Mephibosheth was left over from a family disgraced and defeated. He was lame, unable to walk straight. A dead dog is how he saw himself. But King David showed him the grace and kindness of God. Let us live in that same grace. (2 Samuel 9)
Speaker(s): John Love
11:00 AM on 9/12/2021
P. Love –
Praise God! What a great song! Amazing. Sedrick, who is in the middle, is a police officer. He pulls people over. You
can pull people over, “license and registration” [he’s singing it!]. Everybody would be so
cooperative. Then sing that song to them. You can even write them a ticket and they’d still love
you. That was beautiful. Praise God! Lord, thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lord [Prayer]. You
may do what you all long to do, sit down! We all know when the pastor says, would you like to
remain standing? We’re all saying, no! No. I want to sit down. Turn in your Bibles to 2 Samuel 9 as
we look at a familiar story from the Scriptures. It is a story of that young man whose name is
somewhat difficult to pronounce, Mephibosheth. Call him whatever you like. Mephie. Meph. That
guy. It doesn’t really matter. His story, think about it and we’ll take a look at the story together
His story is our story. Because what we could say in summation about
Mephibosheth and what we read about him in 2 Samuel 9 is that his life is all about a promise.
Just like ours is all about a promise. And when you read his story, you come away with this
great understanding that God and his relationship with us, it’s based on a promise. It’s not
based on our performance. How greatful are we for that. None of us are here this morning, none
of us have learned to trust Jesus, none of us have given our hearts to him because he saw in us
a great performance. He saw somebody that was worthy to be saved. We should say at the
outset and people need to know this, our world needs to know this, Jesus didn’t die for worthy
people. He died for those that were without strength.
I was in that category. I don’t know about you. He died for people that were actively sinning. When Jesus found you, were you righteous? Were you a good boy? A good girl? Maybe your mother or father told you that and you actually
believed it. None of us were. When Jesus found us, we were actively sinning. Practicing it.
Living in it. Even, let’s be honest, glorying in it. Without strength. Sinners. Ungodly. Let’s get
right down to it. Romans the 5th chapter says it. Enemies. Hard for us to even imagine that there
was a time we were enemies of God. We might have even said if someone suggested that to
us, no, I’m not an enemy of God. Maybe I just don’t like him so much, but I’m not an enemy.
Some people say I don’t have any enemies. Wonderful. I have news for even those people. You
were an enemy of God. Active. That’s what the Scripture tells us.
This story of Mephibosheth is a story of God’s kindness. In fact, three times it’s mentioned in this 9th chapter about the
kindness of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God. All of which none of us could have
deserved or ever would deserve. Pastor Stevens over the years, over the decades didn’t he drill
that truth into our hearts? It’s given to the unworthy. It’s given to the undeserving. You cannot
earn it. No merit on our part would ever warrant God to extend his grace to us. It’s divine favor.
It’s freely given on the basis of who God is, not on the basis of who we are. God’s grace. We still
sing about it. We still marvel at it. And we even sing a hymn that goes like this: “Your grace
STILL amazes me.” After how many years? It depends on when you first met that grace. For
me, 40 something years. This grace, this kindness speaks of the mercy, the favor of God toward
the undeserving. And that was Mephibosheth.
As this 9th chapter opens, vs. 1. What does this mean? David is at the zenith of his kingdom. Things could not have been going better for David as king of Israel. He put Israel back on the map militarily. Spiritually speaking, the nation was healthy. David’s leadership was unparalleled. David could have been occupied with David, but
he wasn’t. David was occupied with a promise that he made to his friend Jonathan when
Jonathan was still alive. His vow and his covenant and his promise he made to Jonathan was I
will extend kindness to you and all of your family while you are alive and after you are gone. And
David, after the death of Jonathan, is now thinking about that promise. Maybe David had some
aids that could have said David, it’s not that important that you as the king of this nation be
thinking about whether any of Saul’s descendants are still alive or not. What you need to be
thinking about is the kingdom and just moving us forward and the blessing of God. David said,
no. I made a promise, and I’m going to keep that promise.
David could do that because David himself was the recipient of God’s great grace. We heard P. Schaller share about it just recently, the base line, right? David, when he takes out Goliath, he says praise God. God did that. David
when he commits adultery and brings reproach on the name of Christ, David confesses that, but
God says, David, that doesn’t change who you are and that doesn’t change my relationship with
you. We all need to remember this great truth. Because the devil will use his accusations to
cause us to stumble inwardly. To look away from God because our hearts are filled with
unworthiness and we need to remind ourselves that there is that base line that God has towards us, and his love for us is based remember on his character and his promise and not our
performance. Our performance – some days we have good days, don’t we? They may not last
but for a few moments, but we have some good days.
