I suppose some of you, maybe even many of you are not familiar with the name Mephibosheth. Well, there are actually two Mephibosheth’s mentioned in Scripture. The older one was a son of King Saul, the brother of Jonathan. He is written about in 2 Samuel 21. The younger Mephibosheth, whose story I wish to discuss, is first mentioned in 2 Samuel 4:4. Along with King David, he is a central character in the historical narrative told in 2 Samuel 9. It is as follows:

 2 Samuel 9

 1 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” 7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”   9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So, Mephibosheth ate at David's[a] table, like one of the king's sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet.


Although 2 Samuel 9 is an Old Testament passage, and written long before Jesus walked the earth, it is a message that will teach us a lot about Him and what He has done for us. You see, all of the Old Testament points to Jesus, His message, His purpose and His work. So, let us look at what God is teaching us in His Word. This chapter is a short one, only 13 verses, but we can learn so much from it. To give you some background information, Saul was the 1st King of Israel and David was the 2nd King. Jonathan was King Saul’s son and was to be King after his Father. However, he knew that the Prophet Samuel had been told by God that David was to be King and Jonathan understood this was God’s will and he loved David and David loved him very much. They were very loyal to each other and promised to look after each other’s family. One time, Jonathan actually saved David’s life because his father, King Saul, was jealous of David and was determined to kill him. He had invited David to a meal so he could execute his plan. Jonathan warned David not to attend the King’s meal and saved him from sure death.

The story told here is a story of kindness, faithfulness, and restoration. It is a story of David showing mercy and grace when he did not have to or even need to. It is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ story, which is one about the kindness, faithfulness, restoration, grace, and mercy He shows towards us, His people. Grace is God’s unrelenting, undeserved favor and supernatural enablement. It is receiving many blessings from God that we do not deserve, and which require no reciprocity on our part. Mercy is God withholding from us the condemnation that we all deserve. The blessings we receive from God through Jesus are His willingness to give us both grace and mercy in an unlimited supply. You see we all have sinned in the past, and we are all sinners today, and we will all sin again in the future. Thankfully, God through Jesus has made provision for us so that we are or can be reconciled to Him and He has done this because He is a God of grace and mercy.

You may remember at the end of 1st Samuel Saul’s kingdom was destroyed and any who may be left in his family would likely be in hiding. Here, in 2 Samuel 9, it may seem that David is looking for those remaining members of Saul’s family, so he can kill them. That would be the normal response of a King in those times…they would want no competition for the throne. But no! Here David’s desire is to bless them. This is a picture of, or a foreshadowing of what God does in our lives in an even bigger way. When we allow Him, God always wishes to bless us, His people, even if we do not understand the blessing. Back in 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan, Saul’s son, saves David’s life and I have told you that they were very close and loved each other very much and that subsequently, they make a covenant/promise with each other to protect and bless each other’s family. David was loyal to Jonathan as Jesus is loyal to His followers. He promises to “never leave us or forsake us” and that He will be with us always. In the same way David and Jonathan had a covenant relationship, so God has made an everlasting covenant with His family, me, and you. He is our Father, and He loves us more than we love ourselves and He has shown that by sending Jesus to die for us, for you and me.

 So, what did David do for Mephibostheth and what does God do for us? Here is an incomplete list:

  1. Mephibosheth lived in a wasteland called Lo-Debar (which means “not worth mentioning”, or “nothing to say about it”). We often live in the wasteland of our minds, our poor decisions, and unclean thoughts.
  2. David makes the arrangements for Mephibosheth to be brought to Jerusalem. He did not give Mephibosheth a map and say get here as best you can. He went and got him He did the work as God also does the work for us in our lives. We are crippled, lame sinners who cannot save ourselves. As a shepherd searches for and finds His lost sheep and places them on His shoulders and brings them home. So, God takes the initiative. He goes out and finds us, He restores us and saves us (Luke 15:1-7). David sought out Mephibosheth as Jesus seeks us. In Luke 19:10 it says that Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost.
  3. David rescued him, he adopted him (Romans 8:15-17; Ephesians 1:5); (how do we know that Mephibosheth was adopted by King David - only sons of the King were allowed at the King’s table). He extended him totally unearned grace and mercy. The grace and mercy God extends us is totally unearned as well. As the song says, “although our sins are many, His mercy is more”. Mephibosheth had nothing to offer David. We have nothing to offer the Lord but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
  4. David restored Mephibosheth to a place of honor and so are we restored when we repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord. David’s loyalty and kindness were expressed concretely by allowing Mephibosheth to eat at his table. In the ancient Near East during David’s time, eating with someone expressed commitment to protect that person. We will be invited to join in the Great Messianic Banquet to eat at Jesus’ table. He takes care of us, His children. David shared his bounty (food and sustenance) with Mephibosheth and Jesus shares His bounty with us.

