Have you ever been so happy that someone had returned to you—come back into your life—that you were willing to forgive him his rash decision to believe, and even bless, your enemy; and then give up your inheritance—your and your family’s wealth—to the enemy-deceiver? That’s exactly what someone who loved King David did, and we’ll look at his gracious, merciful—and peaceful—actions today in our study of peace.
In our last post, we left King David fleeing the city of Jerusalem with some of his supporters. And, as always, there are those who choose sides based on who they think will win the battle, or who they think they stand to gain the most from during the war.
In Chapter 16, we again hear about Mephibosheth, (the grandson of the former King Saul and the son of David’s dearest friend, Jonathan), when his deceiving servant, Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth has remained in Jerusalem and told Ziba triumphantly that “Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.”
It’s a lie, of course. Mephibosheth said no such thing. He adores David. He’s grateful to David for his gracious attention, salvation, and care.
But in his haste, David, makes a severe and rash decision to hand over all of the inheritance he’d given to Mephibosheth to the deceiving Ziba.
Before I go on in the story, I want to ask: Have you ever done that? Retracted a promise you made, for all of the wrong reasons? Because you were anxious, tired, scared, or threatened? Because you hadn’t done your homework, to find out if the information were true?
It’s horrifying and embarrassing, isn’t it? It cleaves a gaping rift in the relationship. And it causes the other person’s heart to bleed because you didn’t trust her like she thought you did. Like peace, trust is a valuable commodity. When broken it is so very difficult—and sometimes impossible—to restore.
But when we get to Mephibosheth’s response, you’ll have a greater understanding of how love and an attitude of gratefulness can overcome the wrong action and allow peace to reign.
I recommend that you read all that David went through to regain his kingdom, including losing his backstabbing son, whom he dearly loved. But for today, we’ll skip to Chapter 19, verses 24-29, and read about David’s meeting with Mephibosheth.
Now Mephibosheth the son (grandson) of Saul came down to meet the king (David). And he had not cared for his feet (he was crippled), nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he returned in peace (shalom). So it was, when he had come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?”
And he answered, “My lord, O king; my servant deceived me. For your servant said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself, that I may ride on it and go to the king,’ because your servant is lame. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king, but my lord the king is like the angel of God. Therefore do what is good in your eyes. For all my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king. Yet you set your servant among those who eat at your own table. Therefore what right have I still to cry out anymore to the king?”
So the king said to him, “Why do you speak anymore of your matters? I have said, ‘You and Ziba divide the land.’”
The Mephibosheth said to the king, “Rather, let him take it all, inasmuch as my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house.”
David had previously given Saul’s family estate to Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, to be farmed under him by Ziba, who had been a servant of Saul. When Ziba deceived David about Mephibosheth, David hastily gave all of the land to Ziba after Ziba. Now, as David returns triumphantly to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth goes out to meet the king. It is clear from his physical state that he has been in a state of mourning for David since David fled the city. And he defends himself by telling David of Ziba’s lie and deception.
Because David is distracted or unsure what to believe, he tells Mephibosheth that he and Ziba can divide the land between them. And how does the noble-hearted, loyal and grateful Mephibosheth respond? He essentially says, as The Message reads, “Oh, let him have it all! All I care about is that my master the king is home safe and sound!”
While David made a poor decision to give half of the land to the lying, disloyal Ziba, the thing we need to focus on today is Mephibosheth and his response.
Mephibosheth has been in mourning, and probably fasting and praying for David’s safe return—a happy ending to the kingdom mess and upheaval. He is happy his prayers have been answered.
Mephibosheth considers David as more important than himself; and he seems willing to forgive Ziba his deception. To not let that ruin the peace he now feels in his heart and mind. Mephibosheth knew how to enjoy peace, and he was content to possess just that. He knows that he will continue to sit and dine at the king’s table and be given good things by King David. He is satisfied that all is once again right with the world, and he is content!
1. When you do some self-reflection, can you say you are like Mephibosheth? His actions reflect a tremendous amount of humility and true, unconditional love. He demonstrates a pure heart. He doesn’t argue with David about getting back his fair share, which would have been all of the land. Instead, he’s willing to let go of all of it. (He knew that David had given it to him out of the kindness of his heart after David ascended to the thrown, for the memory of his beloved friend Jonathan—Mephibosheth’s father. It had been a generous, benevolent gift to him in the first place.)
2. How much like the lame, dependent Mephibosheth are you in your attitude toward the Lord? I know that my flesh is quick to fight for what I consider rightfully mine, especially when I think someone has “deceived” me out of it. Essentially, stolen it from me by lying.
I forget that I am really broken and lame like Mephibosheth; that I am at the mercy of my Father, who gives all good things. A Father who opens up the heavens and pours good things down upon me, whether I deserve them or not. I forget that all that belongs to Him is mine; and that I will always sit and feast at the King’s table. I do not need to fight for and seek out those things that will not add to my peace. It should be enough for me to know that God is on the throne and still in control.
As we leave today’s study, let us try to go forth with Mephibosheth hearts—humble, grateful, uncluttered, unconditionally loving, content. At peace.
Until next Monday, may your week be full of blessings that you receive and give, your heart be full of joy and thankfulness, and your days be filled with laughter. Build a little heaven in your life right now, and watch your heavenly garden grow!
When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on earth. ~ A. W. Tozer
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