abandoned, slandered, and totally satisfied

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Before David was king of Israel, Saul was. Saul’s son Jonathan was David’s best friend, and David promised to always care for Jonathan’s family. Eventually Saul and Jonathan both die, and David is made king.

In 2 Samuel 9, David finds out that Jonathan has a crippled son named Mephibosheth. David sends for him and gives him all the property that belonged to Saul. He also welcomed him to eat at his table — the king’s table in the palace.

This is not standard procedure. It would have been totally normal for David to kill off everyone who was related to Saul to protect his kingdom (and his life) from their revolt. Instead, David chooses to show grace and mercy and love to Mephibosheth. Not because Mephibosheth has anything to offer him – as someone crippled in both feet, he couldn’t work, fight, or serve David. David, out of his goodness, literally grants Mephibosheth a new life.

If we stop right there, this story is pretty sweet. But it gets better.

Fast forward. One of David’s sons is trying to steal the kingdom from David, and David gets out of Jerusalem to find safety. Eventually the situation is diffused, and David returns to Jerusalem. When he gets back, Mephibosheth comes to meet him. Here’s how the conversation goes:

“Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” David asked him.

Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled. Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best. All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”

“You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”

“Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”

2 Samuel 19.25-30

David thought Mephibosheth had abandoned him, and so he gave all of Mephibosheth’s land to Ziba, his servant. However, this conversation shows us the truth: Ziba has abandoned Mephibosheth (in the midst of war!), has slandered his name, and as a result took possession of everything Mephibosheth owned.

When David learns the truth, he decides to split the land between Ziba and Mephibosheth. The response of Mephibosheth is what blows me away:

“Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”

All Mephibosheth wants is to be in the presence of David again. Why? Because he understands that apart from David, his life is worthless. He knows that apart from David’s kindness, he would be poor or dead. But because of David’s intervention in his life, his whole life has changed – he has favor and safety and a place at the king’s table. 

Mephibosheth doesn’t want or need anything. He only wants David’s presence.

What an awesome picture of how I should feel about Jesus. Apart from him I’m dead. Because of him I’m alive. My whole life has changed. I have favor and safety and a place at the King’s table. What else matters? I don’t need anything else, except to spend time in his presence. I am not always good at this, but I’m learning.

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About sarah knepper

Discipleship (getting to invest in younger people). Leadership development (helping other people learn how to cast vision and move others toward it). Real community (living life with people who encourage and challenge me). Understanding how Jesus wants to use those things to reach people through his Church. That's what I love.

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