Mephibosheth — A Picture of Grace
ŇBut the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORDŐS oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.Ó (2 Samuel 21:7)
Who was this prince Mephibosheth? He was JonathanŐs son, the last living survivor of the royal house of Saul. When the news of SaulŐs death and of the death of his sons on the battlefield of Gilboa reached the royal palace, Mephibosheth was only five years old. His nurse took JonathanŐs little boy up in her arms and fled down to Lodebar. In her panic Mephibosheth fell from her arms and was crippled. From that day on, he was lame on both of his feet.
Sixteen years had passed since David made a covenant with Jonathan. Now, the time had come for David to fulfill his covenant promise to Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:14-17). Now established as King over Israel by the hand of God, David is determined to fulfill his covenant promise to Jonathan. So he sought out the last survivor of his dear friend and companion, Jonathan. 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 SaulŐs sons. Fearful and trembling, he came into DavidŐs 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 kingŐs sons.
DavidŐs kindness to Mephibosheth for JonathanŐs sake is a beautiful picture of GodŐs lovingkindness and tender mercy to sinners for ChristŐs sake. We read the story in 2 Samuel 9.
Mephibosheth became lame through a fall (2 Samuel 9:3; 4:4). Even so, ŇGod created man upright,Ó but we became helpless, lame cripples through the fall of our father Adam (John 6:44).
Mephibosheth was called by the king (2 Samuel 9:4-5). David sought Mephibosheth and fetched him to the palace. I love that word Ňfetched.Ó DonŐt you? Here again we see GodŐs marvelous grace toward sinners. He seeks his own sheep. And when he finds his sheep, he fetches them home (Psalm 65:4).
Mephibosheth was received in all his deformity for the sake of another. Just as he was, without any improvement, David received the poor cripple. And the Lord our God receives sinners in all their deformity for ChristŐs sake. And when Mephibosheth came to David, he learned to have a proper estimate of himself (2 Samuel 9:8). So, too, 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. In a word, Mephibosheth was reconciled to the King by an act of the kingŐs own mercy (2 Samuel 9:9-10).
Under the kingŐs table MephiboshethŐs crippled feet were covered. He was still lame on both his feet, but his deformity was covered under DavidŐs table. Now, blessed be God, in Christ all the deformities of his people are covered!
Next, we see that Mephibosheth was granted perpetual fellowship and communion with the King. The kingŐs house was his house. He dwelt with David. He was always accepted in DavidŐs presence. — It is the privilege and joy of believing sinners to dwell with the King, Christ Jesus. We walk in his company. We are allowed to speak freely to him. We live upon his riches. We rest under his protection.
Because of the grace he had received, Mephibosheth loved the king above everything (2 Samuel 19:24-30). So it is with GodŐs elect. — ŇWe love him because he first loved usÓ (1 John 4:19).
All of this was done for Mephibosheth, because of a covenant made long before he was born (1 Samuel 21:7). When the King returned and finally destroyed all the sons of Saul (all seven of them), Mephibosheth was spared because of DavidŐs love for Jonathan. David loved Mephibosheth because of his relation to Jonathan and because of the covenant he made with Jonathan.
That is the way it is with us. 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! God our Father loves us and deals graciously with us because of Christ and our relation to him. Indeed, he loves us as he loves his dear Son! Oh, may God the Holy Spirit fill our hearts with love for Christ.
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