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‘Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts’ (Psalm 139:23). What do you think God might see when he looks into the depths of your soul today?


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Bible passage: 2 Samuel 8:15; 9:1–13


David's Officials
 15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.

2 Samuel 9

David and Mephibosheth
 1 David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

 2 Now there was a servant of Saul's household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?"
      "Your servant," he replied.

 3 The king asked, "Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?"
      Ziba answered the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet."

 4 "Where is he?" the king asked.
      Ziba answered, "He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar."

 5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.
      David said, "Mephibosheth!"
      "Your servant," he replied.

 7 "Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table."

 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

 9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table." (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

 11 Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons.

 12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Explore


Questionable motives
Nice guy, that David – full of love and faithfully keeping his promise to look after Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 20:14,15). All straightforward. Or is it? If David were asking you the question in 9:1, what would you think is his motive behind it? Straightforward kindness?

For instance, why does it take David so long to remember Jonathan’s family? Does he just want to get Saul’s northern tribes back on side? Does he want to show the nation he’s Mr Nice Guy and make sure of popular support? Sometimes we question our own motives as Christians.

Changing through the Holy Spirit
In my early 20s I recall wrestling often with the thought that maybe I wasn’t a Christian after all – I was just trying to be good and kind, and do the things Christians do. The Lord reassured me – I’d definitely said yes to Jesus and the Holy Spirit was changing me. Every Christian has mixed motives, as David may have had. That shouldn’t stop us doing great things for the gospel.

Terry Clutterham

Respond


Thank God that when he does look into your soul, above all he sees the righteousness of Christ. ‘Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous’ (Romans 5:19b).


Deeper Bible study


Whether they be democracies, dictatorships, or military juntas or any other type of government, how many countries do we know for which the words of verse 15 can be said of their rulers? The acclamation they are accorded at their accession soon fades and their approval ratings plummet as the glorious promises they make fail to materialise. Sadly, even those who were known to be men or women of God often succumb to the temptations of power. Thank God for glorious exceptions such as King David.

David sought out the family of his faithful friend and what he found was not auspicious. Jonathan’s only son was lame and living, it would seem, on the charity of some caring friend (9:4). Ziba, whose job was to manage the family estate of the late king, had a large retinue of servants to assist in the task. However, with 15 sons of his own to support, it would seem that he did not count the care of the lame prince among his responsibilities. He would later reveal himself as a dishonest, self-seeking opportunist by the way he abandoned his master in time of crisis (2 Sam 16:1–4; 19:24–30).

One of the chief ways we recognise good government is how they look after the poor and disadvantaged members of society, saving them from exploiters such as Ziba. The fatherless and widows were protected under the Law given by the God of Israel (Exod 22:22). Indeed, this was a cardinal injunction to their rulers and one of the factors for which, again and again, he took them to task (eg Isa 1:23; Mal 3:5).

Kar Yong Lim

Background: Mephibosheth


There are two people with this name, one the son of Saul by a concubine, the other his grandson, son of Jonathan. It is the second one who appears in today’s story.

David’s kindness

Mephibosheth was 5 years old when Saul and Jonathan were killed in the battle of Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). His nurse fled when she heard the news, and he fell and became lame in both feet. He was looked after by a wealthy man named Machir, and grew up in Lodebar (2 Samuel 4:4).

After David was established as king of all Israel, he went out of his way to show kindness to Mephibosheth as he had promised to Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:14,15). Mephibosheth was afraid when David sent for him.

As a grandson of Saul, he had every reason to be, since the ordinary practice of the time was for a king to put to death any potential rivals to the throne. But instead David honoured him, and invited him to sit at dinner with his own sons. He also promised him all of Saul’s inheritance.

Misunderstanding

Later, when Absalom tried to seize the throne, David fled. Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, met him and provided him with donkeys and food.

David asked why Mephibosheth had not come with him, and Ziba replied that he had remained in Jerusalem because he was plotting against David. David believed Ziba, and transferred to him all of Mephibosheth’s inheritance.

