didn’t want to live for Jesus… Ouch! I realized how her trying to have control (of me, life, and everything), she was struggling with manipulation, and the official blow out took 4months and it was cool to see God’s Hand (it was way smoother than I would have dreamed of, which is amazing). I had a feeling God was going to separate us and at that time so many years ago, I told Him that if it was His Will, He can do so at any time without me trying to stop being friends (basically get in the way). I didn’t want to get in the way of His Will and I knew anything I would have planned, would have blown up in my face because she’s very dramatic and doesn’t realize her control issue.

  2. Tiffany Bruland says:

    Such an incredible and applicable devotional!

  3. JM says:

    The best devotional I’ve read so far. How easy it is for us to hyper-focus our gaze on what is tangible than to have faith in the fact that God does source our needs in the perfect time. It would be easy for a heart to grow bitter if it is focused entirely on something that is fallible. David pursued the father with everything while Michals identity was rapped in the life she had with David. I get how easy it is to do that. I guess my prayer is that my love for Father will always out way the desire of my control.

    1. Tawny says:

      Beautifully written

  4. allie1401 says:

    I imagine Michal and all of her hurt… The man she loved and rescued, sacrificing her relationship with her own father to do so, never came for her, never fought for her. Whether out of spite or some other rationale, her father then gave her to another man, humiliated her, shamed her. Still, her first husband, her love, did nothing. Not only that, he married TWO other women. Only after her father died did he come for her, and many scholars believe it was only to re-solidify his claim to Saul’s throne. I imagine she already felt discarded, shamed, and forgotten, and now used by David – after already having been used by her father repeatedly. Not only that, but the scriptures say that when Michal was taken to David, away from her second husband Paltiel, Paltiel wept the entire way there. Did she love Paltiel as well? Not the girly young teenage love of her youth, but the mature love of a woman, of a wife for a man she viewed as her true husband? A man who wanted and loved her as well? And now, here comes David strutting half-naked through the streets of the city, making a show, with no regard for dignity. Hadn’t she borne enough humiliation?

    I imagine in that moment, Michal’s words had little to do with David’s choice to worship God unashamedly. Yet these chapters in 2 Samuel challenge me… Where do I seek love? Where do I seek satisfaction? Validation? Worth? All Michal could see was a man who abandoned her, discarded her, rejected her, and used her. It was all about her – her hurt, her pride, her wants. Yet she failed to see, even as she rescued David, that God was using David for the good of his people and his glory. Nevermind that David defeated Israel’s enemies, that he returned the ark of the Lord. He had hurt her. And in her bitterness and resentment she was blind to God’s goodness, to his redemption of the folies of her father. It was all about her… And yet if I were to imagine myself in her place…

    Lord, let me, help me, to look to you first in ALL things. Help me to find worth and joy and satisfaction in YOU. To not be ruled by the emotions of my heart, because as your word says, “The heart is deceitful above all else.” Help me to be steadfast and true to YOU and to worship you with abandon like David. Thank you for fighting for me, for not naglecting me, for the opposite – for pursuing me! for ransoming me! for washing me, clothing me new, and claiming me as your own! even as I neglect you, hurt you, and am untrue to you. Make me true. Make me more and more like your son each day.

    1. madampinkjustice says:

      “Lord, let me, help me, to look to you first in ALL things. Help me to find worth and joy and satisfaction in YOU. To not be ruled by the emotions of my heart, because as your word says, “The heart is deceitful above all else.” Amen. Thanks.

    2. Mary Beth says:

      I truly loved what you wrote. This brought the passages into perspective for me more than the reflection. I understand Michal now. I think we’ve all been that woman. As women we know the sting of rejection and our desire for stability in love. I think Michal had every right to act the way she did, and I don’t think I would have reacted any differently to the circumstances. I don’t think she rejected God, I just think that through the lens of pain she couldn’t see what He was doing. This is so easy to fall into! Sometimes we have to look really hard to see God at work.

    3. Mimi says:

      As I sit and read I can’t help but stop and take a moment to appreciate perspectives. Your post some to my heart in ways only God can do. So I am grateful for His gifts. Those of which you shared here. I am at a point in life where after years of choices it really comes down to this simply truth, … “It is not all about me. His purpose only!” I can rest in knowing I am wanted and loved by my creator, the beginning and the end!

  5. Sveta Riley says:

    This was amazing. I needed this reminder to, as I continue in my relationship, not put my boyfriend above (or even come close to the love I have for God) God!

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