“The Lord’s loving-kindnesses indeed never cease; For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB
Who knows the story of a young man whose name is fun to say? Do you know anything about Me-phib-o-sheth? Check out Second Samuel 9. Or…..just keep reading! 🙂
King David began wondering if there were any relatives in the house of Jonathan, Saul’s son, who was also David’s very best friend; his covenant friend. Truth be told, as the king of Israel, it would have been within the culture of the day for him to kill off all the blood family from the previous dynasty. But David didn’t inquire so he could go kill them. He asked so he may show the kindness of Jonathan his friend.
The king summoned Ziba, the servant of Saul’s household. (By the way, the new king was also allowed to slay all the previous king’s servants–they hear and keep family secrets, too!). Ziba may have quaked a bit in his dusty sandals as he fell prostrate to the floor of the palace. David gave the kingly sign for him to rise and answer him.
“Is there anyone still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” asked King David.
“There is one son of Jonathan; and by the way, he is lame in both feet,” answered Ziba. “He is Mephibosheth, living in Lo-debar.” David had Mephibosheth brought to the palace from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth bowed low before the King. After all, he knew what David the King was allowed to do. He was aware this could be the end of his life. He was in for a total surprise.
“Don’t be afraid,” said the King. You can stop quaking in your sandals now.
“I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.” Kindness?? But I’ve been living/hiding in Lo-debar all these years! A dry and parched land! Hey! In case, you’ve not noticed–I’m the lame son. No one thinks I can do anything so I just subsist in Lo-debar where nothing is growing!
“I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul.” Wow. That’s a lot of land! What are you up to?
“And you will always eat at my table.” The king’s table? Here? In Jerusalem? My crippled no good feet under the table of the king? Forever? Who are you?
Mephibosheth most likely had never heard the history his dad Jonathan and this king David had with one another. He didn’t know that his dad and the king had made a covenant with one another that stretched all the way into their descendants forever. (First Samuel 20). They made a pact with one another; a binding covenant between them and the Lord God that they would not cut off the Lord’s lovingkindness from one another’s houses-from all their descendants forever. David kept that promise that day when he had Mephibosheth brought to his palace.
David was a promise keeper.
As we, in the intimate gathering of our church, were asked to ponder this story in II Samuel 9 in yesterday’s service, the pastor challenged us to call out what part of the story jumped out at us. One member directed us to verse 3 where David said he wanted to show God’s kindness. In verse one David asks his servants if there was anyone in the house of Saul he could show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. The pastor reminded us that indeed both David and Jonathan had made a covenant between them and the Lord to show the Lord’s lovingkindness to one another’s descendants forever.
Mephibosheth did indeed move to Jerusalem where he dined at the table of the King for the rest of his life. Surely they had quite the discussions of their lives and the memories shared of Jonathan. Perhaps David described his day with Goliath; or he quoted some of his poetry from his writing days–those poems he sang as songs to the Lord–the Psalms in the middle of our Bibles.
But the Lord spoke to my heart later that afternoon. I wondered if Mephibosheth ever thanked David for bringing him up out of Lo-debar; out of the parched land into the palace for the rest of his life. The story was not about whether he thanked David. The story was about David showing God’s kindness to the last living descendant of the house of Saul. It was about David keeping his promise not only to Jonathan but to God. It was about God’s lovingkindness being shown to an undeserving young man. A man who was and would always be lame in both feet.
I had to get on my knees and ask God to forgive me. He gently reminded me that I had longed in my heart for some friends to thank me for their gifts I had given last Christmas. And when would they be giving me a gift? After all…..
The Lord disciplined me in my spirit after this message on David showing God’s lovingkindness. In giving gifts this year–whether to family, friends, ministries, strangers, it is always about showing God’s lovingkindness–not ever ours. Then it is a true God-given- no-strings-attached gift. Do you see? If the story mentioned that Mephibosheth had expressed thanks, then the story would be more about a man being kind to another man. No.
This story was about God being kind to an undeserving man. God being kind to us undeserving folks.
He shows lovingkindness to those of us living in the dry and parched no good land like Lo-debar. It’s what He does. This story and the Lord’s kind discipline to his daughter has reminded me that this year when I give it’s from His love. God’s lovingkindness always.’Tis the season to give from the heart of kindness. God’s kindness.
Lord, every single story in the Bible is for a purpose. Thank you for reminding me of Your lovingkindness shown to an undeserving young man; thank you for your gentle discipline to my heart. Giving to others as you so generously gave to me Your Son Jesus who died for my sins. Thank you, Lord, for your lovingkindness never ceases. Amen.