June 28, 1992
This is one of the sweetest chapters in Scripture. Here we see an undeserved kindness shown to the grandson of a man who tried for many years to kill David, Saul. David is the closest king in the history of Israel to what the Lord Jesus Christ is to God's people today. As we follow the record of David's reign, we find an account of it in Acts 13:36.
Ch. 9 is probably close to the middle of David's reign, because Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son who was only 5 when dad and grand dad were killed, has a young son of his own at this time, v. 12.
In this chapter we see David setting out to keep a pledge that he had made to his best friend, Jonathan. It had been about 20 years or so, since David came to the throne. Why did he wait so long to fulfill this pledge? This is a good question, with no real answer. Maybe he had been so busy that he forgot or maybe he put it off.
The point is that David, after many years, remembers this pledge and sets about to fulfill it. This pledge is found in 1 Sam 20:15 & 42.
Observe some things about this pledge:
1) It had been made in secret. No one knew about it except the two of them, and one of them was now dead.
2) It had been made many years before, maybe 30 or 40 years.
3) It had been made in a time of adversity.
4) In looking at the pledge, notice that they were both concerned about their children and grandchildren. They were living in the future, they were concerned about how their present situation could be turned into an advantage for their posterity.
We are living in a very corrupt and selfish generation. It is almost totally void of any concern for its children and grandchildren. The next generation is being sacrificed on the alter of covetousness and self-love through abortion. "I'm spending my children's inheritance," is the them of this generation. And the younger generation is serious about euthanasia.
Pro. 13:22, both Jonathan and David were good men.
Until people return to a genuine concern about the future generations, we will continue to have the social problems which we have.
I was at a counsel meeting in September of 91 over the zoning issue. I was sitting in a place where I could not see the man who spoke, but whoever spoke made the comment that the farmer is only a steward of the land. It is not his but he is holding it in stewardship for the following generations; therefore, he will have more of a concern for that land than the state will have. He said that the state is not the steward, but the family.
I was surprised to say the least, but the speaker spoke one of the most basic principles of Scripture. God owns the land and the family is only a steward over the property. God has intrusted that property to them to hold for the following generations.
David and Jonathan were concerned about the following generations and even now trying to protect them.
We must pray and work for a return to this kind of thinking.
5) One more point here. We made a pledge at salvation, are we keeping it??
2 Sam 7:15-17, the Lord makes a promise to David of an everlasting kingdom, a kindness to his family like of which there is nothing ever recorded. David had done nothing to deserve this kindness, yet the Lord does this.
7:18, David goes into the house of the Lord to thank Him for the promised kindness to his family. Then Ch. 8, the Lord blesses David in his wars with the enemies of God. God protects him and gives him victory after victory.
Then, Ch. 9:1, And David said...
Times are good and David wants to keep the covenant that he and his freund made many years ago. It would have been so easy for David to now ignore the covenant which he made when things were not so good, but he remembers and he moves to keep the promise.
It is easy to make all kinds of promises when we have nothing. Do we keep our promises when times are good?
Ziba is brought to David's attention. Ziba was a rascal to say the least. Since the death of Saul and Jonathan, Ziba had their estate and was treating it just like his own. Now he is brought before the king.
David inquires for someone left of Jonathan's house. Ziba mentions that Jonathan has one surviving son.
the kindness of God.. David realized the source of the kindness which he was experiencing. (After all, what do we have that we did not receive?) It was not David's kindness, but God's. Remember what the Lord said about the cup of cold water? When we show kindness, it is in God's stead.
V. 4, shows us the evil of Ziba; he was a rascal. Mephibosheth was the heir to Saul's property so he should have already been there. David will make it right, but Ziba should not have had it. Under the law, the state could not confiscate the property of the wicked one. The property reverted back to the family which it was assigned to by the Lord. As Saul's only living heir, the property belonged to Mephibosheth, not to Ziba.
Ziba.. His name means - Plantation or Strength. He was indeed a strong man: he looked King David right in the eye and lied to him several times over.
1) Why hadn't he already turned the estate over to this son?
2) Notice what he says about the son.. he is lame in his feet. Why did not Ziba let David find this out for himself?
This should have tipped King David off concerning Ziba, but it got completely past the king. Every time I read this story about David, Ziba and Mephibosheth, I get upset at king David.
But, David sets out to make this right. If the man David would make such a thing right, we can rest assured that the Son of David will also make it right. He will deliver the inheritances of the Godly to the people of God and He will judge the wicked Zibas of all time. And they will not pull the wool over the eyes of the Son of David.
V. 6, Mephibosheth falls on his fact before King David. I think that this is one of the most tender verses in the Scripture. This gives us an insight into the personality of Mephibosheth.
1) Mephibosheth was not looking for any favors because he was handicapped.
2) He did not hold the death of his parents against David even though David was now on the throne which would have been rightfully Mephibosheth's had Jonathan lived.
3) Ziba did not steal from Mephibosheth because Mephibosheth deserved it (if such a thing were possible). Rather Ziba robbed him because he was who he was: easy going and gentle.
David does two things here.
1) David promises to restore to him all the land which Ziba had usurped from the house of Saul. This was not a kindness; this was owed to Mephibosheth.
The Zibas of our day have quietly subverted and usurped away from God's people their just heritage because they have not been vigilant. Mephibosheth should have been beating on David's door as soon as he knew anything about his just inheritance. I believe that David would have made it right back then.
