Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
In the midst of recounting David’s role as king of Israel in 2 Samuel, there is a remarkable story; a beautiful picture of the gospel. Here is the passage beginning in chapter 9.
“And David said, ‘Is there still 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 as Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’ And he said, ‘I am your servant.’ And the king said, ‘Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?’ Ziba said to the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.’”
As the story unfolds, David sends for Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. When Mephibosheth arrives, he falls at David’s feet, aware that his grandfather had been David’s enemy and that he had no right to expect any good thing from the king. And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” To Mephibosheth’s great surprise, David restores all the land of Saul to him and gives him a permanent seat at his table. Why did David do this? Simply because of the covenant that he had made with Jonathan (1 Sam. 18:3; 20:42) I wonder what triggered the memory of that covenant and caused David to search for a way to show kindness so someone for Jonathan’s sake?
Do you see the immediate similarities between Mephibosheth and us? One who was an outcast, a cripple and alienated from the king was invited to the king’s table and given a seat among royalty. In an instant, Mephibosheth was granted undeserved status and the promise of life-long provision. Hasn’t God done that with us? Many passages in Scripture say as much, and it is certainly not because of our own goodness or qualifications that mercy was extended to us. Rather, it is on account of Jesus that God shows us kindness.
Then, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to find another lesson in the text. David remembered his covenant with Jonathan. There had been a bond of deep affection between the two. As Scripture describes is, theirs was a love surpassing that between a woman and a man. Jonathan had been killed in battle years earlier and maybe David was feeling the loss. Whatever the case, something stirred David’s heart to find a way to honor the covenant that he and Jonathan had made. David wanted to find someone to whom he could show kindness for Jonathan’s sake.
Have you every struggled to find ways to tell Jesus how much you love him; how grateful you are for the covenant of grace he has made with you? Perhaps today I might stop and think about how to demonstrate kindness to someone, be it my wife, a neighbor, or even someone who feels alienated and undeserving; someone to whom I can show kindness for the sake of Christ.
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