God’s People, part 46: Michal

Read 2 Samuel 6:16-23

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David, and Saul was delighted when he heard about it.” (1 Samuel 18:20 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

MichalPart 46: Michal. In all honesty, when we get into the kings, we could spend a lifetime accounting for each of the kings and their families. King Saul, alone, had a wife with whom he had four sons and two daughters. He also had a concubine with whom he had two more sons. For the purpose of these devotions, I will limit my focus to the major children of the kings.

Michal was the youngest of King Saul’s daughters and, as such, she almost doesn’t even have a story to tell in the Bible. Indeed, her older sister Merab was originally offered to David as a wife; however, David did not feel worthy of being the son-in-law of the king (1 Samuel 18:17-19). King Saul did not really want David for a Son-in-Law (and I believe David knew that), but was obligated because he promised to give his oldest daughter to him if he defeated the Philistines in battle. When David succeeded, Saul was obliged to hand over his daughter.

Yet, David did not take her as his wife, but passed her off (in good patriarchal fashion) to someone else. But David would, as it turned out, be the son-in-law of of King Saul, who’s youngest daughter fell in love with him. Saul was overjoyed about this as he saw it as another chance to have David killed by the enemy. Great father-in-law, right? Can anyone blame David for not wanting to marry into that family? All the same, Michal’s dreams came true and she did end up being David’s wife.

Yet, here’s where the dream turns into a nightmare for yet another one of our beloved women of the Bible. Michal knew her father was absolutely jealous of her husband, and so she helped David escape out of her window and stuffed her bed to make it look like David is sleeping there. Unfortunately, that is the last time she will ever see her husband again. David does not try to send her any word, at least not that the Bible informs us of, and during David’s years of hiding her father marries Michal off to another man. What’s more, David took several other wives during this same period.

After Saul’s remaining son took the throne of Israel, and David was king of Judah, David demanded that Michal be given back to him in order to maintain peace between them. Nice, right? Michal was being treated as nothing more than a pawn between two saber-rattling people. Having the daughter of Saul as his bride would, of course, reinforce his legitimacy to the throne over all Israel. Make no mistake, David had his sights on being the sole ruler. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, agreed to David’s demand and Michal was forced to leave her new husband (Palti) and she was sent to David. I think it is important to quote the Bible here. “Palti followed along behind [Michal] as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, ‘Go back home!’ So Palti returned.” (2 Samuel 3:16, NLT)

Needless to say, there was much love lossed between David and Michal. She was nothing to him but a pawn in a game of political chess. Michal, on the other hand, lost everything. She lost her family, she lost David (who was her first love), she lost her husband who clearly loved her, and was forced to be David’s wife a second time (which really made her nothing more than a political prisoner). When David becomes king over all of Israel, conquers Jerusalem, and dances his way naked into it as they carried in the Ark of the Covenant, it is no wonder that Michal coldly chastises him (2 Samuel 6:20).

While Michal’s character flaws are less on display here than are King David’s, perhaps we can say that she put a little too much stock in the one she had fallen so helplessly in love with. All of the men in Michal’s life, barring perhaps her second husband Palti, were ruthless, meglomaniacal, abusive men who did not view her for her true worth. My guess is that she probably see her own true worth either. After all, how could she. The question of us today is this: Do you see your true worth to God? Do you see your divine value, given to you by the one in whose image you were created? Don’t put too much stock in people or what they think of you; rather, look to God and to Jesus Christ and know that God LOVES YOU more than life itself!

Michal

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