Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second which describes the days of the reign of David king of Israel after he had been anointed and made king over the heritage of the people of God. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters ten through thirteen of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the narrative of David reigning as king over all Israel continuing to unfold before our eyes. What I find to be so absolutely incredible concerning the events which take place within these chapters is that they take place directly on the heels of a great kindness which David showed unto Mephibosheth who was the son of Jonathan whom David did love as a brother. If you read the words which are written and recorded in the ninth chapter you will find David inquiring whether or not there were any left in the house of Saul whom he might show kindness unto for the sake of Jonathan, Saul’s son. As this particular story unfolds you will find that there was a servant in the house of Saul whose name was Ziba and who was brought into the presence of David the king. Upon entering into the presence of the king Ziba was asked whether or not there were any among the house of Saul whom David might show kindness and unfailing love towards for the sake of Jonathan whom his soul loved as a brother. When Ziba heard David’s question, she declared unto him that there was indeed a son of Jonathan who was lame on his feet named Mephibosheth. This son of Jonathan was found in the house of Machir, the son of Ariel, in Lo-Debar. Once David heard that there was still a member of the house of Saul—son to Jonathan nonetheless—he immediately fetched this son of Jonathan to be brought unto him and unto his house that he might show unto him kindness. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing about the words which are found in this chapter is that what begins with David asking if there were any among the house of Saul whom he might show kindness for the sake of Jonathan would eventually culminate in David not only asking whom he might show kindness unto, but whom he might show the kindness of the living God. You will recall from an earlier chapter that Mephibosheth was hurried and rushed away when the house of Saul began to crumble, and was essentially forced to live in exile away from that place he had grown up. In order to understand the full scope of what had taken place within the life of this particular man you must turn and direct your attention to the fourth chapter of this Old Testament book. Beginning to read with and from the first verse of this Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find the following words which describe how Mephibosheth became lame in both feet:
“And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. And Saul’s son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin: and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourner there until this day.) And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth” (2 Samuel 4:1-4).
Within the narrative of the opening verses of the fourth chapter we find that upon news of the death of both Saul and his son Jonathan, the nurse who looked after and cared for Jonathan’s son hurried him away for fear that he would be struck down and destroyed. The account of Mephibosheth is one that begins with tremendous tragedy, for in a single day—not only did he learn of his grandfather’s death, but he also learned of his father’s death. What’s more, is on the day that his nurse took him and fled, he fell and actually became lame in both feet. It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the account of this son of Saul, for imagine what it was like for him growing up, as not only had he experience the loss of his father, but he had also suffered a grievous fall which caused him to be lame in both feet. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder if he spent a considerable amount of time living in fear over what might come of him when David became king of Israel. We know that at least seven years had passed from the time his nurse fled with him unto Lo-Debar, which means that he was at least twelve years old when David inquired as to whether or not there was any of the house of Saul whom he might show kindness for the sake of Jonathan. The more I think about the narrative of Mephibosheth the more I can’t help but think that he was one who had perhaps spent most of his life living in fear and with tremendous anxiety within his heart that one day servants of the king might come and put him to death. He grew up knowing that his grandfather Saul who was king over Israel was dead, knowing that his own father Jonathan was killed in battle, and that his uncle Ish-bosheth was also killed. Of course we know that Ish-bosheth’s death would come after his nurse would take him from that place and flee, but imagine what it was like growing up from such a young age—not only being lame in both feet after suffering a grievous fall, but also knowing that those in his own family had either died in battle, or were otherwise killed between the war that ensued among the house of David and the house of Saul. Here was Mephibosheth who was son of Jonathan whom David loved as his own brother, and yet I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that he must have spent a considerable amount of time growing up in fear, and perhaps even anxiety as he thought that the day would come when the king of Israel would send messengers and servants unto him that he might be put to death. There is not a doubt in my mind that Mephibosheth had spent a considerable amount of time living in fear, living in terror, living in anxiety, and living with a great shadow and burden upon his shoulders as he wondered if and/or when the day would come when he would suffer the same fate as his father, as his grandfather, and as his uncle Ish-bosheth. Undoubtedly he knew that there was a new king in Israel, and he perhaps fully expected to be put to death and/or suffer a similar fate to those within his own family.
EXPECTING DEATH BUT RECEIVING KINDNESS! FEARING DEATH BUT RECEIVING MERCY! The more I read and consider the narrative of Mephibosheth son of Jonathan the more I can’t help but see and come face to face with the reality that this son of Jonathan had spent a good portion of his life growing up worrying and wondering whether or not the day would come when he would meet the same fate as his father, as his grandfather and as his uncle did. With the house of Saul being brought to near extinction, this son of Jonathan might very well have thought and perceived that the day and time would come when he himself would be killed and would no longer live to see the light of day. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how Mephibosheth not only had to grow up without his father, and not only did he have to grow up being lame in both feet, but he also grew up in what could very well be described as the shadow of death. For Mephibosheth, he had spent much of his life from the time his nurse fled with him to the time when David’s messengers actually brought him into his presence living in the shadow of death and worrying whether or not he would be killed and struck down by the sword. Imagine what it was like for Mephibosheth as he had spent much of his life living with being lame and a cripple, as well as in the absence of his father. As if this weren’t bad enough, he would also undoubtedly have lived with the fear of one day meeting the same fate as his father, and as those in his father’s house. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Mephibosheth growing up, and what types of burdens, scars and wounds he would have had to deal and struggle with given the events that took place from the time his grandfather and father were dead. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for him as undoubtedly thoughts, emotions, and feelings of fear, terror, dread, anxiety and even doubt swirled around inside his heart, mind and soul. This is perhaps what makes the narrative of David’s actions toward him to absolutely remarkable and astonishing, for while Mephibosheth had spent much time worrying about and wondering whether or not he would experience death, what he actually found instead was mercy, was grace, was compassion and was kindness. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that while he had perhaps a decade plus in his life worrying whether or not he would be struck down and put to death—what he actually found was compassion and kindness. What’s more, is that there is not a doubt in my mind that he would find this compassion and kindness in the last place he expected it—within and from the house of David. Consider if you will the words which are found within the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar. Then. King dDavid sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son fo Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness of Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that you should East look such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s son. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was MIcha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet” (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
EXPECTING WRATH OF THE KING ONLY TO FIND MERCY! EXPECTING JUDGMENT OF THE KING ONLY TO FIND COMPASSION! I can’t help but see within the narrative of Mephibosheth a truly wonderful and powerful picture of those who might spend their entire lives looking upon a different King—not an earthly king who sits upon an earthly throne, but a heavenly King who sits upon a heavenly throne—and expecting something they thought for sure they would receive. I can’t help but think about and consider how many men and women spend a considerable amount of time viewing God as this tyrant in heaven, and as this cruel and harsh judge who continually seeks to judge, punish, and condemn those here on the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women among us within this generation who spend their days and their time worrying and wondering whether or not the God in heaven truly loves them, and whether or not He is truly merciful and compassionate. There are countless men and women who spend countless hours, days, weeks, months, and even years looking over their shoulders as though the living God is somehow out to get them. There are men and women who spend a considerable amount of time, effort and energy in thinking and believing that God is this cruel and malevolent tyrant who sits in heaven waiting to judge and condemn all the inhabitants of the earth. There are men and women among us today who spend considerable portions of their lives being removed from the love, the compassion, the mercy, the grace and the kindness of the living God because they have allowed themselves to be so caught up in fearing His judgment and wrath. Such men and women spend a great deal of time thinking and believing that they are somehow unable—perhaps even unworthy—of find and experiencing the love, the compassion and kinds of the living God, and they cannot truly enjoy the presence of the King of kings. There is not a doubt in my mind that Mephibosheth never anticipated experiencing and receiving mercy and grace from the king of Israel—much less kindness and compassion. What’s more, is that the kindness that was shown unto him wasn’t even because of anything inherently good in himself. The kindness which Mephibosheth experienced was in direct relation and proportion to who he was related to. I can’t help but see Mephibosheth in me, and in anyone who names the name of Jesus Christ and who walks with and serves Him, for the kindness, the compassion, the love, the mercy and the grace we receive and experience from the Father is not as much about us and who we are, but who Jesus the Christ is. We have received and we have been recipients of the compassion and kindness of the King of kings because of our relationship to the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God.
