Mephibosheth and God’s Kindness

GettyImages-471862605-57775e30ee3244bead8a14fbd4e0c8a8Over the past few weeks at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we have been looking at the life of David. The Bible teaches us that David was a man after God’s own heart. What are the characteristics of David that make him a man after God’s own heart? He had a teachable spirit and a servant’s heart. David experienced the grace of God and he wanted to extend that grace to the people around him. David lived for the glory of God. David was not a perfect man. He had a sin nature like all of us have. David made mistakes, like all of us do. David, as we will see in our next lesson, when confronted with his sins, was quick to confess and repent. He was the polar opposite of King Saul.

As you may remember in one of our previous lessons, when David confronted Saul over his ungodly actions, Saul asked David to extend the mercy and grace of God to him and his family. David had no problem doing that. Later, David is going to make a covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathan. In this lesson, David is going to have the chance to make good on his promise to King Saul and his covenant with Jonathan. David’s fortunes have changed. King Saul is dead. His heir, Jonathan, is dead. David has become King. There is no one to see if David will honor his promise or not. But, the Lord is there and David knows this. David seeks to honor his promise to King Saul and his covenant with Jonathan. Keep in mind, as we read the story of David and Mephibosheth, the words of the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

What we learn with David and Mephibosheth is a foreshadowing of the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and His followers.

I. David’s Actions

David takes the initiative to bless King Saul’s descendants, as he promised to do.

Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (II Samuel 9:1)

This speaks volumes to David’s character. He is a man of his word just as God always keeps His Word. Keeping his word is a priority for David. Are you a person who keeps his word? Is your yes always yes and your no always no?

2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.”
3 The king said, “Is there not yet anyone 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 crippled in both feet.” (II Samuel 9)

David puts forth effort to make sure that he keeps his word. Did you notice what motivates David to do what he does? David has experienced the kindness of God and he wants to extend that kindness to those around him, especially to those of the house of King Saul. God places Himself at our disposal and becomes useful to us. He does not have to do this but He chooses to do it. We benefit from it. David wants to become useful to Saul’s descendants for their own benefit. David will not benefit from this and no one is there to force him to do it yet, because he is a man after God’s own heart, he acts according to God’s nature.

5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
6 Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he said, “Here is your servant!”
7 David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.” (II Samuel 9)

David sends for Mephibosheth and assures him that no harm will come his way and that he has nothing but benefits to expect from David because of his promise to King Saul and because of his covenant with Jonathan.

9 Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson.
10 “You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master’s grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. (II Samuel 9)

The beauty of this relationship is that the kindness of God through David does not just extend to Mephibosheth, it also extends to those within Mephibosheth’s sphere of influence. God extends kindness to us. We benefit from that kindness and then we seek to extend that kindness to those within our sphere of influence.

II. Mephibosheth

Things took a turn for the worse in Mephibosheth’s family. His grandfather and father both died on the same day. His life was in danger and because he does not know of David’s promise to King Saul or of David’s covenant with Jonathan, something terrible happens to him.

The king said, “Is there not yet anyone 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 crippled in both feet.” (II Samuel 9:3)

Mephibosheth was not born crippled in his feet. After the death of Saul and Jonathan, the house maid tried to flee with Mephibosheth in her arms and she dropped him in her haste. As a result, he was crippled for the rest of his life. Once David finds Mephibosheth and informs him of the covenant promises, he becomes the beneficiary of those promises. Those promises also extend to his immediate family and household. This is the beauty of covenant. All of this points to the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

III. The New Covenant

In the New Covenant, God takes the initiative to find us. He has sent out messengers with His Holy Word. That Word points us to the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. We are like Mephibosheth in this relationship. We are born broken and enslaved to our sin nature. We suffer because of it until we hear the message of the Gospel. Once we hear and believe the message of the Gospel we receive many amazing benefits. I will focus on three of them here in this section.

According to John 3:16, in the New Covenant, we receive the gift of eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

According to Luke 24:44-47. in the New Covenant, we receive the forgiveness of sins.

44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24)

According to Romans 6:5-7, in the New Covenant, we receive freedom from sin’s power.

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
7 for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6)

Until we learn of these benefits, we suffer the consequences of not knowing about the New Covenant, similarly to the way that Mephibosheth suffered being crippled because he did not know of the covenant promises between David and his family. Once we learn of these benefits and experience these benefits, we want to extend them to the people within our spheres of influence.

Do you know the benefits and blessings of the New Covenant? Are you sharing the kindness of God with those within your sphere of influence?

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