AVOIDING THE AVOIDABLE CONTEMPT

BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO

“But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him” (2 Sam 6:16 NLT).

The King James Version renders the latter part of the scripture above thus: “and she despised him in her heart.” The import of this message is not to make you despise any person you are not supposed to despise, and, more importantly, not to despise anyone at all. There is no reason to despise anyone, no matter how highly placed you think you are, and no matter how lowly placed the other person. Even God, the Bible tells us, as big as He is, doesn’t despise anyone.  “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding” (Job 36:5 NLT). Therefore, if the Almighty God doesn’t despise anyone, who are you to despise the works of His hand?

Matt 18:10 warns: “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father” (NLT).  The Bible says, “Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval” (Rom 14:3-4 NLT).

The only reason God will despise anyone or a people is when they have no regard for Him. If someone despises God, He will despise him or her too. He told Eli through a man of God: “…But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me” (1 Sam 2:30 NLT).

The second import of this message is to ensure that you avert being despised and avoid damage of your self-esteem such that you feel unfit to fulfill the purpose of God for your life. And that you don’t look down on yourself and disqualify yourself from your life’s assignment.

God has not given anyone below or above you, your superiors or your subordinates, the permission to despise you. God created you for a purpose, which is not inferior to the purpose of God for your superiors at work, in school, in business and, even in ministry. God’s purpose of your life is as authentic as that of any individual. The only difference is that the destinies of people are at different stages of unfolding. That’s what make some look beautiful, some not so beautiful and some others as unattractive yet. But every destiny from heaven has the capacity to speak at the appointed time if each person will walk in obedience, faith and patience and diligence.

If people try to despise you, don’t accept it as God’s verdict on you; it is just an expression of their bias or opinion. Some of them have bad eyesight so they can’t see correctly what God has destined you to become! That’s why God has always done great things through people that are despised because He knows what He has put inside of them. It would be wrong for such despised persons to accept to live in the world created by those who despised them. That’s why the Bible says, “God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:28-29 NLT). No wonder, Paul warned his son in the ministry, Timothy, not to allow anyone to despise his youth.

In 2 Sam 6:16, the scripture quoted at the beginning of this message, the Bible says, “When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him” (NLT). The “she” in that scripture was Michal, David’s wife.  But it is striking that though Michal was David’s wife at this time, he was not described in relationship with her husband, but rather with reference to her father, Saul. That verse says, “…Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. The verse goes further to say, “When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.” Verse 20 also describes Michal as the daughter of Saul.

Could there be a correlation between the description of Michal as “the daughter of Saul” and her act of contempt for David? Could the reference to Michal as the “daughter of Saul” and not “the wife of David” be a pointer to the level of commitment of Michal to the marriage? Could it, probably, mean that she wasn’t wholeheartedly married to David, therefore, her contempt for him? Could this be telling us that though she was living with David as a supposed wife, she remained the daughter of Saul and never transformed to become the wife of David?

What we read about Michal in 2 Sam 6 shows that she didn’t have regard for David who was being celebrated by others. She was not an admirer of David. Obviously, she despised David even in the house before the account we are looking at. He couldn’t see what others saw in David. He had a jaundiced view of David’s personality and couldn’t hide her ill-feeling about something David was doing as an act of worship for God.  She was harsh in her criticism that a reader doesn’t have difficulty concluding that all was not well with David and Michal at home – it’s not unlikely that there was no love lost between the two.

Michal came across as a woman who was bitter with David; she seemed to be a woman who had an axe to grind with her husband that she had become extremely estranged from him. The Bible says, “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!’” (2 Sam 6:20 NLT) What a cutting criticism! She was downright uncharitable.

This unfair critical outburst by Michal was like an anti-climax. It devastated David on one of the greatest days of his life. An initial attempt to bring the ark of God back to Israel, after so many years, was unsuccessful. But that day, everything went smoothly. He was celebrating with other Israelites, and came home with the intention to bless his family. David must have felt completely let down.

What was his reaction?  “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. 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!’ So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life” (verses 21-23 NLT). 

If Michal had a negative habit of ridiculing David like that in their home before this time, she didn’t get away with it this time round. She had gone too far. She had extended her contempt for her husband to God because she failed to see that David was actually worshipping God. Invariably, she despised God, and God, as we have seen in the matter of Eli, lightly esteem those who despise Him.  She reaped the fruit of her lack of respect for her husband and God.

