Summary: Many of us willingly choose to live in spiritual, emotional, and physical poverty, but we are heirs to a great covenant between God and Abraham.
Middle Eastern people in the Bible, from Abraham to Paul, were as acquainted with covenants as we are with weddings. The Greeks and Romans did not have covenants. In fact, when the Jews translated the OT into Greek, they had to use the Greek word for “will” or “testament” to translate the Hebrew word for covenant. Since our society was shaped by Greek and Roman cultures, we don’t know much about covenants either.
However, as we learn about God and the covenants he made with people like Abraham, I expect us to experience a surge of faith. We will see who God is and what he can do in our lives when we understand covenants more clearly. So, think of areas where you perceive the need for a breakthrough. It could be an attitude or habit in your life, a broken relationship in your circle of loved ones or a problem in the church.
A covenant is a comprehensive agreement between two participants with clearly outlined boundaries and bonds; a mutual understanding between two people that voluntarily bind themselves to each other forever.
1. MEPHIBOSHETH HAD A DEVASTATING LIFE.
His life started in the palace of his grandfather, King Saul. Saul was ancient Israel’s first king. His son, Crown Prince Jonathan, was Mephibosheth’s father. The first five years of his life were fairly happy – even though King Saul was a paranoid egomaniac.
[1 Sam. 31:1-13] Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
[2 Sam. 4:4] Jonathan son of Saul had a son…. 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.
[2 Sam. 9:4] … He is at the house of Makir … in Lo Debar (means a place with no encouraging words)
Born a prince, dropped and crippled by his nanny, now he lives far from the palace, far from Jerusalem, far from encouraging words, supported by a generous humanitarian – MEPHIBOSHETH HAD A DEVASTATING LIFE.
2. YOU AND I HAVE TROUBLE IN OUR LIVES TOO.
We may not be crippled in our feet but others have crippled us in other ways. Hurtful, abusive statements from parents, brothers and sisters, as well as friends have twisted the way we see ourselves. We believed them when they say, "You can't do anything." We assumed they knew better than us when they said, "You're a loser." We are living in our “Lo Debars” – our places with no encouraging words.
The doctors’ diagnoses and prognoses limit our lives to sickness and we accept it as inevitable. They say words like, “terminal,” “incurable” or “hopeless” and we believe they know more than we do so we go on living in our “Lo Debars” – our places with no encouraging words.
Temptation and the lies of our culture have led us into sins and addictions that enslave us. People say we can by no means transform our lifestyles. “Once an addict always an addict.” “Liars and cheats never tell the truth.” “You will never change.” We hear the condemning words over and over, until we believe them and we go on living in our “Lo Debars” – our places with no encouraging words.
3. DAVID REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT WITH JONATHON AND MEPHIBOSHETH MOVED UP TO THE KING'S TABLE.
[1 Sam. 18:1] After David [killed the giant, Goliath] … Jonathan made a covenant with David…. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
[1 Sam. 20:1-42] [Later] David fled from [King Saul] and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? … How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”
“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, … without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me?”