Before God made the sun, moon and stars, He made trees.

Before God made birds and fish, He made trees.

Before God made livestock, wild animals and people, He made trees.

Trees were the first living things on the newly created earth.

We can learn a lot from our elders.

PB and I have a small square of woods — ash trees, pines, oaks and maples. We love walking in the woods, especially on beautiful fall days. We have to stick to the path, though, because the woods haven’t had much attention for a long while. There are dead trees that have fallen over, there are broken branches that hang precariously, but mostly there is undergrowth — brambles and thickets and stickers and thorns. It’s hard to walk through it without getting scratched and poked.

PB decided to do something about this problem. He hired a guy with a big tree-eating machine to clean up our little square of woods. In a matter of hours, all the brush was gobbled up. The transformation was remarkable.

Early the next morning, a doe and her twin fawns came through, looking bewildered. PB and I watched from the porch as the fawns suddenly kicked up their heels in a morning sunrise dance. They seemed to celebrate the wide open space, running without fear of thorns and prickers. I almost went out there and joined them in their new-found freedom.

Not all growth is good growth.

The wild, thorny undergrowth crept in and we barely noticed. Then one day, we took a walk with a three year old and she was entangled in briars and thistles. It was no fun. There were tears. We couldn’t dance.

That’s when we knew it was time to clear away the undergrowth.

Lord, I haven’t given my spirit enough attention. There are dead areas that need to be hauled out. There is my old enemy, pride, dangling precariously overhead. And there is undergrowth — bristly words that poke and hurt. Send Your Spirit through my heart and mow down all “that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1)

It’s time to dance.

Undignified Worship

2 Samuel 6:14 “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might.”

David danced. He danced before the Lord with all his might. Wearing a linen ephod. Some Bible scholars think that means David threw off his royal robe and associated himself with all the other lowly priests and servants. Others believe that David danced in his undies. It’s hard to kick up your heels in a long dress. Mrs. David despised her husband for such an indiscretion, especially in front of the other girls. Understandable. I wouldn’t want my husband waltzing down the aisle on Sunday morning in his Fruit of the Looms.

But David was dancing before the Lord — giving full expression of his deep love for God. He was dancing with all his might,  holding nothing back. After a long, emotional day of ministry, David went home to bless his own household. The Mrs. met him at the door with criticism on her tongue, calling her husband a “vulgar fellow”. David defended his dance by saying it was before the Lord in celebration. Then that great line – “I will become even more undignified than this.” 2 Samuel 6:22

How does it happen? Two extremely different interpretations: 1) an all-out offering of worship, 2) an embarrassment.

Funny, God never reprimanded David. Perhaps God liked David’s dance; maybe God loved the wild and uninhibited expression of worship. Clearly, God was not repulsed by David’s lack of clothes or lack of dignity, but instead reveled in David’s abundant, joyful, all-his-might worship.

What does my worship look like to God? Am I too dignified? Have I ever worshiped in such a heart-felt manner that others were a little embarrassed? Am I willing to praise Him with all my might?