KINDNESS OF THE KING TOWARDS SONS! KINDNESS OF THE KING TOWARDS DAUGHTERS! Mephibosheth was one who undoubtedly had spent most of his life worrying whether or not the day would come when the proverbial noose would cling upon him and upon his neck, and he would meet the same fate as his father and grandfather. As being one of—if not the only surviving member of the house of Saul in the land, there was always that constant and nagging fear and anxiety that he too would suffer the same fate as his father and grandfather. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many countless nights Mephibosheth spent being unable to sleep because he relived that moment from his childhood when he was forced to flee with his nurse, and when he feel, thus becoming lame in both feet. I wonder what it was like for Mephibosheth growing up as not only was he lame in both feet, but he also undoubtedly wondered and worried if the day and time would come when messengers and servants of the king would come with swords drawn in hand, and he would ultimately and finally be put to death. Imagine the sheer and utter surprise of this son of Jonathan when the king of Israel had sent for and fetched him—even as he made his way to Jerusalem and to the palace of the king. By this time David’s house and palace had been built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and he was securely and firmly reigning as king. David was now in a place and position when he could have very easily sent for this son of Jonathan and had him killed there in Lo-debar, or even brought him unto Jerusalem and had him killed there in the city of Jerusalem. I can’t help but wonder what this scene was like as this son of Jonathan saw messengers of the king making their way to him, and wondering whether or not he would finally meet an end he had perhaps wondered would ever come. I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t an element of fear within the heart of this son of Jonathan when he saw these messengers of the king come unto his home, and even as he was making the journey unto the city of Jerusalem. Is it possible that this son of Jonathan feared for his life, and feared that the king in Jerusalem would indeed strike him down and put him to death? The very real fears, doubts, worries, concerned and questions which this son of Jonathan could very well have faced and experienced aren’t necessarily hypothetical for some of us, and for some within the house of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women who live under a constant dark and dreary shadow worrying about whether or not the living God who sits upon the throne in heaven is angry with them. There are countless men and women who live their lives under a constant shadow of fear and dread before the living God as they worry about Him striking them down and somehow bringing judgment upon them.
As I sit here today I can’t help but wonder if you who are reading the words which are found in this writing aren’t living in a place where you are consumed with fear before and in the sight of the living God. I can’t help but wonder if you are spending your days and your time worrying and wondering whether or not the living God who reigns in heaven over both heaven and earth is somehow angry with you, and whether or not He would and could strike you down at any moment in time. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women among us in our generation are spending their days wondering, worrying and waiting for that day when the judgment of God will break forth upon them and when the proverbial hammer is going to fall and come down upon them. For countless men and women among us in this generation, as well as within the house of the living God, they feel as though the living God is out to get them, and they have an incredibly difficult time enjoying and experiencing the goodness, the compassion, the grace and the mercy of the living God. Such individuals have a difficult time reading the words which are found in the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms and continually read concerning the mercy of the LORD enduring forever. Before I move any further into this writing I invite you to consider the words which are found in this Old Testament book of Psalms beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“O give thank unto the LORD; for he is good: For his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth forever. O give thanks to the LORD of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: the moon and the stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth forever. To him which divided the Red Sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaqoh and his host in the Red Sea: for his mercy endureth forever. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: and slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth forever: and Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: and gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever: even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: and hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1-26).
The words which we find within this passage highlight and underscore the tremendous mercy of God, and specifically dealt with His mercy as being displayed in His acts of kindness, power, strength, and might among us within our midst. With this in mind, I am also reminded of that which the living God spoke unto Moses when He called his servant unto Himself atop the mountain in the midst of the wilderness. Beginning with the fifth verse of the thirty-fourth chapter of the book of Exodus you will find the following words: “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:5-7). With these words and with this declaration the living God speaks and declares unto Moses that He is not only merciful, but also that He is gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Pause for a moment and think about those words, and think about whether or not you actually and truly believe them. Do you truly believe the living God is merciful and that His mercy endures forever? Do you truly believe that the living God is gracious and long suffering? Do you truly believe that the living God is abundant in goodness and truth, and not only keeps merely, but also forgives iniquity and transgression? I would dare say that up until the moment when Mephibosheth stood in the presence of the king and heard the words which he spoke unto him he would and could not have believed—much less thought—even for a single moment that the king was benevolent, merciful, compassion and kind. In all reality, I would dare say that Mephibosheth had his own doubts and reservations concerning David the king of Israel, and did not know, nor did he understand his nature and his character until he was actually in his presence and heard him speak. I would dare say there are many of us who are in this exact same position and place where we might very well and very much doubt the nature and character of the living God until we actually enter into His presence, hear Him speak and even hear Him speak unto us.
WHEN THE KING CALLS YOU BY NAME! WHEN THE KING INVITES YOU INTO HIS PRESENCE, WHEN THE KING CALLS YOU BY NAME, WHEN THE KING SEATS YOU AT HIS TABLE! What so amazes and astonishes me about the narrative of David and Mephibosheth is that the entire reason this son of Jonathan was called and brought into the presence of the king was so he might receive the kindness, the goodness and compassion of the king. Undoubtedly this son of Jonathan had no idea what to expect when he entered into the presence of the king, and much to his astonishment and amazement he entered into the king and was stunned by what he heard. When he entered into the king’s presence—not only did he hear his own name being called by the king, but he was also given a place at the king’s table. What’s more, is that not only was this son of Jonathan given a place at the king’s table, but he was also given his inheritance and that which belonged to his father and to his father’s father. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the kindness of the king toward this son of Jonathan not only provided him with a permanent and continual seat at the table of the king, but it also provided him with inheritance and blessing. Not only this, but the kindness of the king would also result in his experiencing provision in his life from that day on as Ziba, his children and his servants would continually be those who would provide for Mephibosheth. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is that this son of Jonathan might very well have thought that when he entered into the presence of the king he might very well have found himself at the wrong end of the sword, and yet when he entered into the presence of the king—instead of the sword what he found was compassion, kindness and mercy. Oh, I believe with all my heart that there is a word that is being spoken unto and in the midst of this generation, and it is a word of compassion, it is a word of kindness and it is a word of compassion for those who are spending their days, their weeks, their months, and even years living under a dark shadow of the judgment of the living God. In a time when there is so much chaos, so much confusion, so much doubt, so much uncertainty, there is a tremendous need for men and women to recognize and understand that there is a living God in heaven who is ready—not to exercise a great wave and great force of judgment upon them, but rather mercy, grace, compassion and kindness. What if I told you that mercy still triumphs over judgment, and that rather than judgment it is the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God to release His kindness, His compassion, His mercy and grace within and upon your life? What if I told you that in the midst of everything that is going on before and around you there is a God in heaven who before He ever wishes and desires to exercise judgment desires to show mercy—and not only mercy one one, or tens, or hundreds, or even thousands, but unto hundreds of thousands? What if I told you that there is a living and loving God in heaven who desires to lavishly and abundantly shower compassion, kindness, love, affection, mercy and grace upon you in this day and generation in which we are living?
I sit here today and I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality that the narrative and account of this son of Jonathan is a truly wonderful and remarkable picture into how the King of all kings desires to interact with us, as not only does the king invite us into his presence—perhaps with all our preconceived notions and ideas concerning Him—and He calls us by name. What’s more, is that not only does the King of all kings call us by name, but He also invites us to sit with Him at His table, and to continually fellowship with Him. Moreover, the King also desires to give unto us an inheritance—one that we did not have before entering into the presence. A SEAT AT THE TABLE AND AN INHERITANCE OF OUR OWN! I find it absolutely remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider the fact that before Mephibosheth entered into the presence of the king he was simply a cripple who was lame in both feet, and he was living in a place called Lo-debar, and after entering into and leaving the presence of the king, he not only had a seat at the table, but also had an inheritance and experienced restoration. RESTORATION OF INHERITANCE AND INVITATION INTO FELLOWSHIP! No longer would this son of Jonathan need to live in Lo-debar, but he would now live and dwell in the city of Jerusalem and would have a permanent and continual seat at table of the king. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it points to and reveals how one interaction with the King can truly, dramatically and forever transform and impact our lives. Years ago there was a movie that bore the title “One Night With the King,” and it was a movie about the story of Esther and how she was this Jewish woman living in the midst of the Persian Empire, and yet she was hand-picked and hand chosen to become the wife of the king of Persia. The entire premise of the move surrounded and centered upon the reality of this woman being taken from among the Jewish servants and Jewish hand-maidens and in the process of being in the presence of the king would become queen of Persia. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality of how one encounter with the king of Persia would forever transform Esther—and not only Esther, but also the lives of the Jewish people within and throughout the Persian Empire. In addition to this, we find that one encounter with king David would dramatically alter and transform the life of Mephibosheth, as not only would he hear the king call his name, but he would also be invited into a place of fellowship at the table of the king, and would receive an inheritance in the midst of the land. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable this encounter between David and Mephibosheth truly is, for regardless of what this son of Jonathan thought and believed concerning David prior to entering into his presence, there was absolutely no denying the benevolence, the kindness, the mercy, the grace and the goodness of the king. When Mephibosheth left the presence of the king there in Jerusalem he would not only leave in a place of relationship and fellowship, but he would also leave with an inheritance in the midst of the land as well.