But then we have some bad days. What God says is whether they are good days or bad days I want you to know this: Goodness and mercy will show up for every single one of them and will follow you all the days of your life. And
with goodness and mercy always following us, you know that we will be dwelling in the house of
the Lord. Look at us today. This is where we are. You might have had a bad week. You might
have had a bad day. You might have had a bad few moments. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t
matter. David had promised both Saul and Jonathan would not do something that all previous
dynasties typically did which was what? Exterminate their descendants. In other words, when
one king came to power, he had a right to destroy all other descendants, all of the relatives of
the previous dynasty for fear that that dynasty would become resurrected and be a threat to that
David said as far as Saul and Jonathan were concerned, I’m not going to do that. I’m
not going to exterminate any of your descendants when he would become king. In the case of
Mephibosheth, not only did David keep his promise but he went so far beyond it. And haven’t we
experienced the same thing from the hand of God? Not only have we received his promises, but
has he not done exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think? Hasn’t he given us more
than we can ever imagine or deserve? Hasn’t he given us an inheritance that nothing in this
world could ever offer us. He has and even more. Remember David is king. He could dispense
the riches of his kingdom as he saw fit. What a beautiful picture of the Son of David, the Lord
Jesus Christ, who through his death, resurrection and ascension can now dispense his spiritual
riches to all those needy sinners in the world. It’s incredible.
When we go out and evangelize and tell people about Christ and share the Gospel with people, if they only knew how rich in mercy, how rich in love, how rich in his grace he is toward them. They talk as if they don’t need
that. They don’t want to appear to be needy or beggars before God. I don’t mind being a beggar.
I don’t mind being needy. I don’t mind coming before God and say God, I would like to
experience all you have to give me. Pour out your grace. Lavish it upon me Lord because I need
it. What did David do with Mephibosheth? He asked about him and they said, yes. There is one.
Saul has a grandson. Jonathan has a son. His name is Mephibosheth. But you should know this
David. He is a cripple. How did it happen? Jonathan was running with his son in the heat of a
battle. He was five years old at the time and he fell upon his son. And he became cripple for life.
Think about it. Mephibosheth, crippled by a fall.
Then think about us. You and I crippled by a fall. Where did our fall take place? In the Garden of Eden. Adam fell and all of his descendants have become crippled ever since. Oh not physically. Maybe we can walk into this chapel and
walk out of this chapel without any assistance at all, but you know that we are crippled in our
souls. We cannot walk straight in the sight of God. We cannot, if you will, get it straight.
Anybody say you need to straighten up. We should answer, I can’t. I’m permanently crooked.
Can’t straighten up. Can’t straighten out. Can’t get my act together. Someone says, you got to
get your act together. You know what God says? I cancelled that act. I got a whole new creation
ready for you. Your act has been cancelled. I don’t even want to see it or hear about it. I’m going
to give you a brand new beginning through my son, Jesus.
What did he do when he found out this crippled young man was still living, hiding out for fear that perhaps one day David would start looking for the descendants of Saul and Jonathan. He called for Mephibosheth. It kind of
makes you wonder what kind of thoughts might have been going through the mind of
Mephibosheth when he’s hiding out in his shack and the limousine from the palace pulls up at
his shack and someone comes out and knocks on his door. Are you Mephibosheth? I guarantee
you he probably wanted to say, no. He lives a couple doors down from here! He said, yes. They
said this limousine is for you. Get in. The king wants to see you. What’s going through the mind
– listen. If Mephibosheth had believed what his grandfather Saul told him about David then his
heart would be filled with fear. But if Mephibosheth believed what Jonathan told him about
David, his heart would be rejoicing. Two different people.
One hated David. One was jealous of David. The other one loved David and was willing to lay down his life for David. What kind of thoughts were going through his mind? We don’t know. David was the one reaching out to
Mephibosheth. We don’t read this story. All we read is Mephibosheth is hiding like us. That was
us. Once we were hiding. We wouldn’t dare come into the presence of God. I don’t know about
you, but my experience was nobody had to convince me I was a sinner. So often we hear
people say, no, I don’t think I’m so bad. We always hear the proverbial phrase, I think I’m better than Hitler. Wonderful. Praise God. That’s amazing! You’re on the road to self-righteousness!
