Summary: David went further than only fulfilling his promise, between himself and the Late-Jonathan, in delivering Mephiboseth from Lodebar; he showed God's kindness by allowing Mephiboseth to sit and eat at the king's table for the rest of his life.
God is Kind
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “At your service,” he replied. The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from 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 lame in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “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.”
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’sa table like one of the king’s sons.
Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.
God is Kind
In describing the attributes of God, there are many characteristics that we could observe; we could look at His love, power and holiness. It is important to note that all these attributes, and many more, belong to God. But none of them describe the completeness of God alone. Herein todays’ focal scriptures, a narrative of God’s servant King David, we find yet another attribute of God: God is full of kindness.
You see, when David was a lot younger he was best friends with Saul’s son (Jonathan). And in
I Samuel chs. 18-20, Jonathan gave up his kingly inheritance to David, knowing that David was God’s choice, and covenants were made with David for David to remember him (to see after Jonathan’s descendants). And hear in II Samuel 9, we find David as king displaying the kindness of God, saying “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”. Thank God for kindness in a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
In our focal scripture, David is now the reigning King of Israel. The previous King – King Saul and his son Jonathan died in the war with the Philistines. They had a descendant, now an orphan, Mephibosheth. He was lame in both feet. 2 Sam 4:4 tells us why – “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.” And this crippled man now lives in a place called Lodebar.
Lodebar was a place “out of the way”, in a hilly displaced-hard to reach area, a place where the marginalized due to illnesses reside, people with deformities, fugitives of possibly undue-crimes (such as crimes instigated by poverty), and the societal misfits live there… in Lodebar. Mephiboseth, a lame man, orphaned son of Jonathan, now lives in Lodebar. But God’s kindness functioned through King David, and he was thinking aloud, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” And resultantly, Mephiboseth was brought to the king’s palace to live in Jerusalem and eat at the kings table for the rest of his life. In other words, through God’s kindness through David, Mephiboseth was brought from the margins to the mainstream of life with dignity. Thank God for His kindness.
If the truth is told, God has brought many of us out the Lodebars of our lives. We now have nice homes. We now have food to eat and clothes on our backs. We now have a place to call home. And although we are crippled in many ways, we yet have transportation and family and a decent form of employment. For many of us we were brought out of the Lodebar of education, and we now have associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees… and certifications and licenses. God has been kind in that he brought us out so that many of us can live with dignity.