Focus – The Kindness of the King

In 2 Samuel 9:1-13 we are given a wonderful glimpse into the kindness of King David towards Mephibosheth, a relative of Saul, who he treated as his own. This kindness is very much indicative of the kindness of King Jesus towards His own. In Samuel’s account we find King David inquiring “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” It would have been customary for a new king to exclude anyone remaining from the family line of the previous king, especially a king who had been as fierce an enemy as Saul had been to David. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan, the grandson of Saul. Mephibosheth was lame on his feet, due to an acci- dental fall when he was just five years old (2 Samuel 4). He was of no seeming practical use to anyone around him, especially the new king. In fact, Mephibosheth considered himself to be only a “dead dog” (2 Samuel 9:8). Yet, in spite of the custom of the land, and the condition of lame Mephibosheth, King David reached out and brought Mephibosheth into his very presence and provided him with a place at the king’s table and an inheritance. The final verse in the chapter reads as follows: “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”

There are a number of principles that are in force in this text. They are principles that truly apply to believers today.

  1. Our relationship to the King is based on a covenant: David had made a covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:3). Our salvation is based upon the New Covenant that our King has inaugurated in His death and resurrection (Mat. 26:26-28). The basis for both of these covenants is
    love and grace.
  2. Our reality before the King is one of lameness: Just as lame Mephibosheth, from Saul’s kingdom, had been given entrance into David’s kingdom, to sit at his table, so has our God brought believers, in all of our spiritual lameness, into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col.1:13).
  3. Our response to the King must be that of humility and loyalty: When Mephibosheth heard the words of King David he responded by bowing himself before the king and uttering a statement of absolute humility. He knew that the king’s kindness far exceeded anything that he deserved. Further, in chapters 16-19 we read of David’s departure from Jerusalem and of Mephibosheth’s loyalty as he remained faithfully preoccupied with the return of his king. So too should our response be one of utter humility and loyalty. Those who best appreciate God’s mercy are those who having accepted the invitation of King Jesus, and recognized the enormity of His kindness, look forward to His coming (1 Tim. 1:12-17; 6:14-16).

Post By: Keith McMahon, NBBI Faculty

This article appears in the March 2011 Open Bible Bulletin.

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