Listen, I needed no convincing. I knew it. I often think as a young person my mother had a stack
of magazines that she had gotten from the Catholic church. There was a big pile of them at the
bottom of the staircase. My brothers and I lived up on the third floor of the house and every day,
every day of my young life I would walk down and on top of all those magazines was the one
with the image and the picture of Noah and the Ark and they are on the ark.
They are surviving. All the other people are drowning in the water. It was an image, a picture of God’s judgment.
Every single day I would walk down the bottom of those stairs, look at that image and say to
myself, it’s just a matter of time before I’ll be judged. It may not be with a flood, but it may be
some other means that God uses or exercises. I just knew it was going to happen. Why?
Because that’s what he was. He was the great judge of the universe. He was Santa Claus. He
was making a list, checking it twice. He knew who was naughty. He knew who was nice. And
worst of all, he was coming to town! I knew. And if he wasn’t coming to town, I was going to
have to go and see him. And in my heart I knew that. So you can imagine how confused I was
when someone first shared the Gospel with me and said things like God loves you. God died for
you. God has nothing for you but his grace and salvation and his forgiveness and his joy and his
I couldn’t even process that because all I could think of was I was going to be judged. I
think Mephibosheth must have thought the same way. It’s judgment day. Because like us,
without strength, enemies, sinners, ungodly. Yes, we were all that and more. In fact, when
Mephbosheth finally shows up before David he said, I know. I know. I’m a dead dog. That
should be a reminder to all of us. How did God find us? Yes, those things we mentioned a
moment ago but even beyond that, the Bible says in Ephesians 2:1 we were dead in our trespasses
and sins. Mephibosheth said I’m a dead dog. God said you were dead too, but I quickened you.
Made you alive. And I did it through my grace and I did it through my work on the cross and I did
it even though you are undeserving and may remain that way for the rest of your life. I think to
me the best verse of this story is 2 Samuel 9:13. He was still lame on both his feet. To me that’s
the most exciting verse in the whole chapter.
You say, why? Because nothing really changed. What is the story about? Is it about Mephibosheth improving upon himself, becoming a better person? No, it’s about the promise of David. In much the same way, sometimes you and I we do seek improvement. Sometimes praise God we are going from glory to glory and strength to
strength. Sometimes we see the little conversions that happen in our lives and praise God we
are not the same people we used to be. Because the power of God has changed us. You and I
can’t change ourselves. Friends, if you don’t know Christ and you are looking for change, you
are better off checking the Coke machine for change than you are trying to find it within yourself.
We don’t have the power to change. God calls us to change and he gives us the power to pull it
off. He does it. And he did it with Mephibosheth. David said to him, you will eat at my table, four
times in this one chapter he told him that. I’m taking you. I’m adopting you.
You will be as one of my own sons. You will eat at my table continually. Imagine, sitting at David’s table. You can’t. I
can’t. Guess what? Ephesians 2 says when you are in Christ, you are seated together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus. That’s your position. That position never changes. You don’t wake up
some mornings because you are having a bad day or you made some poor decisions and you
find yourself sitting somewhere where you wish you weren’t seated. No, you are forever seated
at God’s table. Your place is secure at God’s table. Nothing is ever going to change the fact that
you are seated at God’s table. And that table is a table of grace. Later in 2 Samuel 21 through
some extenuating circumstances that we don’t have time to get into, some of Saul’s
descendants were actually chosen to be slain. It wasn’t David’s choice, but David actually
endorsed it for reasons that we understand if you read that portion.
But when that happened, one of the first things that David said is okay you can choose some of Saul’s descendants who did such ungodly things. I will let you take them out, but you don’t touch Mephibosheth. He said
that. And actually in that passage, there were two men whose names were Mephibosheth but
guess what? He knew who the right Mephibosheth was. You want to take out that
Mephibosheth? Go ahead. Don’t touch this Mephibosheth. The same way that God looks at you
and I in our lives. When you’re in Christ, you become one of God’s untouchables. The devil
doesn’t touch us. This world, although it tries, he says they are mine. I paid a high price for
them. I redeemed them from the slave market of sin. They belong to me. Don’t touch them. You
want to get to them? You got to go through me. Because once Mephibosheth was part of
David’s family, he could not be touched, reminding us that there is what? There is now therefore no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.
Isn’t that good news? No condemnation. Not now. Remember Pastor Stevens used to say the original language says, “no condemnation, now and forever.” That’s the message of the Gospel of grace. That’s why it’s such a winning
message. That’s why it has the power to draw men to this message. Mephibosheth experienced
it. We experienced it. Jesus said, he that believeth is not condemned. Isn’t that beautiful? He
that what? Believes. That’s all. Because friends, that’s all we can do is believe. Because think
about it. When you believe, you believe, you are doing the only thing once you done it you
haven’t really done anything. You can’t point to it and say this is what I did. I just had an attitude
of faith that welcomed all that God was and all that he wanted to give me into my heart. And
there was no condemnation once that happened.
