I rarely cry. But I weep over this obscure passage.

[King David] asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”...When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”...So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons. (2 Samuel 9:3,6-8,11)

I don’t cry much, but I have wept over this passage numerous times. Why? Because I think it’s one of the best pictures we have in Scripture of Christ-like love.

By the world’s standards, Mephibosheth would have been the least likely person David would have shown kindness to for three reasons.

First, Mephibosheth was David’s enemy, at least by extension. When David asked if there was anyone “from the house of Saul,” that he could show kindness to, his courtiers would have been flabbergasted. I can imagine them saying, “You want to show love to one of Saul’s descendants? The guy who used to hurl spears at you while you innocently played a harp? That Saul, David!?”

Second, Mephibosheth was a social outcast, due to being “lame in both feet.” In David’s day, the crippled and disabled were not looked upon with compassion. They were kept at arm's length—outside the temple, palace, and social circles of the day. Which is why Mephibosheth was stunned to learn that David would even “notice a dead dog” like him.

Third, Mephibosheth was unable to repay David’s kindness. He had nothing to offer the king in return because of his social position.

For those reasons, David’s announcement that he wanted to show kindness to Mephibosheth would have made absolutely no sense to the world. But it makes all the sense in the world once you understand the motivation behind David’s kindness.

In today’s passage, David didn’t ask who he could show kindness to, but who he could show “God’s kindness” to. The Hebrew word there is hesed, and it is the same word David used to describe the kindness God had shown him in Psalm 86:12-13: “I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart…For great is your love (hesed) toward me.”

You see, David understood that were it not for the hesed love God had shown him, he would be God’s enemy; he would be a social outcast; he would be poor. David was amazed by grace. And that is why he is intent on sharing God’s lovingkindness with others—especially enemies, outcasts, and the poor like Mephibosheth.

I pray the same would be even more true of you and me because we have seen God’s hesed in the ultimate. Christ died for us when we were his enemies; when we were Eden’s outcasts; when we were spiritually bankrupt. And so, we are called to go and do likewise, laying down our lives for the Mephibosheths we live and work with.

Who is a Mephibosheth you can share God’s kindness with today? Maybe it’s an enemy, competitor, or a co-worker who’s competing against you for the same job. Maybe it’s a socially awkward team member who has quietly become an outsider. Maybe it’s an intern who is unlikely to ever repay you for serving them and their career.
Whoever just came to mind, commit to showing that person God’s hesed love today.


50% Complete

Join 100,000+ Christians who receive my weekly devotional every Monday morning!