The Bare Soul - June 15, 2008
The King's Kindness

II Samuel 9:1-8 - Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, (that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you (Ziba?" And he said, "I am your servant." The king said, "Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet." So the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar." Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, "Mephibosheth." And he said, "Here is your servant!" David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly." Again he prostrated himself and said, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"

The story of Mephibosheth (pronounced Mah-fib-o-sheth) is a remarkable one. We are introduced to this son of Jonathan, grandson of Saul in II Samuel 4:4:

Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son crippled in his feet He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

This is the first mention, but as we read in the opening scripture, it is not the last. We can only assume that Mephibosheth probably led a life of privilege as the king's grandson until that fateful day. The lad was too young to realize the implications that were transpiring all around him. At five years old, it would be hard to grasp the idea that your father and grandfather were both dead, and the kingdom that you would one day rule was being given to another. One might conjecture that his father, Jonathan, had more than once told his young son of his valiant friend, David. However, on this day, a two-edged sword of fear undoubtedly struck the servants of Saul's household. One, that the Philistines might overrun the house of Saul and murder everybody within, or two, that David might do the same since it was evident that God was giving him the kingdom. As this fear seized Saul's servants, the nurse ran with the lad and he fell thereby causing the accident which made him a cripple for life.

Several years later, we find David inquiring whether anyone is left of his friend Jonathan's household, that he might show mercy toward? Most likely, when Mephibosheth was notified that King David wanted to see him he thought, "Now, he is going to kill me and be done with the house of Saul!" It was undoubtedly a tense and worrisome journey to Jerusalem to appear before the King.  When Mephibosheth is brought in to David's presence, David immediately puts the young man at ease by telling him to fear not, that he desires to show him kindness for the sake of his father Jonathan. Then, Mephibosheth says something remarkable: What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me? David goes on to comfort the young man and to restore to him the fortunes of his family, and to give him a seat at the king's table for the rest of his life.

This is a wonderful metaphor regarding the life of a sinner in the hands of a merciful God. In truth, Adam was our "nurse" that caused our "falling" into sin. Every man, woman, and child is a cripple without Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not. Many continue throughout life until death not knowing or caring that they are crippled by sin. They have no understanding that their heritage began long ago as sons and daughters of the Most High, but because of Original Sin and its consequences, they have been reduced to crippled paupers. I started this writing by stating this is a remarkable story. It is remarkable in that Mephibosheth is an archetype of those of us who have come to the end of ourselves -- who see that we are spiritually and morally bankrupt and are cripples that have no ability to walk in newness of life by our own accord. King David, the archetypal Christ, is portrayed as the one who extends mercy to one that has acknowledged their own unworthiness to receive anything of goodness from the hand of the King. Jesus Christ is the one who extends the scepter of life to us, as David did to Mephibosheth, restoring us to our rightful place as heirs of the Most High God.

It is quite easy to take for granted what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross, transforming our lame spiritual legs with the ability to walk in newness of life. I have often meditated on this fact while out on one of runs. That God has given me the ability to run and enjoy the gift of my legs to carry me about is a wonderful thing. I have often related it to the wonderful gift of salvation how both are not to be taken for granted. Then, I think about the tens of millions throughout the world that are crippled and in need of a means of mobility other than dragging themselves through daily life. Just possibly, if they can experience the kindness and generosity of others through organizations like The Free Wheelchair Mission, then maybe they will see Jesus Christ in those who have made it possible for them to experience mobility for the first time in their lives. We too, like King David, have the ability to extend the "scepter of life" to the crippled throughout the world. It just takes caring enough to say, "Yes, I want to change someone's life forever by giving what I can to restore a life and to show the Living God through a simple act of kindness like giving."

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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The following is a message titled "The King's Kindness" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on June 12, 2008. This group of approximately 80 homeless ndividuals contributed $21.86 that night toward a $48.35 wheelchair to make someone in the world mobile.

The King's Kindness
The Story of Mephibosheth and the King

"Open Your Eyes" PowerPoint Show
The World's Crippled and the Gift of Mobility

 

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