Sermon #432               Series: Miscellaneous Sermons

          Title:           David and Mephibosheth

          Text:           2 Samuel 21:7 - 2 Samuel 9:1-13


          Subject:     The kindness of God to sinners

          Date:          Sunday Morning - August 8, 1982

          Tape #      


          There are many stories in the Word of God which have become precious to me. They are stories which portray God’s grace and mercy to me. What could better portray the love of God for his people than the story of Hosea’s love for Gomer? There could never be a clearer picture of God’s grace in salvation than we have in the stories of the Good Samaritan and Ezekiel’s Deserted Infant. Nothing could more forcibly set forth the loving care of God for his people than the story of the Good Shepherd. The covenant faithfulness of our heavenly Father is tenderly demonstrated by the story of the Prodigal Son. Our Lord taught us by his own example that one of the best ways to preach the gospel is by the use of plain, simple parables, stories, and illustrations. Today, I want to follow his example. I want to preach the gospel to you by telling you the story of David and Mephibosheth. In this story the lovingkindness and covenant mercy of our God is beautifully illustrated - “But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul.”


          How welcome David’s gracious invitation must have been to the poor, trembling, and fearful prince Mephibosheth! How utterly unexpected David’s kindness toward him was! How surprising! The king’s “fear not” must have fallen on his ears like heavenly music.


          But who was this prince Mephibosheth? He was Jonathan’s son, the last living survivor of the royal house of Saul. When the news of the death of Saul and his sons on the battlefield of Gilboa reached the royal palace, Mephibosheth was only five years old. His nurse took the young son of Jonathan up inher arms and fled down to Lodebar. But in her panic, the littole boy fell from her arms and was crippled. From that day on, he was lame on both of his feet. Sixteen years had now passed, and David was determined to fulfill his covenant with Jonathan. So he sought out the last survivor of his dear friend and companion. David sent for Mephibosheth, and brought him to the palace. When Mephibosheth first learned that the king had found him, he must have been terrified. He knew what had become of the rest of Saul’s sons. Tremblingly, he came into David’s presence, expecting to be slain. What a blessed surprise he found! David showed him nothing but kindness and mercy. He was made to be as one of the king’s sons.


          Turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Samuel 9, and follow along, as I show you how this story sets forth the gospel of Christ. Behind the noble kindness of David toward Mephibosheth, the marvelous grace of God towards us shines forth. When the poor, crippled son of Jonathan was brought from Lodebar to Jerusalem, and made to sit at the king’s table, I am sure that words could not begin to express his gratitude. And when a slave of sin and Satan is made a joint-heir with Christ, he is lost in wonder, love, and praise Eternity itself cannot render to the Lord the praise and adoration we desire to give him.


          Beloved, God’s grace and kindness toward us is exceedingly great. Justice gives to every man his exact due. Justice shows no favor. Justice shows no mercy. But grace is the free favor of God toward us. It is unmerited, unwarranted, and unexpected. Grace is purely a matter of charity, exercised sovereignly and spontaneously. It is attracted by nothing, and repelled by everything in man. Divine grace is God’s free favor, bestowing the gifts of his kindness, mercy, and love upon lost sinners. Divine grace isnot just shown to thosse who have no merit; it is shown to those who have much demerit. It is not bestowed upon the ill-dserving, but upon the hell-deserving. If we ever grasp the gospel of God’s saving grace, every thought of human merit will vanish from our hearts. We are “justified freely by his grace.” “By grace ye are saved.”



          Daivd’s kindness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake is a beautiful picture of God’s lovingkindness and tender mercy to sinners for Christ’s sake.



1.    Mephibosheth was in a very miserable condition, when the king sought him out.

2.    Mephibosheth was called by the king.

3.    Mephibosheth was reconciled to the king by an act of the king’s mercy.

4.    Mehibosheth was granted perpetual fellowship and communion with the king.

5.    All of this was done for Mephibosheth, because of a covenant made long before he was born.




          He was altogether unworthy of David’s attention, regasrd, and favor. But David freely showed kindness and mercy to him. And we are unworthy to receive anything from God; nevertheless, he is gracious to us.


          A. “Mephibosheth”means shameful, and a shameful man he was.


          He was poor, destitute, and helpless. Well may all the sons of Adam be called “Mephibosheth”. We are “a shameful thing.” “We are all as an unclean thing” (Isa. 64:6). “From the soul of the foot even unto the crown of the head, there isno soundness in us, but wounds, and bruises, and purtrifying sores” (Isa. 1:6). “Man, at his best estate, is altogether vanity.” Like the leper, we have an incurable disease. Like the harlot, we are defiled. You are a Mephibosheth, “a shameful thing,” in heart, in will, and in deed.


          B. Mephibosheth was the king’s enemy.


          He was the son of Saul, a natural enemy to David. He was hiding from David. But David was not his enemy.


1.    By nature, all the sons of Adam are enemies of God (Rom. 8:7).

2.    We were hiding from God when he saved us.

3.    But God is not the enemy of his people.


·       Through Jesus Christ God has reconciled us to himself (Rom. 5:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-20).

·       And God is ever beseeching us to be reconciled to him.


          C. Mephibosheth became lame through a fall (v. 3).


          Even so, “God created man upright,” but we became helpless, lame cripples through the fall of our father Adam (John 6:44).


          Like Ezekiel’s deserted infant, left to ourselves, we must surely perish, because we have no strength or ability to help ourselves.


          D. And Mephibosheth was in a far country (v. 4).


1.    He was far away from the king.

2.    He was far away from Jerusalem.

·       The place of blessing.

·       The place of peace.

·       The place of worship.

3.    He was  in the house of Machir - which means “sold.”

4.    He was down in Lodebar, the place of no bread.

5.    Sinner, this is your condition.


          You are far away from God. You are far away from Christ. You are sold under sin. You are in a desert place, where there is no bread.


NOTE: “Lodebar” is written across the fields of this world. When will you wandering prodigals realize this? Come to your senses, man; and come to Christ (Psa. 68:6; Lk. 15:16).


          Like Mephibosheth, you who are without Christ are in a miserable condition. Oh, may the Lord show you your condition!


II. Mephibosheth ws called by the king (vv. 4-5).


          David sought Mephibosheth and fetched him to the palace. Here again, we see God’s marvelous grace toward sinners. He seeks his own sheep. And when he finds his sheep, he fetches it home.


          A. David sought Mepibosheth - Mephibosheth did not seek David (A sovereign election - A personal call).


          Beloved, salvation begins with God. He takes the initiative. Man goes astray. Man hides from God. But God seeks and finds his own. It is written, “I am found of them that sought me not.”


          God almighty sends his Spirit to seek and find his people, who have strayed far away from him. He always finds them; and he always brings them home. He says, “Follow me,” and they follow. He says, “Come unto me,” and they come.


·        Abraham was in Ur.

·        Moses was in Midian.

·        Zachaeus was up in a tree.

·        Saul was in the desert.


          B. Mephibosheth came before the king in reverent submission (v. 6).


1.    When he first came before David, he reverenced him with fear and trembling. He did not know what David would do with him. He could kill him, or he could let him live. So Mephibosheth threw himself at the king’s feet.

2.    David broke the poor man’s fear. He called him by name and spoke peaceably to him. “Mephibosheth, fear not, for I will surely show thee kindness.”

3.    Have you thrown yourself down at the feet of Christ the great King? That’s the way to obtain mercy.


          Blessed be his name, he calls his own by name; and he speaks peace to our souls!


          C. Now get this - Mephibosheth was received in all his deformity.


          Just as he was, without any improvement, David received the poor cripple. And the Lord our God receives sinners in all their deformity.


Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee -

O Lamb of God, I come.


Come ye weary, heavy laden,

Lost and ruined by the fall.

If you tarry till you’re better,

You will never come at all.


          D. Mephibosheth was received for the sake of another (v. 7).


          David received Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake, because he loved Jonathan. And God receives us for Christ’s sake, because he loves his Son (Tit. 3:3-7).


          On the basis of Christ’s righteous obedience as our Representative and voluntary death as our Substitute, God receives believing sinners. It pleases God to look on Christ and pardon all who believe on him. Just as David received Mephibosheth because of his relationship to Jonathan, God receives us because of our relationship to Christ.


E.  When Mephibosheth came to David, he learned to have a proper estimate of himself (v. 8).


          Beloved, it is only after we come to Christ that we truly have a proper view of ourselves. Do not expect to find repentance until you come to Christ by faith.




          David restored Mephibosheth and made him as one of the king’s sons. Once again, he was made to be a prince in Israel.


A.  Mephibosheth got more in David than he had lost in Saul.


          And, beloved, we got more in Christ than we lost in Adam.


1.    He has given us life eternal.

2.    He has given us peace (Rom. 5:1).

3.    Christ has given us an incorruptible inheritance.

4.    Christ has provided for us all that we need.

5.    And in Christ we are given the highest possible honor and dignity (1 John 3:1).


B. And under the king’s table Mephibosheth’s crippled feet were covered.


          Now, blessed be God, in Christ all the deformities of his people are covered!




          The king’s house was his house. He dwelt with David. He was always accepted in David’s presence.


A.  Children of God, it is our privilege and joy to dwell with the King.


1.    We may walk in his company.

2.    We are allowed to speak freely to him.

3.    We live upon his riches.

4.    We rest under his protection.


B. Because of the grace he had received, Mehpibosheth loved the king above everything (19:24-30).


1.    He waited patiently for the king’s return.

2.    He wanted nothing but the king.

3.    Because of his great love for the king, Ziba despised him.

4.    Children of God, we ought to imitate this man Mephibosheth.


·        Ought we not love King Jesus supremely?

·        Give up everything to him and for him.

·        Wait patiently for the King’s return.

·        Desire nothing but Christ himself.




          And, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, all that we have in Christ and all that we have experienced of divine grace, has been given to us because of a covenant made between God the Father and God the Son long before we were born. Mephibosheth did not know anything about the covenant, but David did!



1.    Is there in this house of worship any Mephibosheth? Any poor, shameful, helpless sinner who needs mercy? Come, throw yourself down at the feet of King Jesus and sue for mercy.

2.    Children of God, let our hearts be filled with love, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving for the kindness of God which he has shown unto us for Christ’s sake.