Mephibosheth was a man who could not walk because of a childhood accident that crippled both of his feet (2 Samuel 9). King David sought to show kindness to the family of Saul and Jonathan, so his servants found Mephibosheth, whom they brought to the king’s table.
King Jesus is preparing a feast for His bride, which is His Church. All are invited to the feast, yet many are crippled – whether physically, mentally, or spiritually – by carelessness and unfortunate circumstances. Therefore, they cannot bring themselves to respond to the call of Christ. They need God’s servants to draw them, and sometimes to carry them, to the place of grace where they can be healed.
It is my prayer that these words will prompt each reader to recognize that the King of kings wants to bring us into His banqueting house, where His banner over us is love (Song of Solomon 2:4).
Overcoming the Lameness of the Fall
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?
“And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
“And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
“And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.
“Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
“Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew 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.
“And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
“Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.
“Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master ‘s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
“Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.
“And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
“So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet” (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
An Unconditional Covenant of Love
When Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson, was five years old, he was dropped by his nurse as the family tried to flee an enemy invasion. As a result of the fall, Mephibosheth was left lame in both feet.
Before Jonathan’s death, he made a covenant with David: “Thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever; no, not, when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth” (1 Samuel 20:15). That covenant was unconditional, and it speaks of the unconditional covenant God has made with every believer through Jesus Christ – One who was born in the line of David.
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isaiah 54:10). Though God’s people sin, His lovingkindness shall not depart from them, and His mercy will not depart from them. This is the essence of God’s unconditional covenant. The Holy Spirit expresses this covenant by shedding God’s unconditional love abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5). Very few understand the covenant of the New Testament. For Christians, it is a law written upon their hearts as a basis for marriages, friendships, and fellowship.
Mephibosheth was crippled because of a fall; likewise, each of us was crippled spiritually by the Fall of Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3). We were each conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). Satan, inventor of the Old Sin Nature, made lame the human race with personal sin. But God, because of His foreknowledge and in His eternal wisdom, imputed sin to each of us before we were born and before we would personally sin. Then He paid for our sins at Calvary. Yet, we were crippled because of the Fall.
So many people have felt the pain of being deceived and the limitations of being crippled. As a result of not putting God first, they don’t feel right; they can’t think right; and they don’t do right. This doesn’t change unless they get right with God and begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Sought by the King
King David asked Ziba, a servant in the house of Saul, if there was anyone left from Saul’s family to whom he might “show kindness.” The servant told David of Mephibosheth, who was living in Lodebar, a terrible place that would rival some of the worst areas in our cities.
“Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar” (2 Samuel 9:5). Picture the king’s chariot going through this very poor neighborhood and stopping in front of a rundown house.
“Here comes the king’s chariot! What have we done wrong?” must have been one the first thoughts running through Machir ‘s mind. “Have they come to arrest us? Maybe David wants to get even with Saul’s house by taking Mephibosheth?” After the chariot pulled up, Mephibosheth was called. “The king is seeking you,” he was told.
There is a King seeking for every person today, and His name is King Jesus. He wants to show kindness and He wants to bless His people.
A certain fellow took a trip on an airplane and was seated next to a chemist. “I know a little bit about chemistry,” the fellow told the chemist, and he proceeded to rattle off a couple of formulas. After some discussion, the chemist was obviously impressed with his knowledge.
“Say, you do know a little bit about chemistry,” the chemist said. “What do you do?”
“I am an ambassador,” the fellow said. “I represent the King.”
“I have never met an ambassador before. So you were sent here from another country?”
“Yes, I was.”
“So, you are only here temporarily?”
The traveler said, “Yes, that’s right.”
“What king do you serve?” the chemist asked.
“I represent King Jesus,” was the man’s answer. “He sent me, and He is seeking for you. He wanted to bring you a message, to show you kindness and mercy, and to pour out His love to you.”
The chemist prayed to receive Christ and was saved.
Carried to a Rich Inheritance
When King David sent for Mephibosheth, he only wanted to show his love. The young man was probably disturbed and frightened, but the King’s servant comforted him, saying, “Don’t be afraid. The king wants to bring you to his table, to treat you as a son.”
When they arrived at the King’s palace, Mephibosheth was carried out of the chariot. He honored David, bowing before him, saying, “Behold thy servant.”
David said, “Fear not: 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” (2 Samuel 9:7). The king brought Mephibosheth to his table, adopted him, and treated him as one of his sons.
Imagine the chariot there. Only those of exalted position rode in chariots. Then, Mephibosheth is carried out, riding away while the poor folks of Lodebar watch in wonder. “What’s Mephibosheth doing in the king’s chariot?”
At times, we may wonder, “Who are we to live as children of the King and to ride in His chariot (as it were)?” The answer is, King Jesus came and died on the cross for us. He was crucified and buried for our sins. Now, we are His children, and it doesn’t appear yet what we shall be (1 John 3:1). We can say anything we want about ourselves, but we are still the King’s children. What is even more beautiful is that day in and day out we eat at the King’s table. We partake of food from heaven that nourishes our souls.
