Mephibosheth: David Dispensing Grace

2 Samuel 9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
How lovely a foreshadowing of the grace of God we have in the brief history of this man as recorded in 2 Samuel. In his descent from the fallen, disobedient, and rejected King Saul we read our alliance with the man who fell, and who by disobedience plunged all his race into ruin and condemnation. "Lame on both his feet" depicts our actual moral condition in this place of condemnation. Far away from Jerusalem, the center of earthly blessing, we see the alienation of heart and mind in which we are from God, the only source and center of good.
In all this darkness the light of grace shines. David, now (chap. 9) at rest on his throne, the sovereign lord of all, forms a fitting type of the blessed God, whose throne of judgment has now been made a throne of grace-the place from whence all mercy and blessing are dispensed. David inquires, "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" The hatred and evil of Saul is not before his mind as the basis of action, but it is "for Jonathan's sake," the beloved one. We know surely what this signifies for us—Christ, the beloved Son, is the rule and basis of all God's action toward the believer now- and when once this is truly apprehended, we shall be prepared for the unfolding of the wonderful thoughts and purposes of God about us.
From his exile home in Lodebar, Mephibosheth is sent for, brought just as he is; for all rests not on what he is, but on the one beloved; and if Mephibosheth is blessed, the blessing is to express the royal pleasure in Jonathan. Amazed and confused to find himself in the king's presence, what could he more suitably say than, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"-a very low place indeed to take, but a true one. David knew all, perhaps better than he could be told; but, after all is told, he must still be left to act according to the dictates of his own mind and heart; for he is a king, and this is the royal prerogative, as in the case of the father and the prodigal in Luke 15. It was quite right that the son should say what he did, and feel it ever so deeply; but it was equally right that the father should be allowed to gratify his own feelings in the favor and blessing he bestowed, though the object be "no more worthy."
All this speaks louder than words of the manner of God's love toward us, as well as the kind of blessing it bestows.
David's first words to Mephibosheth are, "Fear not"; very like other greetings in later times, for "fear hath torment," and love's first work is to take it away; for until the fear is gone there is no preparation to listen to anything else. Then follows the unfolding of his purpose: "For I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." These three things are here- the kindness, the inheritance, and the fellowship. All these have their counterpart in the present day of God's abounding grace—we stand in divine favor (Rom. 5:22By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2); Eph. 1:66To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)); we have an inheritance (Eph. 1:22Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)); and our fellowship (1 John 1:33That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)). What a position and what a portion is ours, who have in this day of grace submitted ourselves to the righteousness of God.
It was not only royal favor that Mephibosheth enjoyed, but instead of his alienation he is brought so near to the king as to eat bread continually at his table "as one of the king's sons"; this is exceedingly beautiful, and goes beyond the thought of the inheritance possessed. We have "in Christ" the inheritance, it is true; in Him too we enter into the divine favor; but what can go higher in experimental privilege than that "our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ"? and, as with Mephibosheth, this is not a temporary or periodical privilege, but to be enjoyed continually. Our whole life in its greatest and smallest details may, by the Holy Spirit, be lived so near the divine presence as to partake of this fellowship. Of no lesser interest are the subsequent allusions to Mephibosheth in 2 Sam. 16 and 19, and they show the effect of grace upon the heart in the affection and self-forgetfulness there shown. It is worthy both of our study and imitation.