One of the reasons why I believe the Bible is the very word of God is because of the forensic evidence. When you read it, you find God’s fingerprints everywhere.
Case in point. The remarkable account of the kindness of King David shown to a young crippled boy name Mephibosheth. You can read the story for yourself in 2 Samuel 9. But here are the Cliffs Notes.
Mephibosheth was the son of David’s long time friend Jonathan. That means he was the grandson of the previous king, King Saul, who for years hunted David and sought to kill him. The Bible says that after both Saul and Jonathan had died, David asked one of his servants “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
David learns that one of Jonathan’s sons is alive – a boy, who David is told “is crippled in his feet.” David tells his men to bring Mephibosheth to him. Mephibosheth has no idea why he is being summoned before King David. Imagine having someone show up at your home tomorrow saying “you’re coming with us. The King wants to see you.” Your first impulse would probably be to wonder what kind of trouble you were in.
When the boy is brought before his King he follows the royal protocol. He falls on his face and pays homage, saying to David “Behold, I am your servant.”
Aware of the boy’s likely anxiety, David puts him at ease immediately. “Do not fear,” he tells him. “I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. And I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father.
“And,” the King says, “you shall eat at my table always.”
David gives the order, and in an instant, there is a complete reversal of fortune in the life of this crippled young man. Not only is he dining with the King just like he is one of the King’s own sons, but he inherits the land that had belonged to his grandfather. He is given charge over the former king’s servants.
Mephibosheth is stunned. “What is your servant,” he asks “that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
Why is the story of Mephibosheth included in the biblical record? Is it here to show what a generous and gracious king David was? Is it here because people in later years would wonder how Saul’s descendants inherited the land and the servants?
I think it’s included for a very different reason. The story of Mephibosheth is a living parable of the gospel. Think about it for a minute. Mephibosheth was the descendant of another king who had sought to kill David, the anointed one, the young man God had chosen to rule over His people. David was under no obligation at all to show kindness to the line of Saul. In fact, in his day, judgment and punishment would have been the legitimate prerogative of the King who eventually came to power.
David, the King, shows unmerited favor to Mephibosheth. Why? For the sake of Jonathan, who was David’s friend. All he receives from David’s hand is his because of someone else’s goodness. He is invited into the royal banquet hall and welcomed at the King’s table to eat with him as if he was one of the King’s own sons.
2 Samuel 9 ends the story of Mephibosheth in an unusual way. After reporting on all the ways David has chosen to bless Mephibosheth, after telling us that he lived the rest of his life in Jerusalem and always ate with the King, the writer of 2 Samuel says “ Now Mephibosheth was lame in both his feet.”
We’ve already been told the young man was a cripple. And the additional information here at the end of the story of Mephibosheth seems out of place. Why is it the last thing we read about Mephibosheth in the Bible is the additional detail regarding his infirmity? Why is this what the author wants us to remember as we turn the page?
Because the account of David’s unmerited favor is a gospel Easter egg left in the Old Testament to point us to how each one of us, unable to earn the favor of the King with our own two feet are welcomed at His table because of the goodness of another.
It’s here so when we read the story in 2020, we can say to ourselves “that’s me. I’m crippled. I’m a dead dog, just like Mephibosheth was. But God the King has welcomed me in and given me a seat at his table forever because of His great love for His own Son Jesus.”
As we look toward fall, we’re trying to map out how we can continue to worship together, grow together and fellowship together as a church while the concerns about the COVID pandemic continue. This week, we’d like to ask all the women who think they might be interested in taking part in a fall Women’s Bible study to help us out by answering two quick question. You can fill out the online questionnaire by clicking here. Thanks in advance for your response and your help!
Last summer, many of you brought school supplies to church in August that we were able to give to students at David O’ Dodd Elementary School. Pastor Matt met this week with the Melinda Modica, the Principle at the school. She said they are expecting about 200 students to be on campus each day this fall – about two thirds of the total enrollment. Other students will participate in distance learning.
She asked if we might be able to do two things to help them begin the school year and to serve both the students and the teachers. First, she’d love to be able to give each student on campus a box of crayons, five pencils and two glue sticks to start the year. And second, she asked if we could provide lunch one day for the teachers during their in-service days in August.
Instead of asking you to shop for supplies for students this year, we’d like to ask you to consider a special financial gift to help cover the cost of providing these supplies. You can decide how many kids you’d like to take care of and how many meals you’d like to buy for teachers. We estimate we can provide the needed supplies at a cost of about $2 per student. And we can buy lunch for a teacher for about $10.
Once you’ve decided how many students and teachers you’d like to sponsor, we’d ask you to do two things.
- First, click here and make an on line donation to cover your sponsorship.
- Second, send an email to Pastor Matt letting him know how many students and teachers you’ve decided to sponsor. Just a quick note that says “Hey Matt, put us down for X students and X teachers this fall” is all we need. Matt’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks in advance for whatever you’re able to do. If we have more money that we need, we’ll look for other opportunities this fall to be a blessing to the students and teachers at David O’ Dodd Elementary School.
Speaking of back to school time, here’s a resource I’d like to recommend to you. I recently spoke to Holly Melton, a mom from Arizona who decided to add five minutes to her morning routine each day to pray together with her kids before she takes them to school. Holly put together an outline of topics, scriptures and prayers that she used with her own children last year. Her outline is now a book called Praying With Your Kids Before School: One Verse, One Prayer. It’s simple, doable, and takes five minutes. Plus, it starts your day with prayer.
Click the link and check the book out. If you’re homeschooling, this is a great way to start the school day. If your kids are going somewhere else for school this fall, you can keep the book in the car and pray for five minutes each morning before you pull out of the driveway.
Start a new pattern with your children this fall. Whether you use Holly’s book or not, take time to pray together as you begin your day.
Finally, if you’ve run out of things to watch on Netflix and you haven’t yet watched the documentary American Gospel, add it to your watch list. The film explains how the gospel has been distorted in our day and points viewers to the central message of the Bible.
Interestingly, one of the people featured in the film as a preacher who has regularly presented an inaccurate gospel message has recently watched the film himself and has publicly repented for his mishandling of the good news. You can read here about Todd White’s change of heart about the “gospel” he’s been preaching for years.
Check out the American Gospel movie on Netfilx or click here to find out other places where it’s available.
We move into John 7 this week, where we find Jesus’ siblings offering Him advice on His ministry even though they don’t believe He is who He claims to be! As always, church begins at 10:00 with the Gospel Zone lesson for kids starting at 9:40. Start a new pattern with your children this fall. Whether you use Holly’s book or not, take time to pray together as you begin your day.
See you (in person or on line) Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria!