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Mephibosheth’s Grace

           “And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ And he answered, ‘Behold, I am your servant’” (2 Samuel 9:6).

After Saul died, David spent several years fighting against Ish-bosheth, Saul’s remaining son who had claimed the throne for himself. Eventually, he was victorious over Ish-bosheth, and the entirety of Israel was under his rule. Now he finally had time for peaceful activities. Long ago, he had made a promise to his friend Jonathan, Saul’s son, to remember Jonathan’s family when he himself became king. Though most of Saul’s line had perished, there was still one son of Jonathan left—Mephibosheth, a man who had been crippled from a young age. When David found out about him, he immediately summoned Mephibosheth to his court.

Mephibosheth must have been terrified as he entered the court. David had long been at war with Saul’s house, of which he was one of the last surviving members. Had David sent for him only to have him killed? He was crippled, so there was no way he could escape from anyone who intended harm towards him. All he could do was throw himself on David’s mercy. When he entered into the king’s presence, he fell at his feet, acknowledging that he viewed David as his ruler. Perhaps this would assuage David’s anger.

And then David called out to him. “Mephibosheth!” he said. Anxiety must have warred with excitement as Mephibosheth heard his own name from the mouth of the king. He assured David that he was his servant, but David didn’t seem to be interested in that. Instead, he began to list all the things he would give to Mephibosheth. He would give him kindness instead of judgement; he would give him all the land that had belonged to his grandfather; and he would give him a place at the king’s very own table. All because he was the son of Jonathan, to whom David had sworn everlasting friendship.

What an overturn of expectations! Anyone would have assumed David wanted to wipe out any possible rivals to his throne, but instead he restored the grandson of his chief enemy to a position of power. He gave him a seat at his own table, a position of utmost respect. Mephibosheth could do nothing but wonder in amazement at the grace of this unusual king.

This story, while beautiful in its own respect, is also an incredible picture of salvation. We are all hopeless sinners, enemies of God from the beginning of our lives. If ever we were to enter into His presence, we would have no right to expect anything but death. But He chases you down and brings you before Him, and all you can do is kneel before Him, drowning in the awareness that you have openly rebelled against a holy, just Ruler. But then, something happens. You hear your name. You know the only one who could have spoken it is the very God before Whom you have fallen. You look up at Him, and you are instantly bewildered by the love and joy in His face. He leans toward you, and then He tells you that He wants to show kindness to you, for the sake of His own Son Who willingly died for you. He then offers you a place at His table, where one day, all Who have accepted His gift will eat the wedding supper of the Lamb. And all you can do is wonder in amazement at the grace—the absolutely undeserved favor—of this magnificent King as you humbly, gratefully, joyfully accept the life He offers in place of the death you deserve.

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