Submission in marriage

It is quite appropriate, at this juncture, to advise wives to learn from this incident and not to despise their husbands. There could be problems within the marriage, but the wife should be careful not to hold her husband in contempt. Contempt for one’s husband is contrary to the Word of God. As a woman, never go into marriage if you are not going to respect and obey your husband.  Ephesians 5:33 and 1Peter 3:5, tell wives to respect and reverence their husbands. Reference is made to Sarah in 1Peter 3:6, who obeyed Abraham so much that she called him lord, not by name.

That did not mean she was docile or Abraham was a dictator, because in Gen 21:10-12, Sarah demanded that Abraham cast out Hagar, her slave girl that bore a child for Abraham and the child, Ishmael. In verse 12, God told Abraham to listen to Sarah’s voice.  Therefore, you can see that respect does not mean that the wife is treated like an object that could be trampled upon. While the wife must respect and obey the husband, such obedience must be to the extent that it does not violate the Word of God – it must not be that she obeys man and disobeys God (Acts 5:29).

A woman who will not submit to her own husband shouldn’t marry at all. Eph 5: 22 says, “Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord” (Amplified Bible). The Bible did not say to submit to somebody else’s husband.

In fact, Eph 5:24 tells wives to be subject to their own husbands in everything. 1Peter 3:1, 5 also tells wives to subject themselves to their own husbands. The Amplified Bible renders 1 Peter 3:1 thus, ““In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by godly lives of their wives.”

You cannot change your husband – you are wasting your time doing that by trying to teach and correct him. The Bible says adapt yourself to him. Only God can change him, as you pray. You will only make yourself unhappy, creating unnecessary tension in the home trying to change him or insisting he does certain things the way you like. Why don’t you adapt yourself to him while you pray to God about it? There is no bad case God cannot change.

Back to Michal – she despised David, her husband in her heart. It seemed she didn’t really become the wife of David; she remained the daughter of Saul while staying with David. The daughter of Saul! Could it be she was walking in the spirit of her father who didn’t hold God in high esteem, as demonstrated in the sacrifice he unadvisedly offered, thereby intruding into the office of a priest and his disobedience of God’s instructions to destroy the Amalakites? (1Sam 13:8-14; 1 Sam 15)

How David came to live with a contemptuous person

Michal was one of the children of Saul as shown thus in 1Sam 14:49: “Saul’s sons included Jonathan, Ishbosheth, and Malkishua. He also had two daughters: Merab, who was older, and Michal” (NLT). But how did David find himself living with Michal?

David became Saul’s in-law while he was in the king’s service. Saul had promised to give him his older daughter, Merab, if he would prove himself to be a real warrior by fighting the LORD’s battles, hoping that he would be killed in a fight with the Philistines instead of Saul killing him himself. However, 1 Sam 18:19 says, “So when the time came for Saul to give his daughter Merab in marriage to David, he gave her instead to Adriel, a man from Meholah” (NLT). Saul cheated him.

It was after this incident that Michal came into David’s Life. The Bible records that she fell in love with David and when Saul heard about it, he was happy, He thought that would be another opportunity to kill him easily once he became his in-law. “When Saul’s men reported this back to the king,  he told them, ‘Tell David that all I want for the bride price is 100 Philistine foreskins! Vengeance on my enemies is all I really want.’ But what Saul had in mind was that David would be killed in the fight. David was delighted to accept the offer. Before the time limit expired, he and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. Then David fulfilled the king’s requirement by presenting all their foreskins to him. So Saul gave his daughter Michal to David to be his wife. When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him,  Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life” (verses 24-29 NLT).

As I’ve said, Saul’s real intention for the marriage was to use Michal to entrap David and kill him. If not because Michal alerted David and he fled, he would have been killed in his house. However, Michal loved him then. She betrayed her father to save the life of her love. “Then Saul sent troops to watch David’s house. They were told to kill David when he came out the next morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, ‘If you don’t escape tonight, you will be dead by morning.’ So she helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then she took an idol* and put it in his bed, covered it with blankets, and put a cushion of goat’s hair at its head. When the troops came to arrest David, she told them he was sick and couldn’t get out of bed. But Saul sent the troops back to get David. He ordered, ‘Bring him to me in his bed so I can kill him!’ But when they came to carry David out, they discovered that it was only an idol in the bed with a cushion of goat’s hair at its head. ‘Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy escape?’ Saul demanded of Michal. ‘I had to,’ Michal replied. ‘He threatened to kill me if I didn’t help him.’ So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth” (1 Sam 19:11-18 NLT).

