Summary: Grace required, grace recieved and grace returned as seen in from the life of Mephibosheth.
I remember Tony Campolo telling the story of a time he was travelling and saw a little girl all dressed up at the airport who kept saying “I’m going to see my daddy”. She was so happy until motion sickness caught up with her and she got sick all over herself. Campolo waited around to watch the reunion. When the father saw his little girl he saw beyond the filth and embraced her anyway. Likewise God sees beyond the filth in our lives and sees only the child He loves. This is grace.
Grace is unmerited favor. As a kid I learned that the word GRACE means GOD’S RICHES AT CHRIST’S EXPENSE. It means getting something that you don’t deserve. It is a gift given from the love of the giver. You can’t earn it.
An example of grace is seen in the life of Mephibosheth. Saul was chosen as king but had been disobedient to God and had died in battle with his son Jonathan. There was a conflict between the house of Saul and that of David, who was God’s anointed. It was often the case in the ancient world that when a new dynasty replaced an old one the entire family of the previous king would be killed so that no future leader would be left to make a claim to the throne. With this in mind we read:
2 Samuel 4:4 Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.
After many years of conflict David takes his rightful place as God’s anointed on the throne as king. The nation has expanded and it is a time of peace and prosperity in the nation. Almost 20 years later we again hear about Jonathan’s son:
2 Samuel 9:3 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." 4 "Where is he?" the king asked. Ziba answered, "He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar." 5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. 6 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. 7 "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." 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"
1. Grace Required – our need
Out of the overflow that David had received from the Lord, he wanted to bless someone else. Likewise out of the abundance of love in the heart of God all things were created.
Ephesians 1:4 Long before He laid down the earth’s foundation, He had us in His mind and settled on us as the focus of His love to be made whole and holy by His love. (Message)
We are the focus of God’s love. God made you to love you. You were created to be loved by God.
That is why you exist. That is why you were born. It is why you are here this morning drawing air into your lungs. God created you to love you.
God didn’t need you. He wanted you. He wasn’t lonely. He made you because He is love. You have to understand that this is what you are on earth for – you are here to be loved by God. We have value and worth not because of what we have done but because of who we were created. Our value is based in who God is and who God created us to be.
Even though God created us to love us and gave us worth and value, we have chosen to devalue and tarnish what we have been given. Ziba had been a servant of Saul and knew about Mephibosheth who had been living his whole life in fear in Lo Debar. In Hebrew this means "not a pasture." It is a dry and barren place. Can you imagine the pain, poverty, fear and state of mind in which he lived?
We all know what it is to have broken relationships, especially with God. Even though we were created to be loved by God, we have all turned from God and in doing so our relationship with Him has been shattered. In running we have been wounded and crippled by sin. Each of us has inherited a fallen sin nature that we must live with on a daily basis. Like Paul we strive to please God but often end up doing the things we hate and not doing the things we should. We separate ourselves from God and live alone in a dry and barren place trying to hide from Him.