If there is one thing we must understand must recognize when thinking about and considering this particular narrative and story of this son of Jonathan, it’s that it is symbolic of countless men and women among us—even men and women within the house of God—who have a jaded and skewed view and perception of the living God. These men and women find themselves viewing God through the lens of their own father, or perhaps through the lens of what they have negatively perceived in and through the lives of others. Such men and women view the King of kings and the LORD of lords as this tyrannical, judgmental and vindictive King who sits upon the throne in heaven, and who has absolutely no room, nor any space for kindness and compassion toward the inhabitants of the earth. What we must understand is just how dramatic and how powerful it can be when such an individual not only enters into the presence of the king, but also hears the King call them by name. What’s more, is that they find themselves in complete and absolute awe when the King calls them by name, and when the King bestows upon them mercy instead of judgment and grace instead of condemnation. Even more than this, they are stunned to find that the King invites them into a place of fellowship, a place of relationship, and a place at the King’s own table. In the days and times in which we are living there is not a doubt a my mind that countless men and women need to find and experience this King of kings who bestows kindness, goodness, compassion and grace upon countless thousands of men and women. There is an abundant and wonderful need in this generation for men and women to find themselves in the presence of the King, and instead of finding judgment, condemnation and wrath, they find mercy, grace and compassion. It is an absolutely wonderful and astonishing thing to think about and consider the fact that there are men and women who might very well have such a jaded and skewed perception and view of the living God, and yet rather than the King of kings and LORD of lords giving them what they perhaps expect, He bestows upon them showers of mercy, grace and compassion. Mephibosheth undoubtedly had his own perception and view of David king of Israel, and there is not a doubt in my mind that when he entered into the presence of the king he thought for sure he would find judgment, wrath and condemnation. Much to his surprise when entering into the presence of the king he found the kindness of the living God—and not only kindness of the sake of kindness, nor even for the sake of Mephibosheth, but kindness because of who Mephibosheth’s father was. Oh how absolutely astonishing and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that Mephibosheth found kindness in the presence of the king because of who his father was, and in a similar manner we too find kindness in the presence of the King because of who the Father is. Moreover, we as the people of God find kindness in the midst of the Father because of who the Son is. There was nothing that Mephibosheth would or could have done to warrant this kindness, this compassion and this grace within his life, and yet he found himself on the receiving end despite and regardless of what he thought and believed within his heart. Hallelujah for a King of kings who desires to bestow unto us kindness, compassion, mercy and grace in the place of judgment, in the place of wrath, and in the place of condemnation.
“If ye walk in my statutes and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shell yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondsmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go right” (Leviticus 26:3-13).
“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges” (Deuteronomy 32:29-30).
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD< He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the Fowler, and from the noisesome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that was tenth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (Psalm 91:1-16).
