Michal’s story reads like a soap opera: romance, intrigue, feuding families, and a politically motivated lover’s triangle.
Michal was the youngest daughter of Saul. She fell in love with David, at a time her father was looking for a way to have David killed. Sensing his opportunity, Saul promised Michal to David in exchange for killing 100 Philistines. It was intended to be a suicide mission – except David managed to kill 200 Philistines! Not only had Saul’s plan failed, but he was forced to watch his youngest daughter marry the enemy.
Saul schemed once more to take David’s life, but Michal uncovered the plot and helped her husband escape. While David climbed out a window, Michal used a household idol to make it look like David was asleep in bed, underneath a garment.
After David went into hiding, Saul gave Michal to a man named Paltiel – a deliberate insult, maybe designed to weaken David’s claim to the throne. After Saul died, David demanded that Michal be returned to him – much to Paltiel’s chagrin.
Michal probably resented being treated like a pawn in other people’s game. Or, maybe she just didn’t share David’s devotion to God. For whatever reason, the love between them seemed to grow cold after David actually became king. Michal even mocked David’s exuberant display of joy as the Ark of the Covenant was carried back into Jerusalem. The Bible notes that Michal bore no children after her falling out with David – which seems to indicate a divine punishment, but may have simply been the result of David’s disfavor and lack of affection/intercourse with her.
Michal had seen firsthand how jealousy had turned her father, King Saul, into a bitter, suspicious, paranoid man. His jealousy ruined his relationships with all other people, robbed him of joy in his life, and eventually rendered him insane.
Yet, Michal foolishly followed in her father’s footsteps! She was jealous of David’s devotion and passion he had for God. She voiced her feelings when David danced before the Lord… and David told her he wasn’t concerned with how silly his celebration might have looked to her; his highest allegiance was to God.
How do you rank on the jealousy scale? Do you demand that your spouse or best friends or children put you first? Do you constantly “test” them to see how devoted they truly are to you? Do you feel glad – or sad – when those you love most love God most?
It’s dangerous to expect any other person to fulfill the deepest needs of our heart. That approach to relationships can only lead to jealousy and disappointment. Let God meet the emotional needs of your heart. Embrace his will for your life. Then you will be able to celebrate with Him when those closest to you put God first.
* Jealousy usually leads to bitterness.
You can read Michal’s story in 1Samuel 14—2Samuel 6, and in 1Chronicles 15.