There may be some that listen to me this morning and say, you know. I’m not crippled. I’m not a Mephibosheth. But we are. We all have been crippled by that fall that took place in Genesis in the third chapter. None of us can get it
right. None of us can walk straight before God. None of us can get it straight. We are just
crooked by nature. Once we get that new nature, once we understand the nature of the base
line, everything changes. Everything changes. Paul said it, 1 Corinthians 15:10 “I am what I am by the
grace of God.” Some people could say that ain’t much. Well praise God it’s something and it’s
because of grace. It might not be much but we can also say this, God is not finished with me
yet. There are more chapters yet to be written. In much the same way that David sought out
Mephibosheth, God sought us out to call us, to sit us at his table forever. He never lost his
lameness. He never lost his crookedness.
The promise that David gave Mephibosheth did not come with a stipulation. Something like this: once you are part of the family, Mephibosheth, once you are in the house, once you are at this table we expect you to change. Improve your
condition. Those would be words that are conditional in their nature. But David did not one time
say that, not one time bring that up. He didn’t sit Mephibosheth down at the table and say, listen.
Now that I brought you here you know that it was because of my goodness. You know that it
was because of my grace. You know you didn’t deserve this. But hey, there is a responsibility
that comes with sitting at my table. David never used such words. He never borrowed such
language. He just said, Mephibosheth, here is the deal. We have a president that says that all
the time. Here’s the deal. I’m not sure he even knows what the deal is but David knew what the
deal was. David knew what the deal was. Here is the deal, Mephibosheth.
I chose you. You didn’t choose me. You will sit at my table as one of my children forever and nothing, nothing,
nothing will ever change that and nothing, nothing, nothing will ever separate you from being
one of my children seated at my table. In other words, the promise wasn’t based on
Mephibosheth’s performance. And that’s good to know. Let me tell you why. Because some time
after what we read about with David and Mephibosheth, Absalom, David’s son, conspires
against his father and hopes to take the kingdom from David. Did God call Absalom to be king?
No, he did not. So what he did was wrong. What he did was evil. But this conspiracy gained
momentum. It gained such momentum that David was forced to flee from his throne. He had to
get away because the Bible seems to indicate if Absalom’s men even found him, they would kill
him. There is a great amount of time that David is forced to flee from Jerusalem.
And the story gets even more interesting. David flees, and I’m sure it must have crossed David’s mind as he
looked around and saw those who were loyal and stood with him even during the Absalom
conspiracy. He must have wondered where is Mephibosheth? Because he was missing. He
wasn’t there. And Ziba who is mentioned in this 9th chapter who was a servant of Saul and knew
– he said oh David. You’ve been looking for Mephibosheth? Yes, crossed my mind. Where is
he? He’s not here. He decided to cast his lot with Absalom. He has been disloyal. He has been
unfaithful. Imagine David, all that you did for him and look at how he treats you. This is what
Ziba told David. Well, when you get to 2 Sam. 19 the conspiracy has ended and God once
again reinstates David in his kingdom. And out of no where, guess who shows up?
Mephibosheth! And David just straight out asks him.
He said, hey, where have you been? When I was forced out of Jerusalem and had to flee for my life, where were you? And he tells this story. Ziba was supposed to get a donkey for me and get me some supplies, but he didn’t come
through. The guy left me sitting, and you know David I’m a cripple. I can’t make my way out of
Jerusalem like this. I was stuck here. David you know I wanted to be with you. No one has ever
loved me like you. No one has ever been – and now you got the story from Ziba and now you
got the story from Mephibosheth, so David I imagine, David, who are you going to believe? Listen to what David said: it doesn’t matter. What do you mean it doesn’t matter? It would matter
if I told Mephibosheth if he is going to sit at my table, he’s got to be faithful. He’s got to be loyal.
He’s got to be committed. He’s got to prove himself worthy. But I never said that. All I said to
him was you have a seat at my table forever.
