The Kindness of the King | Morning Routine for November 3

And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said,…

And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for 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 you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” —2 Samuel 9:6–8 (ESV)

At this point in 2 Samuel, King David’s throne is well established. His predecessor, Saul, had been killed, along with Saul’s son, Jonathan, who was also David’s best friend. The relationship between these three men was strained, to put it mildly. David and Jonathan became close friends, even while Jonathan’s father, king Saul, pursued David to kill him. David was actually anointed to be the next king, but refused to kill Saul on multiple occasions or take the throne by force. Also, David was married to one of Saul’s daughters and had otherwise made commitments to Saul and Jonathan. Dysfunctional? Maybe just a little!

In today’s text, David wants to make good on his commitment to the family of Saul and Jonathan, and so he seeks for a descendant to whom he might show kindness. This is striking in the ancient world because a new king might well try to put any previous king’s descendants to death to ensure no competition! David is led to a crippled son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth, whose name means mouth of shame. He was living in Lo-debar, a phrase which means no-thing. A crippled man, whose father was dead, who might well have a target on his back since he was once a royal heir, and who was living in a ‘nothing’ place. And the king seeks for him? He must have thought he would be put to death. But David reassures Mephibosheth that he doesn’t intend to harm him. Instead, he restores to him the land of Saul and restores his place at the king’s table! In an instant, Mephibosheth’s fortunes are turned around!

David’s kindness to Mephibosheth teaches us many things. It is a picture of being faithful to keep promises, as David did with Jonathan. It is an encouragement to be kind, even when cultural norms might pressure us to do otherwise. But it is also a picture of the King of King’s kindness to us, who like Mephibosheth, find ourselves lost and with little hope until the King comes to us, offering us salvation and restoration. We eat at the King’s table as sons of the living God. Rejoice this week, and show God’s kindness, in turn, to others.