Summary: "Surprised by Grace" is an exposition of 2 Samuel 9 in which David reaches out in kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of his father, Mephibosheth. David's kindness is read as a parable of the amazing grace of God that saves unworthy sinners.

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2 Samuel 9

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell in your holy hill?” David begins Psalm 15 with these probing questions. The body of the psalm answers these opening questions. It describes that character and conduct of the person who pleases God. The last line of Psalm 15:4 states that a godly person is one “who swears to his own hurt and does not change.” He keeps his word even when it costs him. She keeps her promises no matter what. Godly people are promise keepers. David teaches that in Psalm 15. David exemplifies this in our text. 2 Samuel 9 is a part of what scholars call THE SUCCESSION NARRATIVE OF DAVID; a detailed account of Israel’s transition from Saul’s rule to the establishment of David’s reign. By 2 Samuel 9, David has accomplished great military victories and is enjoying peace, power, and prosperity. During this period, David lavishes kindness on a crippled man named Mephibosheth.

There are two seasons of life that test and reveal a person’s character: seasons of adversity and seasons of prosperity. This season of success clearly demonstrates that David was man after God’s own heart. I want us to look at David’s heart as revealed in his kindness to Mephibosheth, so that through it we might see God’s kindheartedness toward you and me. STEVE JONES comments: “Just as x-rays pass through the human body and reveal an accurate picture of the heart to the physician’s trained eye, there are some important ways in which the actions of David revealed the heart of God. We get some of those x-rays in the remarkable story of Mephibosheth.” 2 Samuel 9 is a historical event that functions as a parable to teach us that the grace of God is a wonderful surprise that is too good not to be true.

In his book What’s So Amazing About Grace, PHIL YANCEY writes of a friend who overheard a conversation on a bus one day. A woman was reading. And the man sitting next to her asked what she was reading. She told him. It was M. SCOTT PECK’S bestseller, The Road Less Traveled. The man asked what it was about. Admitting she had just begun the book, she answered by reading him the chapter titles from the table of contents. When she mentioned the section on “Grace,” the man interrupted and asked what grace was about. She replied, “I have gotten that far yet.”

The same thing can be said about the Bible. No matter how much scripture you read, study, or memorize; you have not gotten far into scripture if you do not know what grace is about. Without oversimplifying the message of this expansive library of sixty books, the bible is about the glory of the grace of God. It is everywhere in the Bible. And it is not boring grace. It’s always a wonderful surprise of amazing grace. In Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, God did not strike them dead on the spot (sparing mercy). And he clothed them in coats of skin to cover the guilt-induced shame of the nakedness (surprising grace). And throughout scripture, God keeps surprising us with grace. Of course, the biggest surprise of grace is the virgin birth, perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But David’s kindness to Mephibosheth illustrates the grace of God that seeks us, welcomes us, and enriches us through Jesus Christ.


2 Samuel 8 describes David as being in a place in his life where he did not need anything. But in 2 Samuel 9, the one who did not need anything was searching for something: SOMEONE TO SHOW COVENANT KINDNESS TO. Verse 3 makes it clear that David understood that his kindness was a derivative of the kindness of God. In other words, David wanted to be kind in order to imitate God, who is a kindhearted sovereign, seeking and searching for someone to be gracious to. Because we can only see reality through the limited perspective of our personal experience, Christians often speak of conversion to saving-faith in Christ in terms of seeking God. But Romans 3:10-11 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Unrighteous people do not seek God. Every sinner does what the first sinners did. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God. And very unconverted sinner is a convicted fugitive on the run from divine justice who is only saved because of the personal missionary work of almighty God.

One day, an entire police force mobilized to catch a thief who had stolen an old, beat-up Volkswagen Bug. They even broadcast radio bulletins to find this suspect. These great efforts were made to catch this thief because the owner of the car informed the authorities there was a box of crackers in the front seat that he had laced with rat-poison to kill some rodents in his house. So the police desperately searched for the man, not to lock him up, but to save his life. That is how the grace of God operates. In Luke 19:10, Jesus says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

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Talk about it...

Pastor Jeff Hughes

commented on Mar 6, 2014

Brother, I'm studing the story of David and Mephibosheth to teach from the pulpit this coming Sunday, and read your sermon. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing your sermon is to me! I thank God for using you to tell the wonderful story of grace--and just remembering how amazing the grace of God really is--in this story of the crippled son of Jonathan. Thank you for being a faithful servant of God!

Chuck Patrick

commented on Jul 7, 2014

Excellent...THANK YOU for so passionately and skillfully handling the WORD!

Pat Damiani

commented on Jun 22, 2015

An excellent message. I'm preaching on this passage this week and have gleaned some good ideas to include in my message.

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