If Michal had not loved David at that time, David would not have outsmarted Saul. There was no way he would have escaped the plot of the king who was envious of his rising profile right from the time he killed Goliath. His heroic deed saved the king and the entire nation of Israel from shame, humiliation, fear and the dominion of the Philistines over Israel.

As a palace staff, David was also ministering to Saul by playing harp to soothe him whenever an evil spirit from the LORD came on him.  So David fled from a king suffering from mental illness. He left Michal behind.

And the Bible tells us what became of Michal, the wife who helped David to escape: “Saul, meanwhile, had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to a man from Gallim named Palti son of Laish” (1 Sam 25:44 NLT). What of David’s marital life? After she fled from Saul and left Michal at home, the Bible says he married two wives Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s widow (1 Sam 25:42-43; 1Sam 27:3, 30:5, 18; 2 Sam 2:2).

Upon Saul’s death, David became king of the tribe of Judah in Hebron. He came to the throne with these two wives – Ahinoam and Abigail. But the Bible says, “After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet” (2Sam 5:13-16 NLT).  Moreover, 1Chron 4:13 says, “Then David married more wives in Jerusalem, and they had more sons and daughters.” Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah was one of these numerous wives of David after becoming king of the entire nation of Israel.

One may ask: Was Michal happy with her father for forcing her husband, David, she fell in love with to flee their matrimonial home? Did she take offence at David for leaving her behind, making it possible for her father to give her to another man to marry?  Did she enjoy her new husband? The Bible does not give us direct answers to these questions, but we can make some inferences.

How did Michal, having been married to another man, return to David? “Then Abner sent messengers to David, saying, ‘Doesn’t the entire land belong to you? Make a solemn pact with me, and I will help turn over all of Israel to you.’ ‘All right,’ David replied, ‘but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come. David then sent this message to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son: ‘Give me back my wife Michal, for I bought her with the lives of 100 Philistines.’ So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti son of Laish. Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, ‘Go back home!’ So Palti returned” (2 Sam 3:12-16 NLT).

Did you see the circumstance of the return of Michal to join David in the palace after the process of turning the entire kingdom to David? Abner began the process of consolidating the reign of King David over Israel before Joab killed him. That was after many years of being away from David, and after having already settled down with another man in her life.

To answer one of the questions I asked a short while ago, it is most unlikely that Michal was pleased with her return to David, having been out of her life for long. She had a new lover, she must have adjusted her life to this second husband. You can see the emotion pouring out of her husband, Palti. As we read in the last Scripture, the Bible says, “Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, ‘Go back home!’ So Palti returned.

Palti and Michal must have had a good time together as husband and wife. That was why he could follow Michal when she was being taken away, weeping as she went. If Palti, a man could be weeping like that, what about Michal? Although the Bible is silent about this, I expect a river of tears to flow down her cheeks, knowing that women are more emotional than men.

It is true that Michal loved David before he fled from his father, but it was  doubtful if she loved her on her return to him after she became king of the entire nation of Israel. This, probably, accounted for the deep-seated disregard that Michal had for David.

In order to get Michal back to be his wife, David sent a message to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son saying, “Give me back my wife Michal, for I bought her with the lives of 100 Philistines.”  However, David actually exceeded the target Saul gave had given him as a condition to marry Michal. Saul asked for 100 foreskins of the Philistines but David gave him 200 (1 Sam 18:27).

If one considers the price he paid to marry Michal, one could say he was right to have demanded her back. However, by making that demand, David was only concerned about himself. He didn’t consider the interest of the other party. Though he had a right to her, the truth is that he had not been part of her life for many years.  Her life had moved forward, so had David’s life.  David had married a harem of wives and Michal had re-married too.

Being a princess, it was doubtful if Michal was impressed a bit by the fact that she was going to be a King’s wife when David asked for her. I am not sure if she was excited returning to live with David in the palace. The glamour of the palace could excite women who never lived there before. Though she was his first wife ever, it was unlikely that she fitted into that office – other women had come into David’s life and had blended and bonded with him. One may be safe to conclude that Michal’s heart was with her second husband and not her first husband, David.

Putting your past behind you        

What was David’ purpose for requesting Michal back from her husband’s house? Michal was part of his past, but not his present. She was useful and helpful in the past and even saved his life. That somebody was useful to you in the past does not mean that person must be useful now or always. That somebody loved you in the past does not mean that he or she still loves you – you may be imposing yourself on him or her. Everybody changes, including you! So don’t invite despise into your life; don’t bring yourself under despise.

