Whew! King David could finally catch his breath. He survived the attacks of the lion and the bear. He won the dust-up against Goliath. He managed to outmaneuver the murderous persistence of King Saul. He tight-roped through one adventure and misadventure after another. David prevailed in battles and more battles. He deeply grieved the loss of Jonathan, his BFF, the son of King Saul. He witnessed intrigue, betrayal and murder within his administration. But finally, “David reigned over all Israel; and David administered judgment and justice to all his people.” (2 Sam 8:15)
Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam 9:1) Upon investigation, the king found a son of Jonathan in Lo Debar. His name was Mephibosheth, who was lame in his feet. A brief look into his back-story revealed when this young man was five years old news of Saul and Jonathan’s death came, and his nurse picked him up and fled. But she dropped the boy, and he became lame in both feet. She took flight to protect the child because she thought the new king – David – would seek to kill him. (2 Sam 4:4)
For the same reason, Mephibosheth had remained in hiding for years. Now Mephibosheth had to appear before the great King of Israel, no doubt sure of his imminent demise. He lay prostrate, trembling in fear. So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” (9:7) The lame man then asked the mighty king before him, “Why should you look upon such a dead dog as I?”
Our pastor reminds us when reading scripture to identify the author and audience, and the overview and background of the text. We also must adhere to contextual accuracy and proper exegesis. He will often encourage us to inquire as to why God included a particular portion or verse or even a word within His great revelation to us. “Why is this here?” he asks.
When I inject “Why is this here?” to this story, one answer is it’s historical. There is a lot of history incorporated in the Bible’s pages. God wants us to know certain events on His timeline. Another would be this episode gives evidence to the kind of heart David possessed. Remember “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Sam 13:13-14) That is quite a compliment, and a characteristic we should all seek to emulate. God is saying in this story of David and Mephibosheth; this is a picture of My Grace, My Heart.
Might there possibly be another portrait here? Are we not Mephibosheth? Lame from the Fall, hiding from the King; sought out by Him, found by Him. Provided with a continual place at His table, not because of anything we have done for Him, but because of what He has done for us in the Son. Will we accept His generous offer? Those who do are seated as sons and daughters at the King’s table. We have access to the King and fellowship with the King now and forever.
Mephibosheth asked, “Why should you look upon such a dead dog as I?” Perhaps we are most like Mephibosheth right there. Nevertheless, the King pulls out a chair for us. I marvel at that. I just marvel.