David and Mephibosheth
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”
“Your servant,” he replied.
The king asked, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.”
“Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.
David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“Your servant,” he replied.
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.
Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet.
A king calls out to a man he has never met in order to give him an enormous amount of wealth. Not only this, but invites him to live the rest of his life in the king’s palace. It is an incredible act of kindness for someone he had never met. But David was not doing this for Mephibosheth. He was doing it for Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul, if you remember, displeased the Lord so the Lord send Samuel to anoint David, the Shepherd, to be the next king. But after his anointing, David did not take the thrown. Instead, he became a military leader who won so many victories that King Saul became jealous of him and tried several times to kill him. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, had the same heart as David and they became best friends.
Now, Saul is dead. Jonathan is dead. They died in battle while David has exiled himself to escape from Saul. David is the King and he has subdued all of his enemies. And in the moment of peace, he remembers his friend. They had made a promise to one another to always show kindness to the other’s families. So David calls for Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was a child when his father and grandfather died in battle. The enemy stormed the castle and his nursemaid picked him up to rescue him, but in the rush, she dropped him and he became lame in both feet. In a moment, he lost his grandfather, his father, his wealth to be inherited, the kingdom because he would have been king one day, and his ability to walk. When David makes this grand offer to Mephibosheth, we see the toll his life has taken on him. “What you do want with a dead dog like me?” This is how he felt about himself. I can imagine he had thoughts wondering how God could have abandoned him. The people in that culture would have been very cruel to him because of his paralysis. It was considered a curse from God.
So many of us have been dropped by people. Some people have purposely dropped us because of a mean spirit. Others, who truly loved us like Mephibosheth’s nursemaid, still drop us simply because they are human and make mistakes. But being dropped can produce a paralysis in our spirit as we wrestle with why these things have happened. So when the love of God comes to us with great kindness, we have a tendency to reject it thinking we are not worthy. But you see, David’s offer was not based on Mephibosheth. It was based on a promise. God promised to Abraham a long time ago that He would bless his descendants. We know from the New Testament that the Lord considers us the spiritual descendants of Abraham. And it is God’s promise that moves Him to great kindness.
No matter who you are today and no matter how many people have dropped you, your response to those things may have moved you away from God. Because of how people have treated you, you may have also felt like a dead dog. You may have rejected God’s kindness thining you are not worthy, but I want you to know that God loves you and He has promised to bless you and these blessings are based on His promise, not your past. Pull up to the king’s table. It’s time for a feast.