Summary: The Story of David and Mephibosheth.
November 28, 2010
Now that we’ve officially entered into the Christmas season by lighting the Advent candles and celebrating Black Friday, we are supposed to be nice and kind and gracious to all people. Right?! This is especially true when we’re out and about buying those special presents we’ve got to get for our loved ones.
Have you ever thought about grace and kindness much? It seems that there are seasons, like this one especially, in which we feel we should be better dispensers of grace and kindness. Can you think about a recent time when you received a little grace and kindness from someone? Maybe it happened on the job, when you were given a break; or maybe you received a warning instead of a speeding ticket; maybe someone released you and forgave you.
I read a story about a businessman who had one of his managers steal thousands of dollars to support his drug addiction. Instead of prosecuting him, the owner of the store paid for him to go to a rehab program. That’s grace.
Do you remember from way back in the beginning of the year I spoke about grace and mercy and the difference between the two?
Grace is receiving what we do not deserve.
Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.
As we’ve been looking through The Story, we’ve seen many examples in the OT which point us toward Christ. And I want to continue on that journey this morning as we begin to look towards the birth of Jesus.
There’s a wonderful story of grace and mercy which we will not touch on in The Story. It comes from the life of King David and is recorded in 2 Samuel 9. This story is a great example for us to follow, especially as we celebrate the Thanksgiving season. So, let’s hit the rewind button on The Story and revisit this historical account of grace and mercy.
In a very real way, the story of King David and a man named Mephibosheth is Our Story. You may not know about his story, so let me give you a quick background on Mephibosheth. He was the son of David’s best friend, Jonathon. If you recall from last week, Jonathon was King Saul’s son, and was next in line to become king, but he knew David would be the man. There was a battle with the Philistine’s in which King Saul and 3 of his sons were killed, including Jonathon. Jonathon had a young son named Mephibosheth and during a time of unrest, his nurse quickly tried to pick him up and she dropped him, which permanently injured his legs.
Years later David remembered that he made a vow to Jonathon that he would always remember of care for Jonathon’s family. So David began to search for Jonathon’s descendants and he finds Mephibosheth.
He was living in a place called Lo Debar which means “no pasture or barren.” This was an accurate description of Mephibosheth’s position in life. He feared for his life when David approached because he assumed David would want to make sure that no descendants remained from King Saul. That way there would not be a threat to the throne.
When David finds Mephibosheth he tells him 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 (2 Samuel 9:7).
Mephibosheth was surprised at David’s act of kindness, telling him, what is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me? That’s a pretty telling statement from Mephibosheth. He doesn’t think very highly of himself. He’s surprised that someone like David would take the time to search for him. Yet, David is showing kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of another, his good friend, Jonathan.
On 4 separate occasions over the next few verses, we read in verses 7, 10, 11, 13 — that Mephibosheth is included at King David’s table, like one of his sons. It’s a wonderful story of grace. Mephibosheth is receiving something he does not deserve. He receives grace and love from David, as he is included in David’s family, just like one of his sons.
So, this is the story of Mephibosheth. A privileged son of royalty, falls and becomes crippled and helpless. So, out of fear of the King’s wrath, he hides in the land of barrenness. But for the sake of another, for Jonathon, the King initiates a search for him. And David finds him and brings him back and out of kindness gives him a place at the King’s table like a son.
What I love about this story is the fact that it’s so much like our story. Think about it.