On Wednesday evenings, I am sharing a series of message on the life of David. Recently I shared a message on David’s actions toward a young man named Mephibosheth and what they teach us about grace. Due to the great amount of feedback I have received from this message, I wanted to share a synposis of it here. Take your Bible out and follow along!
“A Powerful Picture of Grace”
2 Samuel 9:1-13
You might want to make a note that Mephibosheth is first mentioned in 2 Samuel 4:4 where we are told that he was the 5 year old son of Jonathan, the grandson of King Saul. It says in that verse that when word came back that both Saul and Jonathan were dead that the nanny immediately decided to flee their home. Why would she do that? Well, I am sure that they thought they were next! Anyway, the Bible says that she took young Mephibosheth and began to run away and he fell. Maybe she had him in her arms and dropped him. Maybe he was running beside her, but either way he fell and broke both of his legs or ankles. Now broken bones are terrible injuries to have today. They are painful and they take a while to heal even with the medical care we have today, but rarely are broken bones debilitating. However, in Bible times, if you broke your leg, that first of all could be fatal and second there was a good chance it was be debilitating for the rest of your life. Mephibosheth broke both his legs or ankles and could not walk for the rest of his life.
So this is the story of Mephibosheth and his encounter with the great king, David. From his story, I want us to talk about the promise of grace and the powerful picture of grace that we see here…
I. The promise of grace (v. 1)
Verse 1 really is out of the ordinary. Think about it. David is at his height of power, prestige, wealth, you name it. A number of years have passed, and then David asks this question. Really “kindness” isn’t a bad translation of the Hebrew word, but we can’t really capture the idea in one English word. In fact, this same Hebrew word is used numerous times in the OT and do you know the most common way it is translated in our English Bibles? MERCY. So, here is the powerful king asking if there is someone left that he could show mercy to. Why would he care? Because he had promised! In 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan had asked David to spare his life when he became king. Now we know that David loved Jonathan, so why would that matter? Because at this time in history, when a new king took over and established a new dynasty, the first thing that he typically did was to exterminate all of the family members of the former dynasty. You had less rebellions that way! So that was Jonathan’s concern. Then in 1 Samuel 24, David has spared Saul’s life in the cave and Saul asked David to promise that when he is king, he will not destroy his descendants. So, David made that promise on two occasions and evidently when we get to 2 Samuel 9, David is thinking about that promise.
Let’s pause and make sure we get the big picture here. David had promised to have mercy. David had promised to bestow grace. Do you know that it works the same way with grace today? We can only have it because the King of Kings has promised it to us!!!
“So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”” (Acts 16:31, NKJV)
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9–10, NKJV)
Those are promises in the Word of God. We can only receive grace today because the King of Kings has promised. Did you know that is really all being saved involves? It involves taking God up on His promise to forgive your sins in response to simple faith. Sadly, most people today are not saved, many of them because they just absolutely cannot believe it can possibly be that simple. I even had a man I witnessed to tell me one time, “There’s got to be more to it than that!” No. Grace flows out of a promise. And the grace that King David promised is a foreshadow of the saving grace of King Jesus!
II. The picture of grace (v. 2-13)
Now that we have seen the big picture story of Mephibosheth, I want us to take a closer look because what we find is that his life and story is a great parallel of the NT doctrine of God’s grace. I want us to see several ways that Mephibosheth and his experience with King David are a great picture of God’s NT grace.
- Like Mephibosheth, we are crippled from a fall
He fell when he was five years old and was lame from that point on. We are also crippled from a fall – not physically crippled, but spiritually crippled.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, NKJV)
This death speaks of both physical death and ultimate spiritual death. The Bible says that we are dead in our trespasses and sins as a result of the fall!
- Like Mephibosheth, the King called us even though we deserved nothing, did nothing, and can repay nothing.
Look at verse 4 of our text. Did you notice where he was living? Lodebar. Out in the sticks of the sticks. It was basically out in the desert wilderness. He was hiding from David. Anyone remember what Adam and Eve did after the fall back in Genesis? They tried to hide! From Adam and Eve on, every single one of us has been a lost sinner separated from God. We’ve been like Mephibosheth hiding out, but the King knocked on our door when we had nothing to offer! Think about if you were Mephibosheth and you are a home one day and there is a knock at the door. You crutch over there and there are several soldiers standing at the door. What are you thinking? You are thinking, “I’m dead.” HOWEVER, THAT KNOCK ON THE DOOR WAS NOT A KNOCK OF DEATH BUT A KNOCK OF GRACE!
- Like Mephibosheth, we have been brought from where we were to the presence of the King
Think about it. Mephibosheth was in the desert, but he was taken into the King’s chambers.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:1–6, NKJV)
- Like Mephibosheth, we have been adopted into the King’s family
Did you notice v. 13 of our text? It says that Mephibosheth ate at the King’s table. Do you know who ate at the King’s table? The King’s family! The New Testament presents our salvation in terms of being adopted into the family of God…
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4–6, NKJV)