Maybe Mephibosheth did not realize that he was an heir to Saul's land, but I do not think it could have been hidden from him. I don't know how he could miss it.
2) Then David offers to let Mephibosheth eat at his table continually, not for his sake, but for Jonathan's sake. This kindness was for Mephibosheth's father's sake.
V. 8. And he bowed himself.... This sounds like David's response to the King in 7:18.
Mephibosheth had done nothing to deserve this kindness of the king. In fact, he was reaping the result of Saul's sin. His grandfather ran from God after David, blamed David for his problems instead of facing them and now his grandson was a helpless cripple.
God had shown undeserved kindness to David, kindness beyond words. Now, David looks for someone to show kindness to.
I am truly disappointed with David in this whole situation. He should have made it clear that Ziba had robbed his master's son of his just inheritance.
Ziba had prospered greatly off Mephiboshth's estate. He had treated it just like his own even though he was only a servant in the household which rightly owned it.
I cannot speak for what is going on in Ziba's mind, but from what takes place after this, I would say that right then he was planing how to regain the property from its rightful owner.
Ziba means Plantation or Strength. Ziba was a greedy man, desired a lot of wealth and lied to obtain 1/2 of the estate when David had to flee.
David told Ziba what he wanted and Ziba sprang at the chance. Here he is in charge of the large estate with the master away at David's table. He will treat it as his own and enjoy the prosperity of it. Mephibosheth only had one child and a wife to support, whereas Ziba had at least 36 to support. Poor Mephibosheth, he came out on the short end here.
Now, some points about this situation here in Chapter 9 Observe:
1) Even thought Saul had spent many years trying to kill David as a threat to his throne, David sees no threat from the house of Saul. God has established David, and he fears not what man may do to him. So now he seeks to do good for someone of Saul's house. But not for Saul's sake, but for Jonathan's sake.
If God has established us, we need not fear what man might do to us.
2) Have we experienced the kindness of the Son? If so, we are to show that same kindness to others.
Gal. 6:10 Do we look for opportunities to do good? I am confident that we have many more opportunities than we take advantage of.
We cannot overlook Heb. 13:1 & 2.
God has shown us undeserved patience & kindness for His Son's sake. We should respond by showing kindness to others, even to those outside of our group and even outside of the faith; for the Son's sake.
A) God the Father is seeking for people to show kindness to, but that kindness is not for our sake nor for our father's sake. Both we and they have been at war with the King. But this kindness shown to us and that we are to show to others, is for Jesus' sake. It is His work that merited any favor from the Father.
B) We need to show kindness rather than cutting them up and chewing on them. Ziba wanted to be sure that David knew that Mephibosheth was not a complete man.
Do we look at that person's weakness and problem areas, or do we look for ways that we can show kindness to them?
3) Mephibosheth did not do any thing to deserve this kindness,
nor did David.
4) Mephibosheth's grand dad spent at least 10 years trying to kill David, yet David showed kindness to the boy. Do we hold grudges?
5) Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. Two men responded
in two ways:
A) Ziba, stole all he had.
B) David tried to restor all he had been robbed of. David looked past his faults and first did what was right, then went beyond what was proper to do.
Mephibosheth was crippled in an area of his life. Instead of David taking advantage of him and/or criticizing him, he looked for a kindness that he could do for him.
6) This world needs some one to show kindness to them, compassion and love. Not only this world, but Christians need this too.
A) Read the Psalms of David as he describes the tender mercies of the Lord. If we expect to obtain mercy, we must show mercy, Mat. 5:7. David obtained mercy, so he showed mercy. He showed mercy here by requiring that Mephibosheth stay in the king's palace and eat at his table. Latter, when David got in his mess with the woman, he obtained mercy.
7) We have all inherited a lameness from our grandfather Adam.
A) If we look for someone without fault to show kindness to, we will indeed be in a sad state of affairs.
B) Of course, the beautiful picture here:
We are lame because of sin, we cannot walk.
We are under the sentence of death for rebellion both on our own part and on our Grand dad's part. (Adam)
God, the Son of David, Jesus, wants to show us mercy. He sought us, coming to seek and to save that which was lost.
We did not seek Him and when He found us, He adopts us as one of His own children.
8) David exalted true religion here as he intercedes for the fatherless, James 1:27.
9) Mephibosheth humbles himself before David even though he was the son of a Prince, and even though the property rightly was his.
I believe that Mephibosheth is the one who is the just and righteous one in the whole situation with Ziba, David and himself. Even though he was robbed and lied about, he never lost his humility. Mephibosheth would make a good topic for a message about godly men.
As we humble ourselves before the Son of David, we will dwell with him and eat at His table.
11) the Heavenly Father showed us His kindness for someone else's sake, V. 1: for Jesus' sake, for Abraham's sake, for David's sake, really, for His great name's sake.
David placed Mephibosheth at his table for a promise's sake to Jonathan, 1 Sam. 20:14-16.
God bound Himself with His promise. We do not bind Him other than by claiming His promises.
We might mention here. Could Mephibosheth have claimed the promise David made to Jonathan, his dad?
If David, a man like us would go to this length to keep his word made many years before, think how much more our heavenly Father will keep His.
We can dwell in the King's house, our feet under the table of His mercy and supply because we have inherited more promises than we will ever claim through the merit Christ.