Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David with rejoicing and gladness. And when those who were carrying the ark of the Lord [by its poles] had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David was dancing before the Lord with [a]great enthusiasm, and David was [b]wearing a linen ephod [a priest’s upper garment]. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing the ark of the Lord up [to the City of David] with shouts [of joy] and with the sound of the trumpet. – 2 Samuel 6:12-15
The ark was the symbol of the divine presence: and by having it at Jerusalem, David hoped that he should have more easy access to Jehovah at all seasons, and bring down, both on himself and all his people, a rich abundance of spiritual blessings.
Historically, the church wrote many festive songs of celebration, which were lost in antiquity. Some have been discovered together with ancient notes concerning the dance meter in which they were written. When in the passing of time, the church came under religious and lost the freedom of the Spirit in Christ, the meter of many of these ancient carols was changed to a more somber tone–much like that of a dirge. The critics of dance felt that church was not the place for dancing. It seemed sacrilegious to them. In the Old Testament, David was free in his spirit like a little child before the Lord. He did not suppress the need to dance because of the criticism it brought, nor allow others to inhibit true worship. Neither did he dance alone in the secrecy of his own prayer closet. David did find however, the necessity in his own life of praise and worship to address the criticism of those who viewed his dance as an unholy manifestation.
I don’t know if David was threatening to worship nude, to dance nude, to sacrifice more cattle, to hand out more food to the people, or what other “undignified” form of conduct, but whatever it was, he knew that God would accept it in the joyful spirit in which it was offered, and that was important to him.
On the other hand,
They [the Arians] show themselves no better than madmen, agitating and moving their bodies, uttering strange sounds, engaging in customs foreign to the things of the Spirit. They introduce the habits of mimes and dancers into sacred places. Their minds are darkened by what they have heard and seen in the theatres. They confuse theatrical action with the ceremonials of the Church. — Chrysostom, a.d. 398
Who is to praise the Lord? Psalm 150 concludes: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” All of us who have been enlivened by God, all of us who have been created and have had the very breath of God breathed into us, all of us who have been made in God’s own image for fellowship with Him, let us praise the Lord. You see, we have been entrusted with a tremendously important task. We have been given a great command–“praise the Lord!” We dare not take it lightly. We dare not take it casually. But all of us who have breath, all of us especially who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, who have been recreated, who have been born again by the Spirit of God, all of us who have experienced the saving work of Jesus Christ in our hearts, we need to be about the business of praising God. We need to fill our lives with praise, praising Him with all of our might as we gather together and as we serve Him in the vast expanse of the world that He has given to us. We need to guard ourselves against trivializing His praise as if it can be just a little corner of worship or life under the abbreviation P&W. Our minds have to be stretched out to the world that God has made, to recognize that we praise Him everywhere.