This message here is an encouragement for believers. We see from this historical narrative that King David was a covenant keeping, promise keeping King who became a father to Mephibosheth. We know from Scripture that our God is a covenant keeping Father. The Bible says that He is unchanging (Malachi 3:6), so He will always be a covenant keeping Father. His promises are true and trustworthy. He is loyal. He is faithful. He promises to never forsake those who seek Him. David showed Mephibosheth an incredible amount of grace and mercy, yet God gives us much more. Romans 5 calls it super-abounding grace. That means no matter how much we sin, God has the grace to cover it. Does that give us the freedom to sin any time we wish to? NO! As new creatures in Christ Jesus, we are dead to sin, and we have new hearts who desire to do God’s will and honor Him with our lives. As believers, we may lapse into sin, but we should never be leaping into sin.

Before I conclude, I would like to spend a little more time talking about grace, and particularly, God’s grace. Understanding God’s grace is vitally important to having the assurance that your membership in God’s family will never change. God’s grace sets us free from having to try to please Him by the good things we do. We have been bought, saved, and set free. However, because our God is a gracious God, He has changed our hearts and so it will be our desire to do good works to show our gratitude to Him for what He has done for us. Know this…if you are truly saved, you cannot be unsaved.  So, the question is? As a saved member of God’s forever family, do you think that in order to please Him, you must serve Him with your good works? Many feel this way and spend their ministry time trying to check off a list of good things they are doing. This does not honor God. We are saved by God’s grace when we repent and believe…turn and trust. If you think that you earn God’s favor by doing good things, you will never have assurance of your salvation and will be less effective as an ambassador for Christ. This type of religion kills the spirit, pains the heart, and hurts the church. It wears us out when we work in our own strength. We must use His power through the Holy Spirit. Remember Isaiah 64:6! It says that our best works are but filthy rags before the Lord. So, we must live the grace life, which is a life of freedom. Does that mean we are not supposed to do good works? Ephesians 2:10 answers that question for us. We are saved unto good works that God had planned for you and me since before the foundation of the world. But these works are not a means of salvation, they are evidence of salvation. The key is not working for Him, it is Him working through us. It is an exchanged life. He gave His life for us…He gives Himself to us…Christ now lives in us. It now becomes our working, out of a thankful heart! Doing this frees us from having a list of things we must do. We trust Him to lead us and His power to sustain us. We work, by His power, out of our love and thankfulness for what He has done for us. We then live an energized life. If we work in our own strength, we will ultimately fail. But praise the Lord, we have His strength which gives us purpose, passion, and joy. No matter how much sin we have or have had in our lives, God has the mercy and grace to cover it.  How do we get this grace and mercy? By turning from our sin and trusting in Jesus for our salvation. Also, by obedience and humility. God’s Word says, “I desire obedience and I resist the proud and give grace to the humble”. Let us all strive to be humble, obedient servants of the Lord.

One last thing and this is a warning I would like you to take note of: The last line in the chapter reminds us again that Mephibosheth was lame. We must always be reminded that although we have been forgiven, we are still lame, we are still weak, and we often linger in our sin. It is not God’s desire for us to do this. So, let us take hold of what God has freely offered us. By doing so, we can live a life of joy, of happiness, of thanksgiving…a life pleasing to our heavenly Father…In Jesus’ name and for His renown!!


Thank you Tofey.  A beautiful and timely picture of God's grace, mercy and love for us during Thanksgiving Week.