Teacher: Bro. Willie Antiaye Interpreter: Bro. Emmanuel Anane Topic: The Story of Mephibosheth
Readings: 2 Samuel 9:1-13; Psalm 78:70-72 Micah 7:18, 1 Samuel 20:15-17, I Corinthians 15:21-22, II Corinthians 5:20.
MV: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and b ring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind” (Luke 14:21)
The record of David’s leniency and mercy to Mephibosheth, of the house of Saul, (Saul being David’s worst enemy) is a manifestation of what godly grace can do in the human heart.
David had suffered much because of King Saul; but now Saul was dead, and there were few left to oppose David’s ascension to the throne of Israel. After Saul’s death some of Saul’s family were assassinated by men who thought to do David a favor. Because of such deeds Mephibosheth was in fear of his life that he, too, would be assassinated. Fortunately for Mephibosheth, David was a servant of God, and the Spirit of the living God was the guiding influence in David’s life. Because David desired to honor God in his life, God had made him king, that Israel would be well ruled. (Psalm 78:70-72 70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands)
God said of Himself, “He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18). God proved this in David, because it was God’s influence in David’s life that caused him to extend mercy to Mephibosheth. David greatly glorified God in extending mercy and succor to Mephibosheth, and greatly proved the worth and caliber of his own character. (2 Samuel 4:10-12 10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: 11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? 12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron)
The crippled Mephibosheth is typical of fallen man and the restoration of his lost inheritance through the mercy and merits of another. Jonathan (Mephibosheth’s father) and David had made a covenant that when David was king he would not forget to show kindness to Saul’s house. David promised to do this, and he kept his promise. (1 Samuel 20:15-17 15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David everyone from the face of the earth. 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David’s enemies. 17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.)
Mephibosheth was not responsible for Saul’s sin, yet he suffered because of it. Likewise the human race, while not responsible for the sin of their father Adam, have suffered because of it. Mephibosheth was cut off from his inheritance, became an outcast, and lived in constant fear of reprisal from Saul’s enemies, all because Saul dared to defy God.
Mephibosheth’s name means “shame” and he was called also by yet another name, Merib-baal, which means “rebellion” (1 Chronicles 8:34 34 and the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.). It seems that Mephibosheth was a child of woe, even unto his name. How like the first man Adam! Adam sinned and the inheritance was lost, and he and all his house lost their heritage. Sin entered into the human heart, and the souls of men became warped and crippled from that sin. Men are under the sentenoe of death because of that first transgression, though they had nothing to do with it. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive)
We know it is God’s command and desire for sinful men to be reconciled to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20 20; Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.) Could not David have had this in mind, in addition to his promise to Jonathan, when he extended the mercy of his kingly office to Mephibosheth? From whom else comes the inspiration for such noble and pure deeds but from Him that giveth every good and perfect gift? The scarlet thread of God’s great plan of salvation ran through Jonathan’s life and inspired David who was his closest friend. That same scarlet thread runs through all of David’s life, and we see David reaching out to draw one more person with those cords of love.
Mephibosheth, exiled and condemned, is sought out by his king, for reconciliation. This is very similar to- the experience of the sinner, as he is sought out and found by the King’s messengers who desire to tell him the glad message of reconciliation. In the words of the Bible that message is expressed: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:19). Herein is revealed the wonderful love of God toward men, that though they are rebels, outcasts, and exiles, they can be reconciled to their Lord and King through the wonderful grace of God.
The King’s Table
David gave instructions that Mephibosheth was to sit at the king’s table and there he would eat of the king’s meat. This was the highest honor David could give him, and it proclaimed to all that Mephibosheth was under the protection of the king, and that whoever did violence to Mephibosheth insulted the majesty of the king himself. This very thing is repeated in the lives of those who accept the word of reconciliation from God’s messengers and are admitted to the Kingdom of God. God has proclaimed that we are to sit at His table with Him and to partake of His royal bounty. This truth is strongly presented in the parable of the Marriage Supper told by Jesus, and other Scripture passages. Jesus told that the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind were invited to the great feast of God. These various persons were typical of sinners who would accept the Gospel call. (Luke 14:16-24 16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.) Likewise, Jesus stated there would be an occasion when the Master would serve his servants: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” (Luke 12:37).
As Mephibosheth was invited to sit at the king’s table, not because of anything he had done to deserve such grace, but because of another’s mercy and righteousness, so it is with the sinner. There is nothing in a sinner that will gain an invitation to the free enjoyment of the great benevolence of God. It is because of another’s righteousness that the sinner is sought out by God, that other being no less than Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. Because of His merit God has extended His great invitation to the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind to come and partake of His great feast.
David restored to Mephibosheth all that had belonged to Saul and his house. His inheritance was regained; he was in favor with his king; and he became- as one of the king’s own sons. It is likewise true of those who receive the grace of God. All that has been taken from them is restored by the King’s command. They are given grace and mercy to fulfill their needs, and they are as the King’s own sons.
The Scripture verifies this: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). We read also: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:14-17).
From these passages of Scripture we get a glimpse of the marvelous kindness of God toward the race of men; and we can better understand what prompted David to extend the favor of his kingly office toward this crippled and helpless subject.
Jesus told the story of those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and gave succor to those who were imprisoned, and He commended them for having treated Him mercifully. When they questioned Him as to when they had had opportunity to treat Him thus, Jesus answered them, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). This answer has summed up the duty and privilege of every real child of God in his treatment of hit brothers and neighbors who are less fortunate than himself
David proved his sonship to God in that he fed him who was hungry, he remembered his promise and kept it, he restored the pledge that was lost, and he provided protection for the weak hands and feeble knees. So it is with God: He provides us with our necessary food, comfort for our souls, and gives us eternal life.