2 Samuel 6:17-23 – Bitterness Is A Hungry God That Must Be Fed Constantly…

Posted: June 5, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 6:17-23
David Returns Home

One of the things that was so sad, now looking back, about the aftermath of my first marriage was how hatred and bitterness consumed the life of my first wife. She became so obsessed with getting even with me for ending the marriage (which was filled with the serious issues of her drug abuse, her possessive nature, her inability to maintain a job, and then the escalating terrorism of violence between us as I sought to end the marriage). After we separated, there were the constant harassing phone calls, the stalking, the love then hate all in the same conversation, it was her obsession to brow-beat me into submission and coming back to her. It was a time in which I lived in a “def-con 3” (to use the military term) mentality, always aware, senses heightened, always ready for a confrontation. She became so obsessed with destroying me that she lost friends over it. She ended up living with her second husband in their own secluded world in which they were right and everybody else was wrong. It was sad to watch bitterness take control of her life. I think the bitterness in her life which, in effect, became her god is what led her to die at the early of 55 almost 3 years ago now.

So, when I read about Michal’s reaction to David here in this passage, I thought of my first wife. If I was having too much fun after our separation and divorce, she would find something wrong with it and work whatever it was around to the fact that I had destroyed the family. No matter what it was, she could work that trail of anything that I did back to me destroying the family. In this passage, I see that same type of bitterness in Michal. What had changed since we saw when she met David in 1 Samuel to now. There had been a lot of water under the bridge I guess. But the bitterness over David dancing is just a tip of the iceberg. There must have been this smoldering bitterness within Michal where she got to the point that anything David did was wrong. No wonder he did not want to be with her as the end of the passage indicates. The bitterness of Michal drove David away. Let us read this passage, 2 Samuel 6:17-23, now together:

17 They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 18 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,[g] and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.

20 When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”

21 David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. 22 Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” 23 So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.

In this passage, we must take particular notice that here, even though it has been established in both 1 and 2 Samuel that Michal was David’s wife, she is noted as being the daughter of Saul. Is that not an interesting literary twist? Is it possible that the author was pointing out to the reader how similar her attitude in this passage is to that of her father, Saul? I think so. Her contempt for David could not have simply been set off by David’s grand entrance into Jerusalem with the ark. It must have been already smoldering. By the way David reacts to her, this may have been just the most recent confrontation between the two. Who knows? Scripture is not clear on this point. Perhaps, she thought it was undignified to be so concerned with public worship at a time when David needed to be working to ensure the stability of his now united kingdom. Maybe, she thought it was undignified for a king to display such emotion in front of his subjects. Or, even, she may have resented David taking her away from Palti. Further, this resentment may have been the result of seeing that during her time with Palti that David had taken other wives and concubines. Whatever the reason, this contempt she felt toward her husband escalated into a difficult confrontation. As a result of this confrontation, it appears that she fell out of favor with David and he did not have intimate relations with her for the rest of her life. Feelings of bitterness and resentment that go unchecked will destroy a relationship. Deal with your feelings before they escalate into open confrontation.

Sure, David probably contributed to Michal’s bitterness. No one gets bitter toward another person for no reason. But we must deal with bitterness in constructive ways. We cannot let our bitterness become our god and let it consume us to the point that it is all we can focus on. Once we make bitterness our god, it doesn’t matter if a person is contrite and humble before us and tries to make things right, the bitter person will still hold the original offense in front of the other person forever. There is no forgiveness in the bitter person. To forgive would mean to release the bitterness. Often people like having the pain of bitterness because it is the only thing that they have left. Bitterness has caused them to isolate themselves from others. Bitterness has taken over their life.

Thus, I think the takeaway from my own experience with my first wife and with the example of Michal here is that we must learn to forgive others or bitterness will become our god. Bitterness is never satisfied with any type of compensation or acts of contriteness by the offending person. Bitterness is always hungry. Bitterness consumes everything you feed it. Help us to be a people that forgives those who have offended us – even if they never apologize, but especially if they do. Help us to release the persons who have hurt us to you, oh Lord. Help us to not stay in the state of bitterness but to release it to you and move across the bridge into the state of living beyond bitterness. Help us also to see when we have hurt others and try to make things right with that person. Help us to try to reconcile such relationships. Help us to also love that person even if they refuse to forgive us for the things that we have done to hurt them. Help us to pray for those who have hurt us and for those that we have hurt. Help us to release these things to you and leave them there at your altar.

Amen and Amen.

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