2 Samuel 9:1-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
1 Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “At your service!”
3 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.”
4 So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”
5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”
7 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”
8 Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
9 And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given to your master’s son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house.
10 You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master’s son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s son shall eat bread at my table always.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
How would you feel if you were invited to dine at the king's table, and live in the palace .. for life?
--That is what happened for Mephibosheth.
--King David said, "Is anyone left of Saul's family so I may show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (v 1).
--There is, "a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet".
--Someone, to show "the kindness of God" (v 3).
--My friend, that is what Jesus does for you and me!
What is kindness? Kindness is a deed, a language.
--A language the blind can see, the deaf hear, and the dumb can understand. It is an act, of compassion.
--Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for some act of kindness, for any one of us.
--Someone has written, "kind hearts are the gardens .. kind thoughts are the roots .. kind words are the flowers .. kind deeds are the fruits."
Think back of all the kindnesses received from others.
--Where would we be without them? Especially of Jesus.
--His cross, prayers. Of family, friends. Or others.
--Forget the negative, let the Lord deal with that.
--Abraham Lincoln said, "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us."
--Let's build up, not tear down. Let's be kind.
II Samuel 9 shows what a godly man David was.
--From a shepherd boy who defended God and His people, against a giant .. to a mature believer who wrote an incomparable Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd...."
--All those years, David grew in God, and showed so many acts of kindness .. but none greater than this.
It is an illustration of God's grace, to all of us.
--King Saul though defended and befriended by David became his enemy; but Saul's son Jonathan,"David's best friend, and Saul's daughter, David's wife.
--Saul and Jonathan killed in battle, David now king.
--"Is any left of Saul's family, I may show kindness?"
--"Yes, a son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, lame .. in his feet." Let's recall who Mephibosheth is!
Mephibosheth is grown, crippled,. almost. forgotten.
--King Saul's grandson, and son of Jonathan - the best friend David ever had. They were like brothers.
--So David asked, "Any left, I may show kindness to?"
--In that day, David could have put to death any family member of the previous king who might be a contender.
--But David "showed kindness" instead, as God does.
"Where is he?" David asked. "In LoDebar" (v 4).
--In Hebrew, LoDebar means, "without pasture," and was located beyond Jordan .. in a poor, desert area.
--II Samuel 4:4 tells how as a child of five, Mephibosheth was dropped by a fleeing nurse, and crippled.
--He's the object of David's kindness, Now in hiding.
--Ziba had been Saul's servant, had betrayed the place of hiding of Mephibosheth, and he could be killed by David .. but David said, "Get Mephibosheth and bring him here." Kindness was going to be shown to all.
When Mephibosheth came to David, he was afraid, "fell on his face and prostrated himself" (v 6).
--Look at verse 7, David said, "Do not fear."
--The Bible is full of "fear pots" Jesus spoke to His disciples so often, "Fear not." Get faith, not fear.
--David adds, "I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake." "The kindness of God."
--Ah, kindness! Isn't that the nature of God to us?
--To bestow His "amazing grace" to us all, day by day.
That is not all. Listen, "I will restore to you.. all the land of Saul .. and you shall eat bread at my table continually" (v 7). Going to live in the palace!
--No longer in LoDebar, "without pasture."
--In the palace of the king. To "eat at his table!"
--Not for just a special meal or two .. "continually."
Here is Mephibosheth, before a king, fearful of life.
--But put at ease by David's kindness and provision.
My dear friend, do you see, this is for you and me!
--We are so much like Mephibosheth. Don't fault me.
--But spiritually, we are. Rather helpless. Needy.
--Many of us "without pasture," living in "LoDebar."
--Forgetting what Jesus said "I am the Door, if anyone enters by Me will go in and out and find pasture.
David recalled the covenant he and Jonathan had made.
--Enquires about any survivors of his dear friend.
--Why? "That I may show the kindness of God" (v 3).
--The "kindness of God" is the highest type of kindness.
--It was not the usual "man-made" type, but "of God."
What David did for Mephibosheth, Jesus does for us.
--All mankind, since Adam and Eve, are injured by their "fall" and disobedience to God in the Garden.
--We bear the weakness, and guiltiness, of our sin too.
But Jesus seeks us .. remembers God's covenant with us.
--Calls us to "Come unto Me, all you..."
--He loves us, for "the Father's sake." Seeks our good.
--He wants us "at His table .. continually."
--To dwell with Him .. both here and hereafter.
Mephibosheth was to eat at David's table, with his family; and to be one of the family. That's merciful!
--God is most merciful, That kind of kind, saving God.
--Jesus said, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36). "Be kind one to another ...."
Any other kind on that throne, Mephibosheth be killed!
--Any other would have eliminated all relatives, to be sure of keeping the throne. But not David!
--He showed kindness. A kingly kindness, like Christ!
Mephibosheth knew all this, said to David, "Who am I?"
--I'm just a nobody, "that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?" (v 8). A cripple. An out-cast!
--David didn't say that! Nor does the Lord!
--Rather David says, in effect, "You are Mephibosheth - the son of my dear friend, Jonathan!" He's loved!
--And you are worthy, as all are, of kindness!
Like the transformation in salvation, what a change for Mephibosheth's life! Look what a difference was made!
--Now feasting at the king's table! Lived in a palace!
--Dined with the king's own children, part of the family, as when saved we are, of God's family of faith!
You may think, I wish God would do that for me. He does.
--My friend, that is God's invitation .. in Jesus!
--Come to His house, to His table. His care!
What can we learn from this? What's it teaching us?
--It says several things to me, of life and of God.
I. WE MAY NOT DESERVE WHAT LIFE MAY BRING US.
--Mephibosheth, as a child, was accidently crippled.
--He didn't deserve it. Nor do most children, ill.
--With Down's Syndrone. Leukemia, Cancer, all else.
--What should we do? Seek to prevent. Find a cure.
--To pray .. and love them dearly, as God loves us.
Nor, like Mephibosheth, we may not deserve to be eating at the king's table, and in the king's house.
--Yet, for all His redeemed children, God invites us.
--"Come unto Me, all who labor, and are heavy laden."
--"How excellent is Your loving kindness, 0 God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings" (Psalm 36:7-9).
II. ALL OF US ARE INFIRM - SPIRITUALLY INFIRM.
--Maybe not physically as Mephobosheth, but in spirit.
--No offense, my friend, but we.are sinners, all of us.
--In keeping God's Commands, obeying Him, often lame.
--We have a temper that flares. Selfish disposition.
--An attitude, that usually wants its own way.
--As to Satan and sins, Satan often wins.
--We are weak. Spiritually weak in witness of Jesus.
--We need to daily repent. Seek God's healing help.
--We all need saving. To be "born again in Jesus."
III. WE NEED TO ACCEPT OTHERS IN LOVING KINDNESS.
--No record David ever brought up the handicap of his guest, Mephibosheth. Only showing him kindness.
--A handicap to be lived with, and loved for.
--They didn't talk about it, but of the Lord!
--Mephibosheth wasn't healed. He was shown kindness.
IV. KINDNESS WAS SHOWN, BECAUSE OF GOD'S LIKENESS.
--David showed kindness, for "Jonathan's sake."
--God shows His grace in Jesus, for "His Son's sake."
--We ought to show kindness, for "Jesus' sake."
--It ought to be a way of daily life. All need it.
--It speaks to me of our own walk. Is it with God?
To us all, Jesus invites us to His House, His Table.
--To show kindness. Come.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 145