Many of us are familiar with the basics of the story of David and what transpired before he became king. I would like to quickly sum up his story as the background for the message that I preached today at the Gospel Mission.
Saul was chosen as Israel's first king - but due to his rebellion against the Lord, he was told that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to a man after God's own heart. That man was David. Shortly after being anointed by the prophet Samuel, we find David fighting the giant Goliath and defeating him through faith in the Lord God. That victory earned him respect in the eyes of Jonathan, who possibly would have been the next in line to be king if Saul had not lost the kingdom. Instead of Jonathan being jealous of David, he stripped off his kingly robes and gave them to David. See 1 Samuel 18:1-4. A solid friendship started that would last years, even after Saul sought to kill David and David was forced to flee for his life. See 1 Samuel 23:16. While Jonathan was confirming his father's intentions toward his friend, knowing that if what David said was true, their houses would be perpetually at war with one another - he made a covenant with David to look out for the children of the other party if something should happen to one or the other. See 1 Samuel 20. Then in the course of time, Saul and some of his sons - including Jonathan - were slain in a battle with the Philistines.
It did not take long for the news of this loss to get back to the rest of the nation of Israel.
2 Samuel 4:4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
Here we see that Jonathan's son was lame because of a fall. He was living in exile, an enemy of the king. All his inheritance was lost - much like the Prodigal Son who lost all his inheritance through his sin, Mephibosheth lost his inheritance through the sin of Saul. Likewise, all of mankind has fallen into sin, through the rebellion of Adam and Eve - all of us are exiled, far from God, our inheritance lost and squandered.
2 Samuel 8:15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
2 Samuel 9:1-3 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
Notice what is stated here: what David was about to do for Mephibosheth was a clear example of the kindness of God toward the lost sinner! David - which means "Beloved" - offers kindness to his enemy because of a covenant made with another, because of Jonathan's sake (remember this). Christ is referred to as the Beloved in the Song of Solomon, and He offers us the kindness of God because of the covenant He has made with His Father in Heaven.
2 Samuel 9:4-5 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
King David sends for Mephibosheth, and he comes at the king's invitation. He received this invitation, though he expected the worst. Knowing that many kings in the surrounding nations often killed their rivals, he expected nothing but judgment...
And the same is true of us too: we are members of a rival kingdom - the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13) - serving a different king in opposition to the King of Kings, living in rebellion and exile, enemies of God (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:12), deserving nothing but judgment and the King's wrath (Ephesians 2:2-3). Like Mephibosheth, we are poor, destitute, crippled - not worthy of the least of God's mercies...
2 Samuel 9:6a Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence.
Here we see Mephibosheth's fear. Another verse gives us his thoughts at this time:
2 Samuel 19:28 For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
Jonathan's son, expecting to die, humbled himself before the king, and waited in fear for what was to come next...
But it wasn't what he expected at all!
2 Samuel 9:6b And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
In my mind, I picture this scene as one of compassion, of love, of tenderness. David, perhaps in a voice laden with emotion, speaks: "Mephibosheth, look up. I have something to tell you..."
2 Samuel 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
How often do we hear these words of comfort repeated over and over in Scripture - when God wants to send a message or get someone's attention, often the first words spoken are, "Fear not." Knowing that we would be fearful, He takes the fear away.
There are three things mentioned in this verse:
1) I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake.
Mercy offered because of a covenant made with another! David tells him because of the covenant made with Jonathan, he is offering mercy and grace to Mephibosheth. Here is the second name defined in this study: Jonathan means "the gift of God." Because of the gift of God, He can extend His mercy and grace to us! Because of the New Testament (Covenant) made between the Father and the Son, through the gift of salvation - through the gift of the Saviour - the Lord God offers His mercy and grace to us. In the New Testament of our Bible, we see this covenant fulfilled through Christ's death on the cross for our sins, through His burial and His physical resurrection after three days - because of this covenant, Christ offers us the gift of eternal life and reconciliation to the King of Kings!
Notice this covenant did not depend upon the worth of the recipient, but upon God's grace - God's unmerited favour. That is good, because none of us could ever deserve it. This grace is offered to all who will receive it through faith.
2) I... will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father.
The inheritance that was lost through sin was now to be restored! Restored because of the gift of God - God's free grace to the lost. Here Mephibosheth is promised back all that he lost through the fall and the taking away of his kingdom.
2 Samuel 9:9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.
Likewise, through the gift of salvation, God promises to restore what was lost when we lived in rebellion to Him:
Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
Now through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are made joint-heirs with Christ, and have an inheritance in Him.
3) Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
Fellowship with the king! Freely granted to an undeserving man. The opportunity to eat at the king's table - sitting with royalty, fellowshipping with the king as a close friend. That is what God offers fallen man through the gift of His Son - fellowship with the King of Kings, fellowshipping at His table:
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Notice Mephibosheth's humble response:
2 Samuel 9:8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
Who am I to deserve this great kindness? Who are we to deserve the kindness of God? Praise the Lord, it does not depend upon our worthiness, but upon His love!
But King David had one more thing he freely bestowed upon Mephibosheth:
4) 2 Samuel 9:11 As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.
Not only is Mephibosheth allowed to eat at my table, he is there as one of my sons! He was given the right to be there, because of the covenant made with another. King David took someone that was unworthy, and adopted him as one of his own sons. Even so, because of the New Testament that Christ has made, through faith in His shed blood and finished work upon the cross, we are given the right to be considered as one of God's sons too, to be adopted forever into the family of God!
Psalms 113:7-8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
The King of Kings is reaching down to lift up all those who will place their faith in Him - lift them up to sit with royalty, in the family of God!
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Have you trusted in Christ alone to save you, have you received the Saviour, and His free gift of eternal life? If so, John 1:12 is true of you too. There are two main thoughts I want to bring out from that verse:
1) The reason this verse says "sons" is because it was the sons that received the firstborn rights, that received the inheritance. Though you may be a son or a daughter of man, through faith God considers you His son - He gives you the right of the firstborn inheritance. You are now a joint-heir with Christ, if you have truly received Him as your Saviour. See Romans 8:14-17. You have the rights - the privileges - as a son of God.
2) God also gives those that trust in Him the power to live as sons of God. Before we trusted in Him, we were enslaved to our old masters, sin and Satan, but now those chains have been broken and we are given the power to live as a child of God.
Adopted, a child of the King, all the rights and privileges of sonship (our inheritance in Christ). Not worthy in ourselves - but worthy because of the love of God! No matter our past, no matter our background, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's love makes you worthy to be a child of God!
2 Samuel 9:13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.
Our study ends with Mephibosheth dwelling in Jerusalem - the City of Peace. All true believers dwell forever in peace with God. It is interesting to note that in eternity we will also dwell in the New Jerusalem. See Revelation 21-22.
One final point worth mentioning: Mephibosheth means "Destroying Shame." And that is what this passage is all about - King David taking away the shame and reproach of his enemy and making him his son; likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, bearing our shame and reproach, so that all who would receive Him and respond to His Gospel invitation would have their shame removed, and be raised up out of the dust and the dunghill and set with princes.
Have you received the Gospel call of our Beloved King? Have you received The Gift Of God? Lastly, has the Lord Destroyed your Shame and raised you up as His child and given you an inheritance fit for a king?
Preached and written October 21st/06
You may also appreciate these excerpts by Spurgeon on this same passage:
Raised Up With Princes