Could Michal’s forced re-marriage be responsible for her despise of David, her contempt for him? Did David need to bring his past into his present? Did he have to re-marry Michal? Shouldn’t he have consigned her to his past? Shouldn’t he have avoided a situation where he had to be despised by someone who knew his beginning and had to aid his escape through the window? The Bible says, “She helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped.” She knew how fearful he was that day as he had to escape!

It is possible for those who knew your past to despise you, especially people who knew you when you were growing up physically and spiritually or in your business, career, ministry, etc. Familiarity breeds contempt. Prov 11:12 says, “It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet”(NLT). Prov 14:21 “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor” (NLT).  A man of God once said, “Those who belittle people will be little people.” Don’t despise people because of the information you have about them. The person you know yesterday, may have changed, grown, and developed past what you know.

Don’t despise anyone, because you don’t know tomorrow. Nobody knows the end of another person; only God knows. The stone that the builders rejected may become the chief corner stone (Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11).

Don’t bring yourself into situations that you will make people despise you. Keep away from people who want to make you look small while they magnify themselves. Don’t let your destiny be despised by anyone, notwithstanding his or her spiritual credentials. Avoid people who despise you and places where you are despised. Protect your dream or vision from people who want to undermine it.

Don’t injure your destiny or the purpose of God for your life by bringing into your life people in your past who have no respect for the new things God is doing in your life or those who would like to remind you and God (as if God is ignorant) about your past – the information that is not going to help you. Don’t invite them into your life, no matter the position they occupied in your life in the past. Old things have passed away! God is doing a new thing and they can’t see it. That is, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you” (Matt 7:6 NLT).

It is bad for those despising you if they can’t see what God is doing in your life. However, it will be too bad if you can’t appreciate either the new thing God wants to use your life for and you’re clinging to unprofitable old relationships based on sentiments. Bury your past and move on with God into your future. There are more people in your future than you have ever met. There are greater things God wants to do in your life than He had ever done. Let go of sentiments. Stop surrounding yourself with people in your past who are filled with contempt for you.

Sarah made that mistake and he blamed Abram for it. She gave her maid, Hagar, to him to have sexual relations with. But after Hagar became pregnant, she despised her mistress; she held her in contempt. “So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” (Gen 16:4-5 NLT) After Sarah mistreated her, she ran away. However, the angel of the LORD told her to return and submit herself, instead of despising her mistress. “The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority’” (verse 9).

But Hagar did not desist. She and her son, Ishmael, were caught by Sarah mocking Isaac, and she demanded that they both be sent away by Abraham this time round. Sarah wanted to protect her son – she didn’t want her mistake to continue despising her miracle. Abraham was sentimental because Ishmael was also his son, his first son. However, God told him to obey his wife.  “But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac. So she turned to Abraham and demanded, ‘Get rid of that slave-woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!’ This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. But God told Abraham, Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted” (Gen 21:9-11 NLT). Did you see that?

In order to protect your destiny, you must discourage any relationship that has contempt for God’s purpose for your life. You can never become who God has ordained you to be if you fill your life with those whose hearts are filled with contempt for your destiny.

Queen Vashti’s contempt

When Queen Vashti despised her husband, King Xerxes, by refusing to come out to display her beauty, she was removed so that her contempt for her husband would not encourage other wives in the kingdom to do likewise. “Memucan answered the king and his nobles, ‘Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire. Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king. Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger” (Esther 1:16-18 NLT).

Against this backdrop, he gave this advice:  “So if it please the king, we suggest that you issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes that cannot be revoked. It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she. When this decree is published throughout the king’s vast empire, husbands everywhere, whatever their rank, will receive proper respect from their wives!’ The king and his nobles thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel” (verses 19-21 NLT). Did you see that? Queen Vashti was banished for contempt for the king, her husband.

Conclusion: Learn from the examples in this message. Don’t hold anyone in contempt. Don’t despise any human being. Also, know that contemptuous persons are a bad influence on you. You don’t need those who are filled with contempt for your destiny.

You need encouragers. You need those who believe in you despite your struggles. You need those who believe in the God’s treasure inside your earthen vessel. You need those who can help you to remove the dross covering your silver so that it can shine.  May the LORD send such people into your life.

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your LORD and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now:  O LORD God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my LORD and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the LORD be with you.

 dsc_0581T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
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Website: www.cedarministry.org