(originally published Oct. 25, 2009)
When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
1 Samuel 18:28-29
Saul's daughter Michal.
David's wife Michal.
She's just a girl who can't seem to make up her mind.
When the first king of Israel, King Saul, began to use worldly means for the advancement of his kingdom, he was warned by the prophet Samuel that things would go sour. And sour they go.
Saul begins to realize that the defeater of Goliath, the giant warrior of the Philistines, is now the darling of Israel.
And the darling of his youngest daughter's heart.
David pays the bride price of Michal in the gory form of one hundred foreskins taken from the Philistine army. It was a tab Saul was sure David couldn't pay. But David does.
And so Michal is wed to her warrior bridegroom.
But she is a girl who can't seem to decide if she wants to be the daughter of the king or the wife of the future king.
Saul, out of jealousy over David's successes, devises a plot to take his life. He sends some of his men to stake out David's house and take the opportunity to kill him. Michal warns David of this plan, a good decision, but then follows it with a poor one: she stays behind. She does not go with her husband. And evidence of another poor decision is found in her own bed; she creates what looks like David's sleeping form in the bed with a household idol. She has known the laws of the Lord. She is a daughter of Israel. But she is still hanging on to superstition. And then she makes yet another decision, one that digs the dividing line between her father and her husband even deeper. When Saul discovers that Michal was implicit in David's escape, he confronts her and demands to know why she would deceive her father and help his enemy evade detection. Michal literally puts words in her husband's mouth, stating that David threatened to kill her if she did not help him escape. She doesn't own her love story for her husband.
That Michal. Wishy-washy. A foot in each camp. Trouble deciding which king she will follow.
We sometimes act like her daughters.
We see the sparkling trappings of following a worldly kingdom and we waffle. We are confronted with a moment where we should follow our rightful Bridegroom, but we waver. And we try to span the difference between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of heaven.
Michal ultimately is cursed with an unfruitful life. David's one peace treaty demand when he takes the throne of Judah over the now divided Israel is that Michal be returned to him. Saul had given her to another man after her claim of spousal abuse. But David does not forget his first love. He could have demanded anything from Michal's brother who takes the throne of Israel after Saul's death, but he asks for one thing. Michal.
When David achieves his ultimate triumph in bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, it is Michal who mocks and rebukes him. And for her continued inability to put her love firmly in David's court, she never bears him children, never sees the fruit of legacy. She is the bitter and sharp-tongued anecdote in the chronicles of David's life.
There's a little recipe here, found for leading a fruitful life and leaving a legacy. It's the antithesis of Michal's actions. Follow your Bridegroom, rid your spiritual house of its idols and own your love story.
Simply delight in your rightful King.