In our study about David in youth group, we just covered the story of David and Mephibosheth. As I prepared for this study I was blown away by the amazing picture that is presented through the actions of David of the grace that God offers to each of us. I hope that you will be as encouraged and humbled as I was as I studied this passage.
The story of David and Mephibosheth is found in 2 Samuel 9. In v. 1, David says that he wants to find a descendant of Jonathan to show kindness to. That word kindness is a very very similar word to our word grace that is found in the New Testament. This is more than just doing something nice for somebody, it has the idea of giving a reward to somebody who is not at all deserving of that reward. At it’s very simplest definition, grace is receiving something that you don’t deserve. David’s actions here to Mephibosheth are a perfect picture of God’s actions to us.
1. His Grace was Unrelenting (v. 1-5)
Notice that David is the one who instigates this endeavor. In chapter 8, we find David in a time of war, as he fights against Israel’s many enemies and expands her borders. As we come to chapter 9, this period of war seems to have come to an end, and David has an opportunity to catch his breath and reflect. As he does so, he remembers the promise he made to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:12-17, where he promised that when he became king, he would show kindness to Jonathan and his family. Obviously, at this point Jonathan is dead, killed by the Philistines, but David remembers his promise, and actively begins to search for somebody to show grace to. During this time period, it was the common practice that when a new dynasty took power, all of the descendants of the old king were killed. Mephibosheth is living in Lo-Debar, which literally means “no pastureland.” Mephisbosheth is living out in the barren wilderness, hiding from the king. This is exactly how the grace of God is offered to us. Luke 19:10 says that “the Son of Man [Jesus] is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Before Christ found me, I was living out in the barrenness of sin and death. Then Jesus came looking for me, and found me. 1 John 4:19 says that “we love Him because He first loved us.” That is His unrelenting grace. I have the choice to love the Lord, not because of anything I did, but because He loved me when I was unlovable, when I was hiding in a desolate wasteland, trapped by my sin. That, is unrelenting grace.
2. His Grace is Undeserved (v. 1-3, 8)
David makes it clear that his reason for showing this grace to Mephibosheth had nothing to do with the man himself. In v. 1, David says he is looking for someone from the house of Saul so that he “may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” When we look at Mephibosheth, we realize that he had nothing to offer. In v. 3 we read that he was lame in both feet, and even Mephibosheth calls himself a dead dog in v. 8. Grace was given to Mephibosheth, not on his merit, but on the merit of Jonathan. In the same way, the grace that is given to me has nothing to do with who I am or what I have done. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that the grace given to us is “not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” I have done nothing to deserve the grace that has been freely offered to me. I, like Mephibosheth, am a dead dog before the Lord, and yet he still unrelentingly offers me that grace. Why? Not because of my merit, but because of the merit of Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:22-24 tells us that Christ “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth…who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Christ, who was sinless, freely allowed Himself to be punished for my sins to satisfy the just demands of God. When David looked at Mephibosheth, he didn’t see a lame, dead dog. He saw Jonathan’s son. When God looks at me, he doesn’t see the sinful, dead dog, Caleb. He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. That, is undeserved grace.
3.His Grace was Unending (v. 7-13)
David, in showing grace to Mephibosheth, essentially adopted him. He gave him, as an inheritance, all of his grandfather Saul’s land. He allowed Mephibosheth to eat at his own personal table along with all his other sons and daughters. Now obviously, David’s grace ended when David died, because David was no longer able to demonstrate that grace. My God, however, will never die, and His grace is truly unending. The Bible tells us over and over just how much grace God offers.Romans 5:17 talks about an abundance of grace. Ephesians 1:7 tells us about the riches of His grace. Ephesians 2:7 mentions the exceeding riches of His grace. 1 Timothy 1:14 tells me that the grace of our Lord is exceedingly abundant. Then, my personal favorite, Romans 5:20. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” I know that in my life, sin has abounded. Hatred, jealousy, anger, lust, pride, laziness, selfishness…they have all been present in my life. I have lived a life that is abundant with sin. I deserve to pay the full price for each of those sins. But where my sin abounded, God’s grace abounded even more. I can never out sin God’s grace! That doesn’t give me license to go and sin as much as I want because God’s grace will cover it, that isn’t how it works. But you and I can know, that no matter what is in our past, God’s grace is abundant enough to cover it. No matter what we do in the future, God will never stop loving us, and will never withdraw that grace from us. Why? Because that grace isn’t dependent on what I do! It wouldn’t be grace if I deserved it! God’s grace is unending to me because of Jesus Christ. He never stops offering it, I can never sin so bad that He takes it away from me, His grace is completely unending.
4. His Grace was Unconditional (v. 7-10)
David, as he meets with Mephibosheth, and Saul’s servant Ziba, says several things about what he is going to do for Mephiboseth. In v. 7 he says “I will show thee kindness for Jonathan they father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father, and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” In v. 9, he says to Ziba, “I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul.“ Then in v. 10, he says to Ziba, “Thou…shall till the land for him…but Mephibosheth…shall eat bread always at my table.” Never once are there any conditions placed on Mephibosheth. There are no requirements that Mephibosheth has to fulfill to earn or maintain this grace. It is given freely. In fact, in v. 7 David is saying that he will show grace in the present, in v. 9 he has already shown the grace in the past, and in v. 10 he says that the grace will continue on into the future. This is God’s grace. The fact that we are living and breathing today is God’s grace in the present. Jesus Christ came to die for us as God’s grace was demonstrated in the past, and Christians are guaranteed an eternity in Heaven, as God promises grace for the future. We don’t do anything to earn it, as Ephesians 2:8-9 says. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Praise God that His grace is unconditional, and that it extends for all of eternity!
Somebody may read this, who likes what they hear, but are confused. You might say, “Caleb, I want to experience the unrelenting, undeserved, unenending, unconditional grace, but I don’t know how to? I know that this gift of God is being offered to me, but how do I take it?” It is very simple, and is summed up in one verse. Romans 10:9 says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” It is truly that easy. If you want to claim the grace of God, all you have to do is confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He is God. It isn’t enough to just say that He was a good man, because a good man could not merit the grace of God as Jesus did. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He is God, and believe that God raised Him from the dead after He paid for your sins on the cross of Calvary. If you truly believe that in your heart, if you tell the Lord that with your mouth, and you claim His grace to pay for your sins, the Bible says that you will be saved. Then you can begin to experience the full magnitude of God’s grace, each and every day of your life.