Summary: This message deals with the tragedy, and triumph of Mephibosheth....the crippled prince !
The Crippled Prince
I. The Grief Suffered.
Mephibosheth had royal blood flowing through his veins. He was the Grandson of Saul the King of Israel, and the son of the heir apparent Jonathan. He was born and being brought up in regal splendor at the palace. He had everything that a little boy could need. The best in clothing, the best in play things, the best of food. There was never any lack for anything in the palace where Mephibosheth lived. And oh...what a future he had. I would imagine that the family talked about Mephibo when he was born, and what a beautiful child he was, and how that one day he would make a great king.
His future all laid out.....a fine life......the best ! However all of that changes when Mephibosheth is only five years old.
Let’s look at the tragic circumstances that would change the future for Mephibosheth.
First of all we see.....
I. The Crown..... He Would Not Wear.
At five years of age....Mephibosheth is growing fast.....into everything. He has his own Nanny to look after him, and to make sure he doesn’t get into too much. One day as Mephibo is running and playing in the palace.....perhaps aggravating the palace guards. A chariot approaching from the distance flying through the palace gates......the news spreads quickly......Mephibo is startled by people screaming and running through the palace. "You must leave at once" he hears. Mephibo is frightened. The plans for his life have been shattered.
The palace will only be a memory. The crown will never be placed upon his head ! The throne he want occupy ! The awful news is that his grandfather, and father....Saul and Jonathan have both been killed. The kingdom was to be ruled by another......the palace occupied by another......the crown worn by another. His nanny scoops him quickly up into her arms, and begins to run.....they must get away quickly.....they must hide. He want be safe here.....because the custom of those times was that if someone took over the kingdom...he would destroy all of those found which are of royalty.
Next we see Mephibo becomes..
II. The Cripple.....He Could Not Walk.
As the Nanny runs with Mephibosheth clutched in her arms......screams all around her.....she trips, and Mephibosheth falls from her arms. Both of his legs are crushed in a tragic accident. There is no time for proper medical treatment. If their lives are to be spared, they must leave at once. Mephibosheth would never walk again.......it may have been that the injuries were too serious or perhaps because of the inability to seek proper medical treatment.....but for whatever reason Mephibosheth will never be able to walk again.
What a tragic set of circumstances for a five year old to have to endure........his father, and grandfather both dead.....having to flee from his home the palace.....and now crippled for life !
And now Mephibosheth becomes....
III. The Castaway......He Had No Worth.
They had managed to escape.
But where do they escape to.....where will they go ? They are now practically homeless. In one moment living up in the palace, and the next a exile. Mephibosheth has to be hidden....but where ? They finally find safe haven in a place called Lo-debar which is translated "no pasture" and also "no thing". It is a barren, bleak wilderness area ! From the beauty of the palace and all the extravagant surroundings to a place where there is not even pasture to feed animals. But at least he is safe, and is provided for.....I wonder though how many times.....Mephibo lay upon his bed, and looked down at his crippled legs, and thought about running through the floors of the palace......so beautiful and clean that he could see his face in them.....I wonder how many times he looked out the window at the barreness surrounding him and thought about what might have been. He is now crippled, and confined. He cannot even return to Jerusalem out of fear !
Many years pass by, and it is possible that during these days that Mephibo married and had a son. How many times he must have told his son the story !
II. The Grace Supplied.
1. He’s Invited To The Palace.
Mephibosheth can see in the distance the dust raised from approaching horses, and chariots. Fear seizes him.....is it possible that after all these years....they have finally come to get me ! He calls for all of his family to come in the house !
A knock at the door......a voice calling out......Mephibosheth......hey.....I recognize that voice......It’s Ziba ! He once served my family in the palace. I wonder what he wants after all this time. Mephibo...I have great news.....King David wishes to see you at the palace.
Good news......you call that good news. My grandfather hated him, and tried to kill him many times.......Ah...but you’re forgetting something Mephibo....Your father, and the King were the best of friends....and King David wants to keep a promise that he made to your father many years ago.