All of the inheritance that was Saul’s was given to Mephibosheth, who gladly accepted the king’s invitation and kindness. If you are not a Christian, I pray that you will gladly accept Jesus’ invitation to be saved. Won’t you please accept the invitation to be loved?
Escaping from the Ash Heap
The servants carrying Mephibosheth to the chariot is a picture of how Christians, after they die, are carried to heaven by the angels. Those who should tarry on earth will be lifted up to the clouds in the Rapture to meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). For everyone who is born again, the Rapture will be a glorious event, followed by the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Father will present the Church as a spotless bride to His Son, the King of kings.
Mephibosheth was told that he would eat at the king’s table continually. His response? “What is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” Broken, Mephibosheth took on the heart of a servant. What a beautiful thing it is to serve the King.
We have been invited to eat at the King’s table. However, there are Christians who choose another type of feast. “He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:20). In Israel, there used to be large ash heaps, and some would wear ashes upon them, focusing on their sin and their process of “repentance.” A lot of people “feed on ashes.” They are constantly consumed by their sins and their past. They feed off of their weaknesses. We don’t have to eat of those things. We can feast on the life of Christ (John 6:53).
Have you ever had ashes for dinner? Thank God, we can eat from the New Covenant and drink the covenant of forgiveness, the covenant of unconditional love. We can eat the bread from heaven and be nourished from God’s table. Jesus Christ, the King, sent for us. Let’s not feed on yesterday’s confusion and last year’s problems. Let’s feed on the Lamb.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
We were miserable and on our way to hell. But God commended His love toward us. But God was for us and redeemed our souls from the grave (Psalm 49:15).
Mephibosheth was once living in a place that had nothing. But God came to him, and he understood that the King was seeking for him. The king had a place for Mephibosheth at His table.
There are those who were desperately lost in drug addiction, but God sent for them and they were saved. He forgave them, loved them, and invited them to His table. Someone sowed the seed of the Word in their lives. Others planted and watered those seeds. But God gave the increase and changed their lives forever (1 Corinthians 3:7).
Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and later wrongly jailed for something he didn’t do. But God kept him and brought him to a high place in the kingdom of Egypt. Years later, his brothers came before him, seeking food in the midst of an intense famine. Did Joseph take vengeance? No, he invited his brothers to his table and brought his family to safety. “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them” (Genesis 50:19-21).
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful…” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. With every temptation, He will provide a way of escape. God forgives. He will make us brand-new. Thank God that Christ is the One who sent for us. He called us and we will live with Him forever as members of the Church, His Bride. But God.
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26).
No matter what we face, we can always say, “But God.”
His Lovingkindness is Forever
A believer may die because of a painful battle with cancer, but God is there in the hospital room. The angels carry him to heaven because the King sent for him. He was gloriously saved and forgiven. His body will go to the grave, but his soul is present with the Lord. I hope this is a comfort to all those who have lost loved ones. They died. Cancer took them, a heart attack took them, physical disease took them. But God sent for them. The King said to each of them, “I love you, I died for you, I shed my blood for you. Now, I want you to come to My table in heaven.”
Glory to God, the King has sent for us. If you are not saved, you have an invitation from Him to come to His table. If you are backslidden, the King offers this promise: “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalm 89:32-34). He is saying, “I may have to chastise, but My lovingkindness and faithfulness to you will never fail.”
Once, we were crippled by the Fall. We were lame, from the soles of our feet to the tops of our heads. But the King came and said, “I love you, and if you will receive me, I will do something no one else will ever do. I will never leave you; I will never fail you; and I will take care of you forever.”
Now we are sons and daughters of the King. He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6).
After we were saved, we came into an assembly where the truth was spoken, and we started eating from God’s table. Day after day, we can grow in the knowledge of this truth. Now, we serve the King. There isn’t anything more precious than serving King Jesus.
As we can see from the story of Mephibosheth, there isn’t a single thing that can separate us from the love of God. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save all who are lost and crippled from the lameness of sin. As we feast with Him at His table, we will receive His strength and His life.
If you are backslidden today, return to fellowship with the King. Come and eat at His table again. Your place is still there. He will receive you gladly, love you special, and restore to you the peace you once enjoyed.
If you have never come to the King, please come to Him right now. Crippled as you are by the Fall, God still wants you to come and eat at His table. Come and be one of His children forever. Let Him clothe you with His robe of righteousness. He will cover you with His love, just as Mephibosheth was covered by David’s love. No one looked at his damaged feet. It wasn’t an issue. Your lameness is not an issue with God. Come to Jesus and give Him your life today. Come feast at the table that was set for you.
Father, I pray that You would stir our hearts now with Your providential mercy, love, and grace. Let the Holy Spirit operate inside our souls to make us living epistles, surrounded by the sheltering arms of the New Covenant, which cannot be changed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.