Scripture: (2 Sam 9:8 NKJV)  Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”

Observation: As he had promised his friend Jonathan, David was looking to show his love and kindness to a surviving member of the royal family.  The only one left was Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, who was lame because in escaping his nursemaid dropped him and his feet were probably broken.  While he was afraid at first, eventually David’s kindness won him over and he ate at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

Application: I have liked this story ever since I first read it, not only because it is a story of brotherly kindness but also because it is an allegory of God’s plan of salvation for us.  I preached a sermon about it and want to share its highlights.  Notice the beautiful parallels:

1. Mephibosheth was lame on his feet. vs.3
     2 Sam. 4:4 describes how he became lame in both feet.  In Jewish minds, any kind of disease or deformity was the direct result of that person’s sin, so Mephibosheth’s crippling state was viewed as happening as a result of his sin.  When you think of it, Sin has crippled us.  To me it is amazing to think that while everything in the royal palace must have looked nice and neat, King David wanted to bring in a crippled man – symbol of sickness and sin – and all just for the sake of his friend Jonathan.  Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He said,  (Matthew 9:12 NIV)  “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

2. Dead Dog . . . . vs.8
Let’s pick up the story in 2 Samuel:  6When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan (who was the son of Saul), came before David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David. David spoke his name: “Mephibosheth.” “Yes sir?” 7“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.” 8Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?”
     Mephibosheth was obviously more than surprised – he was shocked.  You might say that his self-concept had hit rock bottom.  Just imagine, if all your life you grew up believing that you were crippled because God was punishing you for your sin, how would you feel?  Well, Mephibosheth felt so low, he though of himself as no more than a stray dog, worse yet, a dead dog.  The grandson of a mad, sinful, egotistical king who had tried to kill David before.  A crippled man in a society that considered him an outcast.

3. His Name
     Even his name tells us something of who or what he was.  In fact, he had two names.  1 Chronicles 8:44 tells us his name was Merib-baal. – which means “Baal is my lawyer.”  Baal was the pagan god of the Canaanites.  His name declared that Baal, the pagan god, was his attorney.  His name was so embarrassing to him that it was changed to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:6), which means shame.

4. Where he live.
     If that were not enough, even where he lived was bad.  The story tells us that he lived in a place called Lo-Debar (vs.4).  In the Hebrew language, Lo means No, and Debar means nothing.  Lo-Debar, literally means No-Nothing, and what it really is and it describes is a place that is worse than nothing.  The prophet Amos wrote of this place:  (Amos 6:13 NKJV)  “You who rejoice over Lo Debar, Who say, “Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves By our own strength?”” The Living Bible renders this text:  (Amos 6:13 TLB)  “And just as stupid is your rejoicing in how great you are when you are less than nothing–and priding yourselves on your own tiny power!”
     You see what this passage is saying?  Lo-Debar was not only nothing, but less or worse than nothing.  Isn’t that a fair description of our world today?  The more we think we’re making it better, the worse it seems to get!  The more we try to fix it with technological advances, the more we ruin it.
     This man’s condition is worthy of the intensive care unit in God’s hospital. . . . He was lost, he was crippled by sin, he had no social status, because an ex-royalty is no royalty at all, he had a shameful name, descriptive of his situation, and he was living in a place that was worse than nothing.  And yet, it was to him – lost, crippled, sick, shameful Mephibosheth from Lo-Debar, that David, the King, wanted to show kindness.  In fact, what exactly did David want him to enjoy?

5. Return of his father’s land – vs.7
7“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul.

Genesis 1:28 and 2:15 tell us that the Lord put man in the Garden of Eden to tend it, to care for it, to be his home, but we also know that when Adam chose to disobey God he lost what God had given him.  Later, God promised Abraham that he would inherit the promised land and through him the promise has been passed to the remnant of all the ages.  Jesus Himself confirmed that promise,  (Matthew 5:5 NKJV)  “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”  Paradise, given to Adam and his descendants, was lost at the Fall, but will be returned to them at the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth.

6. Eat at the King’s Table Continually. v.7.
7Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.”

King David, a type of Christ, didn’t see in Mephibosheth a crippled, outcast person, a person living in a dump and with a name that was not worth repeating.  He saw a child of THE KING – one who deserved, not of his own merit, but because of a promise to his father, to be treated like royalty.
    Think of it – WE ARE THAT MEPHIBOSHETH!  Living in this filthy planet – filthy because we have made it so.  A planet that has gone so bad that one day the Lord will have to clean it completely with fire so that no trace of what we now know and see of it will remain.
     We are that Mephibosheth!  Crippled by sin so that, as Paul would declare with frustration,  (Romans 7:15 TLB)  “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to–what I hate.”
     We are that Mephibosheth!  with a shameful name.  Jesus said that every time we lie, Satan becomes our “prosecuting Attorney.”  But it’s not what we are, but what he sees in us, and what we can become in Jesus, that concerns Him.  And to us, He promises that He will come back for us so that we may live in His House (John 14:1-3), that we will inherit the earth – purified and made new – restored so that it’s as good as new, like it was when God created and gave it to Adam and Eve (Revelation 21:1-4), that we become children of God, not slaves and outcasts (Galatians 4:7), that we receive a new name (Revelation 2:17)
     Now, I want you to think about this.  Mephibosheth could have refused.  And in the same way, God doesn’t force us to accept His free gifts for us.  In fact, today, many refuse, reject God’s free gifts.  Maybe they feel they’re not worthy.  Maybe they feel they have sinned too much, too often, in too many ways.  Maybe they feel they’ve gone too far for God’s grace to reach them.  Read these words:  There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loves you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that has begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance. {SC 64.1}

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You for Your plan to save us, as sinful and wicked as we may be.  We accept Your grace and forgiveness, and by faith we claim Your gift of salvation and our new status as sons and daughters of the King of the universe.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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