Michal’s story is told throughout the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. She was a princess. In fact, along with her older sister, Michal was the first princess of Israel because her father, Saul, was the first King.
After David killed Goliath, he became very popular throughout the land and very popular among Saul’s kids, especially Jonathan and Michal. 1 Samuel 18:1 reads: “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:20 reads: “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David.” Unfortunately, while Saul’s kids were developing a friendship with David, Saul was developing a jealous hatred for him.
At first, Saul had promised David he could marry his older daughter, Merab, for killing Goliath. But jealousy caused Saul not to keep his promise. He gave Merab to another man to marry. Later, Saul heard that Michal loved David. So he promised David that he could marry Michal if he killed one hundred Philistines. This promise was not made in honesty because Saul was plotting David’s death and secretly hoped the Philistines would kill him. After David went out and killed two hundred Philistines, Saul was forced to give him Michal to marry.
Even though his daughter was now married to the man he hated, Saul still sought to kill David every chance he got. Once, Saul had the house of David and Michal surrounded but Michal helped David escape by letting him down through a window. She tricked the king’s men by placing a statue in David’s bed and later lied to her father saying that David had threatened to kill her if she did not help him to escape.
After this, Saul was very mad and gave Michal to another man to marry. For nearly fourteen years, Michal and David were separated until after Saul’s tragic death. The Bible doesn’t say that they ever saw each other during this time. Only when David took control of the throne did he ask to have Michal back. So, Michal left her second husband and went back to David. But the fiery love they once had for one another had fizzled out. Things between them were different now. And when Michal saw David “leaping and whirling before the Lord” as the ark was brought into the city, 2 Samuel 6:16 reads: “she despised him in her heart.” What had happened to Michal’s love for David?
Here are a few things we can learn from Michal.
1. Michal allowed the unfair treatment she experienced to make her bitter. It can’t be denied that much of life was unfair to Michal. First, she was a princess trailblazer and had to figure out on her own how to wear the crown and walk like a princess and talk like a princess and do the royal wave (whatever that is). Thanks to her father, she wasn’t just a regular Jewish girl anymore.
Second, according to Bible Gateway, her older sister died prematurely and she was left to take care of her five sons. Third, her father hated the guts of the first man she was in love with. Saul chased David away for years and gave Michal (probably against her wishes) to another man. During the years they were separated, another woman called Abigail, managed to capture a part of David’s heart. And then when they were finally united, David was more ecstatic about seeing the ark of the Lord then he was about seeing Michal.
And remember the five boys Michal was raising for her sister. David had them turned over to be killed. To add injury to insult, 2 Samuel 6:23 tells us: “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” When Michal died, she died without children, without a husband who loved her, and with a bitter heart.
Hebrews 12:15 warns us against developing a root of bitterness. Many things happen that are completely out of our control. People are going to hurt and disappoint us. We might experience the ugliness of death. Sometimes, there is nothing we can do to stop bad things from happening. But God requires us to trust Him.
If we are dumped by someone we love, God says ‘trust Me.’ When we are misunderstood, God says ‘trust Me.’ When we think life is being unfair to us, God says ‘trust Me.’ He does not want us to let our bad experiences make us bitter.
2. Michal was not a woman after God’s own heart. Despite all his faults and failures, the Bible calls David a man after God’s own heart. Why? S. Michael Houdmann of GotQuestions.org gives five reasons why David was considered a man after God’s own heart:
- David had absolute faith in God.
- David absolutely loved God’s law.
- David was truly thankful.
- David was truly repentant.
- David demonstrated his faith seemingly on a daily basis which pleased the Lord.
As we can see from the Bible, Michal did none of the things that David did above. She wasn’t an entirely bad girl like Jezebel. But she was a bitter one. Michal did not have absolute faith in God that He would work things out for her good. She did not absolutely love God and in the end, one wonders if she ever truly loved David. Did she love David for the obedience and faith he showed to God? Or did she just love him because he had killed Goliath and was a brave warrior? CSBC writes: “Michal’s surface problem was surely David and Saul, but her real problem was with God.”
David and Michal’s relationship did not last because they were not spiritually one. Because Michal did not love God the way David did, she hated the way he worshiped the Lord in public and eventually her love for David diminished.
God does not expect us to be perfect, but He does want us to have absolute faith in Him. God is in control of every part of our lives. He loves us and wants us to obey Him. Unlike Michal, we should follow the example of David, and be truly thankful for the little blessings God gives us and the big blessings too. Finally, when we mess up, we should ‘fess us. God will always forgive the truly repentant.