Restoration

However, when David returned to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth came to meet him, dressed in mourning. David asked him why he hadn’t gone with Ziba, and Mephibosheth explained that it was because of his lameness, and because Ziba had taken the donkeys.

As for his plotting to seize the throne, he protested that Ziba was lying. He had always been faithful to David, and had worn mourning all through David’s absence for fear he would be killed (2 Samuel 19:24–30).

David chose to believe Mephibosheth, and divided the inheritance between them. Mephibosheth remained under David’s protection because of David’s friendship with Jonathan (2 Samuel 21:7).

Annabel Robinson

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Audio


God of mercy (Prayer song)
Lou Fellingham
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other Lou fellingham songs at shop.phatfish.net



Song: I hear you fumble for words (I am still willing)
Composer:
Keith Getty & Kristyn Getty
Copyright:
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this song at www.integritymusic.com



Comments
  • Alan Pang | Monday, 12 March 2018

    It is possible that David's motive was mixed but based on 8:15 and 9:3 (God's kindness), I would prefer the straight-forward interpretation.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    "The LORD is my shepherd; He restores my soul."Christ Jesus has come to live deep within me and may my life mirror God's love to me as we delight in the relationship we have........the fruit of kindness is a gift of the Spirit and as Gilvin said, we receive when we ask. Yes...thanks be to God. Amen.

  • Christopher Brann | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    What do you think God might see when he looks into the depths of your soul today?. A troubled turperlant struggling soul and body. Worn out and tired. Full of desire to be a faithful follower but often falling far short. I know Jesus personly and His deep love but struggle to always act like it. Father help me

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    I asked the Father 'what is deep within my soul' and the answer 'The transforming power of Holy Spirit' Thank you Father, Son and Holy Sprit that you never, ever, give up on us your precious children, may we experience daily the transforming power of Holy Spirit as we read, meditate on your Word, pray, and spend time in your Presence. All glory, power, and honour be to the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • Barbara Hall | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    I don't often post, let alone two days running! Apologies too for a rather long post, but I would value the prayers of this faithful WL community. My 97-year-old mother-in-law lives on her own 100 miles away from us. She has limited mobility and increasingly poor memory. She can just about cope with her daily (very limited) routines, but they take her a very long time, and she is very tired. She wouldn't consider going into any kind of residential care, and doesn't want things to change, but we are now very concerned, among other things, that she is no longer eating a cooked meal at midday (I and my sister-in-law - who lives even further away! - prepare and freeze meals for her) . We feel the time has come when she does need some help, but we need a lot of wisdom to know what to do, how to arrange it, and how to enable her to accept it. She has a very strong, unwavering Christian faith, which is great, but can lead to a rather passive approach rather than planning for changing circumstances . My sister-in-law is staying with her mum at the moment, and will evaluate the situation. We want to do what's right and best for her, even though she might not see it that way! Thank you so much.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    BARBARA you should be able to get a care package to help your Mum get dressed, get meals and see her safely in bed at night. Social Services Department are the people to contact. If her memory is poor she can go to the memory clinic. Does her Church have any befrienders perhaps it would help if you spoke to her Pastor. My neighbour is 97 and she is in just the same position, she has four carers daily she tells me lots of stories which are mixed up but she is happy at home She recently went into a Residential Home to try it but came home as she said they were all old people in it.. Her main need is someone to talk to. I love this account of Mephibosheth, he is brought to the King's home lame in both feet and the King promises he will sit at his table and he will care for him. Isn't that just like us? We are brought to the King he accepts us damaged as we are and we can feed from his table and take just what we need each day, no one sees Mephibosheph's feet under the table they are covered our sins are covered too by the Blood of Jesus and cannot be seen. The King want's to take care of us forever, how amazing.

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    Barbara H, having recently lived through this situation with my mother-in-law, be assured of my prayers.

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