Mike Gerhardt, 8-25-19, David's Passion, 2 Samuel 9:1-13, Great Grace. How do you define Grace? Grace means many things to many people. We refer to a ballet dancer as having grace. We say grace before meals. The queen of England brings grace to the events she attends. Grace can be an extension of time that is granted for paying a debt (grace period). It can be a formal title when introducing a Duke or a Duchess (her grace, his grace). It can mean a charming or attractive characteristic of a person. Random House lists over 12 meanings including the unmerited favor of God. It is the extending of a special favor to someone who doesn't deserve it and can never repay it. Used about 250 times in the older testament, the Hebrew word He'sed is often translated lovingkindness, loyal love, grace, or here with the simple word kindness (2 Samuel 9:1). This is not a soft tenderness like a mother to her child but something greater. Grace is positive and unconditional love in spite of the other person behavior or lifestyle. Grace is a demonstration of favor that is undeserved, unearned and unpayable. Better: is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show grace. David asked is there anyone. He did not ask is there anyone worthy, is there anyone qualified, is there anyone favorable. Well, they found someone. Mephibosheth. Read 2 Samuel 9:2-6. Was Ziba trying to give David advice by mentioning the disability? Will a cripple be appropriate for the king's court? Notice David's asked where is he NOT how badly crippled. There were no wheelchairs, no ramps, no handicap bathrooms, no accessibility laws… Bringing him to the castle to eat with the king was no easy task. It would have taken several fulltime people to help.
David's Promise. To Jonathan 1 Samuel 20:14-16. Jonathan asked: do not cut off your kindness from my family. It was the custom in eastern dynasties that when a new king took over, all the family members of the previous dynasty were killed to take away the possibility of revolt or allowing a son of the previous king to claim the throne. To Saul 1 Samuel 24:20-22 Saul asked: Swear to me you will not kill off my descendants. David gives his oath. Soon after these promises, Saul and three sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and
Malki-Shua were killed in battle against the Philistines.
God's promised John 3:16 whoever believes in (Jesus to save them) shall not perish but have eternal life. James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you. Hebrews 13:5 God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. God's promises are true. He will fulfill them.
Who is this Mephibosheth? He was Jonathan's son. He was living in Lo Debar which means no pastureland, a barren place in Palestine. Read 2 Samuel 4:4. The boy was 5 years old when hearing of the death of Jonathan and Saul, his nurse picked him up and running with him, fell. Crippled in both feet. Once Mephibosheth enjoyed fellowship with his father Jonathan, son of King Saul. Running as any 2-5-year-old would do when dad came home from battle. I am sure they had rope swings, see-saws or games to play when dad was home. Adam in the Garden of Eden walked with God in the cool of the morning and enjoyed a close relationship with his creator Father. Like Adam, Mephibosheth knew what it was like to be close to the King. When disaster came, the nurse fled in fear and Mephibosheth suffered a fall. It left him crippled. When Adam sinned, Adam suffered a great fall and in fear hid from God. As a result, all of humanity became spiritual invalids. In many ways, we are like Mephibosheth.
David's Kindness. He brought Mephibosheth into his castle. Remember at this time Mephibosheth was hiding for his life when they came for him. He was probably thinking this is the end of my life. Can you imagine his shock? The king has come for you!! Read 2 Samuel 9:6-9. Ziba did what the king said. Read verse 13. Chuck Swindoll paints the scene this way: Picture what life would be like in the years to come at the supper table with David. The meal is fixed, the dinner bell rings and along come the members of the royal family and their guests. Amnon, clever and witty, comes to the table first. Then there's Joab, walking tall like an experienced soldier; next comes Absalom. Talk about handsome, what a head of hair. Then there is Tamar- beautiful, tender daughter of David. And later one could add Solomon as well. He's been in the study all day… but then they hear the clump, clump, clump and here comes Mephibosheth hobbling along. He smiles and humbly joins the others as he takes his place at the table as one of the king's sons. And the tablecloth of grace covers his crippled feet. David the king demonstrated grace, he'sed, out of love for Jonathan to his handicapped son. God because of His love for us and love for His son Jesus, with the price Jesus paid on the cross for our sins, continues to demonstrate grace to each and every believing sinner. God is still seeking people who are disabled and challenged spiritually, crippled in their sin, spiritually lost and even hiding in a barren place, broken, fearful, and confused, when they hear that God wants them at his table. We are walking with God because God demonstrated his love and grace for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Thomas Jefferson was with a group riding horseback cross country when they came to a swollen river. A young man standing near the bank wanting to cross and waited for several of the party to cross. He then asked Jefferson if he would carry him across on his horse. The president pulled him up and brought him to the opposite bank. Someone asked, why did you ask the president for the favor? The young man responded, the president, I didn't know he was the president. All I know is that on some faces is written the answer no and on some faces is written the answer yes. His was a yes face. Do you have a no face or a yes face?
Mephibosheth's disability was a constant reminder of grace. He had nothing but crutches, yet he was given the plenty of the king. Every time he limped from one castle room to the next, he was reminded: I am in this magnificent place enjoying the pleasures of this position because of the grace of the king and nothing else. We sing God shed His grace on thee as if our nation for all the good that it does in the world, deserves grace. Are there any nations who deserve God’s grace? Can you think of a person who doesn’t deserve God’s grace? Remind yourself grace is unmerited favor, no one deserves it. Especially me. God's grace is like that. Grace isn't picky. Grace doesn't look for things that have been done that deserve love. Grace operates apart from the abilities or character of the individual. Grace is one-sided. God gives unmerited favor to someone who does not deserve it, cannot earn it and will never be able to repay it. This is what makes this story come alive. A strong and famous king stoop down and reaches out to one who would be out of place in any king's court and makes him family.
How are we to be graceful in a merciless world.