[Apr 20]--Kindness of a Stranger

2 Sam. 9:1-13

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best characteristics David exhibited was his loyalty to his friends, and that’s certainly on display here. What you need to keep in mind is how unusual today’s story was. Most often, once a man ascended to the throne, one of his first pieces of business was to hunt down all the relatives of his predecessor and kill them, especially any male descendants. In fact, this was considered standard procedure, since every relative of the last king (especially a son) was a potential threat.

But David and Jonathan had made specific promises to each other, even going so far as to make a covenant of peace. David had also promised Saul not to wipe out his descendants, but this went much further than that. In the memory of his fallen friend, David sought out a descendant of Saul, preferably a child of Jonathan, on which to shower kindness. Considering the standard procedure, we can thoroughly understand why Mephibosheth was terrified and tried to “suck up” to the king in hopes of having his life spared. Not only was he not killed, but he was elevated to a permanent place of honor before the king. The king also took care to make sure his property was restored, and put Ziba in charge of it. Just to bring the image home even further, the writer says that Mephibosheth "ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons." Basically David was treating him as if he was adopting him into his own family.

It’s a very touching and beautiful story, but it has a deeper meaning for us as Christians. I’ve repeatedly pointed towards the fact that we sometimes suffer for the bad decisions that others make, since we need to accept that as part of life in a sinful world. But we also benefit from the decisions of others as well. I enjoy the blessings of being an American because others were willing to risk--and even give up--their lives. On an infainitely greater scale, every Christian can relate to the concept. I think that Mephibosheth is a wonderful illustration of who we are as believers.

Like him, we deserve nothing from the King. In fact, we have every reason to expect the death penalty. But he shows us grace and kindness beyond our wildest dreams and fantasies. He welcomes us with open arms, honors us far above what we deserve, and gives us a permanent place by his side at his table. He restores our inheritance, and makes sure that we're well provided for. And all of this because of Another.

Father God, you're so good to me. Grace defines every aspect of how you treat me. You take a “dead dog like me” and adopt me as your child. Thank you.

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