That’s my promise. So it doesn’t matter. Wow! We sometimes think it should matter because Mephibosheth has been disloyal. He has been unfaithful. What a beautiful example of the life of David. And what a reminder to all of us. You
and I, all we are are the recipients of God’s great grace. But something happens when you
receive and you respond to the grace of God. You know what it makes us? It should make all of
us good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Peter talked about that. He said in 1 Peter
4:10-11 as you receive the gift, receive the grace of God, learn what it means to become a good
steward of the manifold grace of God. Dispense it to others. Give it away the same way you
received it freely. Don’t give it to anyone with stipulations. Don’t hand it out with conditions. Just
give it the same way you received it as a gift of grace. Learn to be a good steward of the
manifold grace of God. Thank God when David called Mephibosheth, he didn’t say you can sit
at my table as long as you are – fill in the blank.
As long as you are faithful. As long as you are loyal. As long as you are fruitful. As long as you are committed not to bring any reproach upon this kingdom. As long as you don’t fail to show forth the praises of him who called you out of
darkness and brought you into his marvelous light. No such promises had to be made by
Mephibosheth. It was all based on the grace that was in David’s heart because it had been
placed there from the heart of God. We worship the God of all grace in 1 Peter 5:10. He’s not
the God of some grace. He’s not the God of leniency. He’s the God whose justice was satisfied
at the cross and his now free to dispense that grace to whosoever will. Anyone can come. Some
people say I cannot come. You don’t know what I’ve done. Clearly those kinds of people do not
know what God has done for them.
Because when you understand what God has done for you, you will never bring up the fact about what you have done. It may have been bad. It may have been awful. You might be an ex-con. You might have a very riddled past with all kinds of sin, questionable activities, deceitfulness. You name it. You can just draw up a whole list but we
come into the presence of the God of all grace, we find our place at his table, and everything
about our lives changes. Not because we have to but because his grace has the power to
change us. He does it. David himself motivated by grace, moved by grace. Much the same way
that you and I are. By the way, in closing, don’t ever expect to graduate from grace. Don’t ever
expect to not need it any longer. Don’t become like the Galatians. Paul wrote to them in the third
chapter in the Book of Galatians and he said, by the way, who has cast you under their spell?
He referred to them as idiotic Galatians, non-thinking fools.
Let me ask you a question: How did you begin this life with God? Was it by the hearing of faith or was it by some means of law keeping? Did you do something to merit this? Did you do something to earn God’s favor? Did
you do something that placed you in Christ? The answer was clear: No. Then he asked a
question: having begun in the power of the Spirit, do you think you’re going to move on into
maturity through the flesh? No. That which is of the flesh is flesh, will always be flesh and can
never be anything but flesh. Ours is a spiritual life. Our inheritance is spiritual in its nature. Our
relationship with God is based upon his Spirit within us. Let’s not become “Galatianary” in our
thinking. Let’s never lose sight of what God did for us, because what God did for us, he
promises to continue to do for us. What he continues to do for us today, he promises to bring –
listen. I’m telling you based on what the Word of God says, as you move into the future, I got
great news for you.
There is future grace waiting for you. It’s waiting for you. It cannot be otherwise. We will never step out of the realm of being in Christ, never step out of the realm of the grace that we stand in (Romans 5:2). It’s never going to be anything but grace. It’s grace that saves us, grace that keeps us, and grace that some day will present us faultless and blameless
and spotless before his throne of glory. That’s why our lives are to be a testimony, a testament
to what? To his amazing grace. All to the glory of his grace. If it was any other way, it would be
glory to God and me. No, no. That’s too destructive, because there isn’t a human being that
ever lived or will ever live that can deal with glory. We were not made to be glorified. We were
made to glorify the God of all grace. And we can do that. Why? Because he sought us out. He
called us. He summoned us. He adopted us. He said you have a seat at my table and you are
going to stay there forever.
Years and years later, Mephibosheth still at David’s table. Mephibosheth, do you walk straight now? No, still can’t. What has it meant to you to sit at this table all these years? I have gotten to know the heart of David like no one. What do you base your life upon if you have no ability to walk the way you should? I base it upon his promise. It
wasn’t about my performance when he summoned me. It still isn’t about my performance today.
It’s all about his great promise. And all of his promises the last time we check are all “in him” and
“yea” and “amen.” Not one of them will ever fail. Not one of them will ever fall to the ground,
because we are not talking about another person who has given us a promise. We are talking
about God. And God is not a man that he should lie. Neither the son of man that he should
repent. Hath he spoken it? Yes. Shall he not make it good?
He will. He always does. Not one word of God will ever fail. Do you know what that does to us? It makes us secure. It reminds us that no matter what our behavior is like and no matter how many sinful struggles we continue to
deal with even long after we first accepted Christ, that our place at his table never changes.
Amen. Let’s pray together.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.