One of the most precious and important pictures of God’s grace, mercy and salvation involves a man that most people…including most Believers…have never heard of.
The man I am referring to is named Mephibosheth…and if you know who he is…give yourself extra credit. Most folks have never heard of him and as such…have never heard how much he…is very much like us.
Mephibosheth is first introduced to us in the Book of 2nd Samuel. It is an interesting introduction. We are told a few very important facts about this man.
He was grandson to the first King of Israel, Saul. This fact, of course, put him in the direct line of succession to the throne of Israel…a very important point to remember.
Another important point is that the Bible goes to great lengths to tell us not only that Mephibosheth was cripple…but also how he became crippled. Upon hearing that both Saul and Saul’s son (and Mephibosheth’s father) Jonathan had been killed…Mephibosheth’s nurse was in such a hurry to whisk him away from danger that she dropped him and crippled him. But this is not the last we hear of Mephibosheth.
Sometime after David succeeded Saul as King of Israel, he made an interesting but not altogether unusual request. He asked if there were any of Saul’s relatives still alive.
If you know anything about royal succession as it has been portrayed throughout history, you know that it was not uncommon for Kings to seek out and remove anyone who might have a legitimate claim to throne upon which they sat.
So it would be easy to assume that this was the aim of David when he sought any of Saul’s heirs. After all…Mephibosheth had a legitimate claim to the throne. He was the former King’s only living male heir. And David was not related to Saul at all. But securing his power was not on David’s mind…at all.
The reason for David’s search for Saul’s heir? “I want to show him kindness” is the answer we get in 2nd Samuel chapter 9. As a result, messengers are sent out to seek for relatives of Saul…and they are led to…Mephibosheth. After the messengers summon him to the palace…Mephibosheth goes willingly…but not unafraid.
And why should he not be afraid? He was the only living heir to the King…the only person left with a legitimate claim to the throne. On top of that he was a cripple…and many people in that time period were considered outcasts for that reason alone. And so…he arrives at the palace…falls on his face before David…and braced himself for the worse.
David’s first three words? “Do not fear”. He then tells Mephibosheth “I will show you kindness…I will restore all of Saul’s land to you…and you shall eat at my table from now on.”
Mephibosheth is floored: “Who am I…a dead dog…that you would look on me this way”? He didn’t deserve any of this… so, why?
Mephibosheth was an enemy of David’s…simply by virtue of being born. He was a nobody…an outcast…a cripple. Does any of this sound familiar?
Mephibosheth is us. We are born into sin…and as a result the Bible says we are “enemies” of God…we are not His friends. We are cripples…we are crippled by the sin that impacts and controls every aspect of our lives. And though we should be rightfully afraid…as Mephibosheth was afraid…in being called in front of the King…we too, if we are His children, will hear the words: Do not fear.
He will show us kindness…He will show us love…He will show us grace…and He won’t stop there. He will invite us to His table. Think about that…He will invite His enemy…one who does not deserve to be there…one who is an outcast cripple…to eat at His table…as His child.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions…if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to Myself. That where I am…you may be also.” How cool is that?
I am Dr. Danny Purvis, on behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at The Growth Project…keep reading God’s Word.
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project with Robert Houghton after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in Winter Haven, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.