It was one of my worst moments. It was supposed to be one of my best, but the opinions of others brought a new twist. My band was opening for an up and coming country star whose name I can’t remember right now, which makes me think he came and went . . . much like our band. This gig was our biggest gig yet and it was sure to be packed as it was held for our troops on Base Petawawa. So where did it all go wrong? The make-up. I’m not one for fashion, even in clothing, so when it was suggested we wear make-up for the gig, I was mortified. And I was even more mortified when I realized why some soldiers were looking at me funny pre-gig. The men’s room on a military base is no place for a dude to be wearing make-up. In the eyes of my band and our groupies, make-up was essential for our stage presence. In my eyes, it was humiliating.
In the Old Testament we have a story where things appear very different to two different people, David and his wife Michal. When the ark was returned to Jerusalem, the king insisted on laying aside his kingly attire to dance and celebrate instead in a simple linen ephod. Michal was mortified: “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (2 Samuel 6:20 NIV) in David’s eyes however, his actions were completely appropriate:
“It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:21, 22 NIV)
Michal felt humiliated because of her husband’s antics. David was willing to be humiliated. What a difference in opinion!
Michal’s eyes were focused on reputation. The king should be all about power and majesty and his actions and dress should project that at all times. David’s eyes however, we’re on the truth of the situation. Compared to the majesty of God, his own was mere illusion. He knew who the true king was, and he knew it wasn’t him. God was the true king, David even referring to himself as merely ‘ruler’ in the passage rather than king. It was appropriate therefore, for David to trade his kingly attire for the attire a priest would wear, recognizing his true role as humble servant rather than powerful king.
How we love to dress up. We wear our knowledge, our influence, our intelligence, our good works, our love, our skill, our giftedness, and sometimes we even dress up in our humility. And we hope we look impressive in our robes. Better than running to the Michals of our lives, the people who confirm our suspicions on appearances, that we stand before God. There is no room for illusion there. Only the truth of our identity. If we possess knowledge, or influence, or humility or any other fine quality, we don’t need to wear it, we just need to be it. Let us make it a habit to be authentic before God and before others. And to do that, let us follow David’s example of standing before the Lord without the fancy robes . . . or make-up.