Summary: Like Mephibosheth we were crippled, expecting death, but we come to the presence of the KING and receive mercy and grace. Come and Eat.
Come to the Table
1 John 3:1- “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
The Bible seems to abound in difficult names- names like “Ne-bu-chad-nez-zar” and “Sen-nach-e-rib” and “Abel-beth-ma-a-cah”. My favorite is from Isaiah 8:1 & 3- “Ma-her-shal-al-hash-baz” (could you imagine naming your son “Mahershalalhasbaz”?) Today’s featured character has an unusual name- a real “tongue-twister”- “Me-phi-bo-sheth” (say that 3 times fast!) His name means “exterminator of the shameful one.” Mephibosheth was a special person, a son of Jonathan, David’s special, loyal friend. David made a covenant with Jonathan (a “binding agreement”), and along with that covenant, there was a promise that David gave to Jonathan- 1 Samuel 20:15- that he would “not cut off his kindness to the house of Jonathan forever.”
David always showed that kindness to his entire house. He went out of his way to prove his loyalty to Jonathan’s father, King Saul. He protected his family as far as possible. After Saul’s death, David was anointed king, and he took the throne- and, his house and his support grew stronger. And, Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, also took the throne- and, his house and his support grew weaker. The result was civil war. Even then, because of David’s respect for King Saul and his love for Jonathan, David went out of his way to try to make peace, but it was impossible. Ishbosheth continued to fight David, but he was defeated and killed.
After the civil war was over, David remembered that he had made a covenant of friendship with Jonathan and with his family. And, so, he searched for members of Jonathan’s family to bless and make good on his covenant. Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, was introduced- 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.” Mephibosheth had a life of much hardship and suffering. When he was only 5 years old, he had received word that he had become an orphan-both his father and his grandfather had died. Not only that, but he had every reason to believe that he was the king’s enemy, and would be the next one killed. The usual practice at that time in the Middle East was that the new heir to the throne would take the entire family of the displaced king and have them put to death, to eliminate the possibility of any future opposition and rebellion.
1. Hard life
a. Born into the house of a prince of Jerusalem
b. Orphaned and crippled at age 5
c. Because of the civil war and fear for his own life he lived in fear
d. Lived in Hiding for years
2. We are like Mephibosheth
a. Born to royalty
b. Orphaned and crippled by sin
c. Hiding and running from God (Hebrews 10:27)
i. 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
ii. COL 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
d. We were in fear because of our condition.
3. Mephibosheth restored (2 Sam 9:1-11)
a. David remembered his covenant/promise with Jonathan
b. He was kind to a crippled boy.
c. He invited him to forever live in the house of the KING
d. He invited him to come to the TABLE.
4. WE are invited to the TABLE
a. God made a new covenant in Jesus Christ
b. This covenant gives us mercy and grace where we deserve death
c. WE are invited to this table every time we come together and take the Lord’s Supper.
Mephibosheth had to receive new clothing. We must be clothed in Christ
Mephibosheth had to respond to the invitation. We must respond to HIS.
And, you like Mephibosheth may be asking the Lord, “Why me?” Perhaps your troubles have made you spiritually lame. You cannot walk in the Lord the way you used to. Your support systems are broken. Your spirit, your life is out of joint. Maybe you wonder if God has become your enemy. You fear Him. You are awed by His power. And, so, in your helplessness, you are running from Him, fleeing from His presence. Like Adam in the garden, you have said to the Lord, “I heard you in the garden, Lord- but, I was afraid…so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10) In other words, “I was ashamed, Lord. I was lame and out of joint and I fear you. I have no business being in your presence.”