Devotional: January 27, 2021
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan (who was the son of Saul), came before David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David.
David spoke his name: “Mephibosheth.”
“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.”
Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?”
2 Samuel 9: 6-8 The Message
King David will always be a key figure in the scriptures, and in the history of Israel. He is regarded as the King of Israel against whom all other kings are measured. King David was gifted with wise governing, musical talents, and of course, with a slingshot, and in warfare. Yes, he was not perfect, but he was also humble when it came to contrition.
Part of the reason we look to David is because of his character. He truly had a heart for the Lord. He sought to follow God in all that he did. Sometimes he fell short. When that happened, he begged the Lord to forgive him. Psalm 51 is an excellent example of a contrite heart, seeking forgiveness from the Almighty.
One aspect of David’s personality which doesn’t get as much attention is his forgiveness of others. In this passage, David interacts with a young man whose name is mouthful: Mephibosheth. One of King Saul’s sons was Jonathan, and Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son. David and Jonathan had been best friends, so there is no doubt how fond David must have been for Mephibosheth. Yet, he was also the grandson of King Saul, who had tried mercilessly to kill David before David took the throne. The battles between the forces of Saul and David had been brutal, and deadly. Jonathan had died on one such battle.
In spite of the devastating relationship between Saul and David, David intentionally seeks out Mephibosheth, as one of the last living relatives of Saul. Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. David graciously restores to Mephibosheth the lands which had belonged to his grandfather Saul: a truly gracious act towards the grandson of the man who tried to kill him repeatedly!
However, David is not done. He also invites Mephibosheth to eat at his royal table, from that point on. David offers these kind acts to Mephibosheth in honor of his father Jonathan. Yet the act of forgiving a surviving member of Saul’s family sprung from a heart which knew what forgiveness was all about. David himself had called upon God to forgive him for his adulterous sin with Bathsheba.
David was the leader of Israel in many ways, including by the way in which he expressed and showed forgiveness towards others. Mephibosheth is overwhelmed by David’s gracious offers. He sees himself as a “stray dog”. Yet David is treating him as a valued member of his own family. The king inviting him to dine at his own table from that point forward: the young man is bowled over by David’s kindness. This was a very high honor to dine at the royal table.
How forgiving are we towards other people? After being hurt, could we ever express love like David? Memories of difficult experiences can either embitter a person, or make them tender and forgiving. In this stirring example, David reminds us that forgiveness and tender, touching love are always an option for us. Not just an option, but the best choice. May we emulate such loving forgiveness towards others in our own lives…
Thank You, Lord, for showing me the ultimate forgiveness through Your Son Jesus. Help me to realize and remember that forgiveness is always an option when I feel harmed by others. Although I may not forget the harm done to me, help me to overcome my anger and hurt. Work within my soul, as I strive to have a forgiving heart.
Humbly I pray this prayer in the name of your son, and my forgiving Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen