Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 9:1-13
Sometimes the best way to illustrate Scripture is to compare Scripture with Scripture. Today I want to use an Old Testament story to illustrate the new birth. Recently I was asked to speak at a church in Singapore on healing the roots of rejection. I introduced the subject by reading the story of Mephibosheth. The following Sunday, the Senior Pastor, George Butron preached from the same story and he has allowed me to use his points in today’s message.
Three of the most powerful negative forces are fear, guilt and shame. Jesus dealt with each of these on the cross. Mephibosheth is an example of someone who has been overcome with shame. The roots and fruits of shame are clear in the life of Mephibosheth. He had a disgraced family [v.1]. His grandfather was king Saul and the family, because of sin, had been wiped out. Only Mephibosheth remained. He would have been five years old when his family were destroyed [2 Samuel 4:4]. He had a disfigured body [v.3]. He was lame in both feet. He had a doubtful future [v.4]. He lived in obscurity on the other side of the Jordan. He had a displaced inheritance [v.4, 7]. He was the rightful heir to his grandfather’s land but was living in poverty. He had a distorted identity [v.8]. He considered himself to be a dead dog – worthless!
King David wanted to honour any living descendants of Saul, and so David initiated a search for Mephibosheth [v.1-4]. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost [Luke 19:10]. David intended to show kindness to Mephibosheth [v.1, 3,7]. It is because of the kindness of God that we can be born again and our lives changed. Both Joel 2:13 and Titus 3:4 speak of the kindness of God. David invited Mephibosheth into his presence [v.5]. Jesus made a way, through the cross, to come into the presence of God. David ensured the future of Mephibosheth [v.5]. This is a promise also given by Jesus to those who are born again – He gives us a living hope. David included Mephibosheth at his table in the palace [vs.10-13]. That same promise is given to those who have been born again – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” [Psalm 23:6].
For Mephibosheth it must have seemed to be a whole new life. This is an amazing picture of the new birth that God made possible for us in Jesus. He searches for us, desires to bless us, brings us into His presence, gives us a future – eternal life, invites to feed at His table, and be with Him forever. Jesus is a wonderful King and it is our privilege to accept His invitation and all that He has promised us.
What parts of the story of Mephibosheth can you relate to personally?
What do you think would have been the response of Mephibosheth to the way that David showed kindness to Him? What is your response to the kindness of God in giving you a hope and a future in Jesus?