Summary: Initiate kindness. Kindness transforms. We are all Mephibosheth before God. Let the kindness of God flows through us.
Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear, and the blind can see (Mark Twain). You don’t have to say it, people know when it is there.
• Kindness is more than just loving people. It is loving people more than they deserve. Kindness is ‘going the extra mile’. It is grace in action.
We are going to see that today in 2 Samuel 9:1-13 [read]
David now enjoys rest from all his enemies. The Kingdom is established. He has capable leaders overseeing the administration (8:16).
• David knows these are the result of God’s grace and blessing in his life.
• While enjoying God’s goodness, David remembers Jonathan, his good friend, and asked (9:1) “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?”
David had made a covenant with Jonathan – 1 Sam 20 when Jonathan helped him escape.
• 1 Sam 20:15-17 – Jonathan said, “…do not ever cut off your kindness from my family - not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth. 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD call David's enemies to account." 17And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
• It was also a promise David made to Saul, when he spared his life and Saul said (1 Sam 24:21-22): “Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family." 22So David gave his oath to Saul.
Saul and Jonathan both died in the battle against the Philistines.
• No one is going to hold him accountable but David will honour his word. He took steps to find out if anyone is left in Saul’s household.
• He has only ONE reason for this – to show KINDNESS.
He stated this very clearly. In fact, this reason was said 3 times in this text:
• When he asked the question in the COURT (v.1) – “to whom I can show kindness”,
• To ZIBA Saul’s former servant (v.3) – “to whom I can show God’s kindness”, and
• Finally when MEPHIBOSHETH Saul’s grandson arrived (v.7) 0 “I will surely show you kindness”.
David was determined to SHOW KINDNESS. He initiated it. He wanted it. It was not in response to any need or any call for help.
• It was a promise he had made and he kept to it. No one is going to come after him for this, but this is what a man of integrity will do.
• In fact, David was likely touched by God’s kindness in his own life, because he says to ZIBA he wants to show God’s kindness (v.3).
• “God has been good to me, and I want to share His blessings with Saul’s house.”
We don’t usually initiate acts of kindness. Most people show kindness only in RESPONSE to a need.
• David initiates KINDNESS. He was determined to do that. It flows out of the kindness of God he receives.
Such an act was actually quite exceptional in David’s time.
• In those days, when a regime or dynasty comes into power, the new King would want to solidify his position by purging the dethroned family.
• They would want to remove all possible threats to the throne, like what we often see in Chinese or Korean dramas set in ancient times of the dynasties.
But not so for David. He made an effort to locate the descendants of Saul’s house and found his grandson Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son.
• We first learnt of him in 2 Sam 4:4 “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.”
• He was crippled, living in obscurity and in poverty (most likely) in a remote place called Lo-Debar (distant East of Jordan, near the edge of Israel’s border).
• And he is lame, not in one foot but both feet (9:3, 13).
There was nothing this man could offer David. He was crippled, not in one foot but both feet. It would not benefit David in anyway, to have him in the palace.
• Mephibosheth himself said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" (9:8)
• To call himself a DOG is repulsive enough (for a Jew), but he said, DEAD dog. Unclean, contemptible and quite useless.
• David first words were: “DON’T BE AFRAID.” (9:7), naturally Mephibosheth was. Why would you even want me here?