Summary: The story of Mephibosheth is a perfect illustration of the Gospel. I used this sermon on a "Friend Day" when we expected many visitors.
A. Today I want to tell the story of a man named Mephibosheth.
1. Now there’s a name for you! Anyone want to use that name for their son?
2. It’s so hard to pronounce that I thought about giving him a nickname for today.
3. I thought about just calling him “M.”
4. Then I thought about “Fib,” but didn’t think that would work.
5. “Bo” sounded pretty good.
6. “Sheth” didn’t do much for me.
7. But I guess even though it is a bit of a tongue-twister, I’ll just call him by his full name.
I. His Story
A. Mephibosheth’s story is found in the Old Testament portion of the Bible, in the book of 2 Samuel.
B. The story goes something like this:
1. One day there was a knock on Makir’s front door.
2. Makir went to answer the door and there stood Ziba, a servant of the former King Saul, with an authoritative look on his face.
3. Bluntly, He told Makir the news: "King David wants to see Mephibosheth NOW!"
C. I’m sure all of us remember King David.
1. He’s the same David who killed Goliath the giant, then grew up to be the 2nd King of Israel and then got in trouble with Bathsheba.
2. What Mephibosheth didn’t know was that many years before David became king, Jonathan (Mephibosheth’s father) was David’s dearest friend.
3. In fact, Jonathan and David were so loyal to each other that they made a covenant together.
4. They promised that no matter what happened they would always look after each other’s families.
D. Not knowing any of that, Mephibosheth, now an adult, trembled at the news.
1. Finally, after all of these years, king David had found him, and now his life too was going to end!
2. His fear was not for himself alone, but also for Mica, his own son.
3. And his fear was likely mixed with another feeling: "It’s not fair, It’s just not fair!"
E. Mephibosheth was right. Life had not been fair to him.
1. Oh, His life had started out great. His father was prince Jonathan, and his grandfather was King Saul, the first king of Israel.
2. He was royalty and royalty had many privileges.
3. Back then he even had a royal name "Mirab Baal" meaning "opponent of Baal." Baal was a false, pagan god.
4. But now his name was different. Mephibosheth meant "Son of Shame." His name was changed all because of what happened that one day many years ago.
5. When he was a little boy, just 5 years old, a man, bloodied and exhausted from battle, ran into the palace gates and yelled out: "King Saul and his sons are dead!" "King Saul and his sons are dead!"
6. The same cold chill that he now felt ran through his body that day, many years before.
7. Back then he did not understand it all, but suddenly the palace became a place of panic.
8. Wives wept, servants were white with fear.
9. Mephibosheth remembered how his nurse came running up to him with a few things in her hand and she yelled: "RUN Mirab Baal - Run for your life!"
10. He didn’t understand, but he ran with her as hard as he could. But his five-year-old legs could only go so fast and so far.
11. In desperation, his nurse picked him up and with Mirab Baal in her arms, she ran, but something caused her to loose her hold on the boy, and he flew out of her hands and in the fall became crippled.
F. And so, on the day that his dad Prince Jonathan died, and his grandpa King Saul died. Mirab Baal’s life changed for the worse.
1. His nurse took him to Lo Debar, an obscure town a long way from the capital, and his name was changed from Mirab Baal to Mephibosheth, after all who would be interested in a person with a name like that - "Son of Shame."
2. He had to live the rest of his life without his father and with a severe disability – whenever he is mentioned in the Bible from then on, his disability is mentioned as well.
3. He lived there in hiding, because being part of the defeated royal family meant that he was also an enemy of the state.
4. He would have been a potential rival for the kingship – the sort of person Saul’s supporters would have rallied round in opposition to David, the new king.
5. And so, for many years he lived there in secrecy, being cared for by others.
G. But now, on this day there was a surprise at the door: “King David wants to see Mephibosheth!”