Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 5, 2012

Kingly kindness

Anyone looking back at the seasons of their life will certainly find some high points, and also times of discouragement and defeat. Often the times of defeat are due to our own selfishness and sin. God gives us a glimpse of real life through the pages of His Word. One of the most referenced real life heroes is David. Tracking the events of his life helps us relate our high points, discouraging moments and devastating defeats to those of a “man after God’s own heart.” He went from a shepherd, to battle hero, then to a fugitive and eventually a king. He committed adultery, had a man murdered, and lived with pain of his mistakes. Although our issues may not be like his, we all know the peaks and valleys of real life. One particular high point for David is often overlooked but gives us great lessons.

David the king was a man of power. In II Samuel 9, we find an event that clearly shows him also to be a man of grace and kindness. To me, this event shows the heart of a man who loved God and converted that love to others. It is well-known that David had a special relationship with Saul’s (former king) son Jonathon. David lived as a fugitive from Saul, and over the course of that time, both Saul and Jonathon died. When news of their death came, another tragedy happened.

II Samuel 4:4
Jonathon son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathon came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.

Dad and grandfather are dead and this child is crippled for life. You can imagine the heartbreak and life struggles that ensued, but fast-forward about twenty years. Mephibosheth is a crippled young man in his middle twenties, and David is on top militarily, spiritually and financially. One day David asks, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathon’s sake?” (II Samuel 9:1)

David had earlier agreed not to destroy Saul’s family. But think about this for a moment – it is now many years after Saul’s death, and David is looking to show kindness. Sounds like a “man after God’s own heart” to me.

As the events unfold, we find David showing great grace and kindness to Mephibosheth. He restores the land that had belonged to his grandfather Saul, and committed that Mephibosheth would always eat at his (David’s) table. David may have been honoring Jonathon’s legacy, but to me there is more. A man at the top, reaching out to the hopeless! I believe that he was being sensitive to His Father’s leading. What a significant example to us as we daily strive to follow our Father’s leading. If we look outward, and submit to the Spirit, we too can be used to show kindness to a crippled Mephibosheth in our own real life.


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