After being installed as king over Israel, David looks for relatives of his predecessor Saul to whom he can show God’s kindness. He hears from one of Saul’s former servants that there is a man named Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson and Jonathan’s son, who is still alive. David summons Mephibosheth to him. And in an act of kindness and mercy, King David restores all of Saul’s land to him. He also appoints servants for Mephibosheth, and gives him a place at the King’s table to eat.
This sounds like an unusually kind thing to do. From a political perspective, David’s would have benefitted more from eliminating anyone with ties to the house of Saul to prevent any uprisings or claims to the throne. But David is a man after God’s own heart, who sought to follow his Heavenly King instead of the earthly ones. Since David has been shown kindness by God, David wants to show the kindness of God to Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth, who is found in hiding, fearing for his life, answers David as his servant. But David does not accept Mephibosheth as a servant. He accepts Mephibosheth as a family member: one who will eat at the table of the King not just for a day or a month or occasionally, but as our text says, “continually”, meaning forever.
This type of kindness is unusual in our day too! But this unusual kindness is the perfect picture of the kindness God has given to us in Jesus. We, being born into the family of sin, were enemies of God. And God, who had defeated sin and death on the Cross, could have punished us as those who were not only born into sin, but were also sinners against Him. Yet, God chose to show His kindness to us so that we would not have to live in hiding or fear, but that we might accept His invitation to eat at His table forever.
How do we respond to such kindness? Mephibosheth’s response to God’s kindness through David is likened to the response of a repentant heart: “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” Who are we that the Creator should look upon us dead in our sin? As Ephesians 2 reminds us, it was while we were dead in our sins and trespasses, that God, because of His great love for us, made us alive with Christ (by grace we have been saved).
Have you accepted God’s invitation to the table? If not, Christ waits for you today. Come out of hiding, come out of your fear and meet the King of our salvation. And if you have accepted God’s invitation, commune with the King continually, for this is His kindness to us. Unusual kindness? Yes. But this is just the usual for God. And it only gets better.