And David said, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" 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." 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."
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. 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. 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 table, like one of the king's sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet. (2 Samuel 9:1-3 and 9-13, NASB)
He was living, from all appearances, in hiding. From an early age, he had known life on the run. He was a man out of place, a man perhaps filled with thoughts of what might have been. And those "might have been" thoughts had many variations. Not only was he the last surviving member of a royal line long since defunct, his nurse had dropped him during the first escape and both his feet were crippled as a result. If only things had been different ...
When I listened to this particular passage recently, I found I had to back up and play it again. It only spans thirteen verses, so it only played for about two and a half minutes. But the story found a spot in my mind that I just couldn't shake either that day during my drive home or in the time since. In a crystal clear reflection of the generosity of God, David asks the question, "Who can I show kindness to for the sake of me dear friend Jonathan?" The answer? A young, lame man by the name of Mephibosheth ... Jonathan's son.
The story tells of the servant (Ziba) who happened to work for Saul and Jonathan in former times. Somebody knows his history and he finds himself in front of King David. Heaven knows what might have gone through the man's mind when he was first summoned, but I've no doubt he was relieved to hear David was only after information ... and information was something Ziba had on this particular subject.
Now, turn your thoughts to Mephibosheth. We don't know much about his life, other than where he was living and how he got there. And, of course, we know that he was crippled in both his feet. By whatever means, he is brought to the very same King David as was Ziba and he is prepared to be very contrite. Then, the story takes its turn. David, a man of considerable passion and a strong love for Jonathan, tells Mephibosheth that he doesn't ever have to worry about anything for the rest of his life. He has, by royal edict, restored possessions, granted servants, and given him a seat with the princes of Israel. Mephibosheth will now and forever more take all his meals at the king's table.
How much like our gracious and loving Father this story is. God has granted me, a man of similar ailments as plagued Mephibosheth, a seat at the table of the King. And not only do I hold that honor right here and now, but I have a guarantee of a place at His table yet to come in a place that transcends all imagination. And when I get to that table, I'll find I don't have bad knees, or a weak heart, or easily-sprained ankles, or any of a dozen other physical ailments. I'll sit there (or maybe fall down) and bask in the glow of my King in a worship feast beyond all banquets I've ever known.
As I hobble down the Crooked Path, I can almost feel the infirmities lifting away. Sure, I have a place at the King's earthly table now, but I can get positively giddy just thinking about the table yet to come. My feet feel lighter and the air is somehow more refreshing than before. I have a place at the King's table ... just like Mephibosheth.
- First and foremost, do you have a place at the King's table? He's holding one just for you, you know.
- Do you struggle with the thought that you are welcome at the King's table? Do you find the idea more than a little foreign, or can you envision it as the most welcoming place in the universe?
- How about your "crippled feet"? Is your focus at times too much on them, or can you get past the pain and struggle enough to enjoy your permanent place at the King's table? I know I'm ready to feast ... are you?
NASB - Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.