Now you might be wondering why I would choose to include these verses in this writing, and what these verses possibly have to do with the narrative that is before us today. If you begin reading the words which are written and recorded within the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find the kindness of David continuing after the kindness which he had shown unto Mephibosheth. I am convinced that these two passages are intrinsically linked and connected, for in both passages we find David seeking to show kindness unto others. In the ninth chapter of this Old Testament book we find David seeking to show kindness unto any member of Saul’s house for the sake of Jonathan his son. Ultimately, there would be one left of Saul’s house—Mephibosheth which was Jonathan’s son—which would not only be invited and summoned into the presence of the king, but who would also hear the king call his name, who would receive an open invitation to fellowship and relationship at the king’s table, and would experience the restoration of the inheritance of his family in the midst of the tribe of Benjamin. As you come to the tenth chapter of this book you will find the kindness of David continuing as he would seek to show kindness unto the king of Ammon. If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of this chapter you will find that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigning in his stead. It’s interesting to note that when you come to the second verse of the tenth chapter you will once more find the language of kindness, as when David heard that Hanun reigned as king over the children of Ammon in the stead of his father, he desired to show kindness unto him: “Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servant’s came into the land of the children of Ammon” (2 Samuel 10:1-3). What is so interesting and unique about this particular passage is that it has an entirely different outcome than what we find in the previous chapter. In the previous chapter we find David seeking to shew kindness unto unto any in the house of Saul for the sake of Jonathan his son, and how one was indeed brought into his presence and given a seat and place at his table. Whereas the kindness of David in the ninth chapter would result in one receiving a seat of fellowship at the table of David, the kindness of David in this passage would have an entirely different outcome. As you read the words which are found within this passage you will find that David’s attempt to display and show kindness unto the son of Nahash the king of Ammon was trampled upon, and was essentially spit upon by the newly appointed king of Ammon. If you begin reading with and from the third verse of this chapter you will find the following words which were written to describe the events which took place:
“And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? Hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your bears be grown, and then return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maach a thousand men, and of Ish-tomb twelve thousand men” (2 Samuel 10:3-6).
It’s actually quite unique and astounding to think about and consider the tremendous reality that this passage would begin with David seeking to show and display kindness unto the king of the children of Ammon after the death of his father, and yet despite the fact that it would begin and open up with David seeking to display kindness toward the king for the sake of his father who was dead, it would ultimately and inevitably end and conclude with war. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in this passage you will find that not only did one conflict arise out of this particular series of events, but there would be a second conflict that would arise as a result of this conflict. This passage reveals how David heard that Nahash’s son Hanun began reigning as king over the children of Ammon after his father had died. Determined to shew kindness unto Hanun in the death of his father, and because of the relationship his father had with David, he sent his servants unto him to bring comfort and consolation unto this newly appointed king. What we find in this passage, however, is the kindness of David being spit and trampled upon, as when the princes of the children of Ammon saw the servants which David had sent unto the king, they not only poisoned, but also hardened the heart of the king toward David. The princes of the children of Ammon suggested to Hanun that David had sent his servants into the city to spy and search it out in order that he might enter into it and overthrow it. Because of this poison and venom that was spewed into the hearing of Hanun king of Syria we find him not only spitting and trampling upon the kindness of David, but also humiliating the servants which David had sent unto him. Scripture reveals how Hanun cut their garments in the middle from the front all the way to the rear, as well as shaved off their beard. The men were then sent away completely and utterly humiliated and ashamed, and when David heard about it he came unto them. Upon seeing them, David instructed them to remain in Jericho until their beards had fully grown back, and they could then return. What we find taking place next is something that I am convinced shouldn’t have even happened, and yet it’s what happened when boys pretend to be kings, and when there are fools sitting upon the thrones of men, and in positions of authority and leadership within a nation. What you will find next is the children of Ammon realizing that what they had done had caused them to stink in the sight of David and before all the children of Israel. Unsure and unaware of how David would respond and what David would do, they sent and called for twenty-thousand plus men from among the Syrians in order that they might set themselves in array against the children of Israel. Upon hearing that the children of Ammon had joined forces with the Syrians, David sent Joab with all the host of the mighty men out toward and against this army which had sought to put themselves in array against the children of Israel. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the eighth verse of this chapter:
“And the children of Amazon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Macao, were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the eSyrians: and the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. Ands Joab drew night, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 10:8-14).
I have to admit that I absolutely love what I find written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for while we do in fact find the kindness of David being spit and trampled upon by the king of the children of Ammon after his princes had poisoned his mind and hardened his heart toward and against David, we find a conflict ensuing—not only between the children of Ammon and the host of the army of Israel, but also between the Syrians and the children of Israel. When the children of Ammon realized that they had stunk before David they might very well have perceived within their hearts that there was a possibility for David to engage them in conflict and battle. As a direct result of this, the king of the children of Ammon hired twenty-one thousand men from among the Syrians to join forces together with him in order that they might set the battle in array against David, against the children of Israel, and against those whom David would send out against them. In all reality, I can’t help but think about and consider what is written and recorded within this passage, and how it is a truly tremendous and powerful picture of kindness being misunderstood—and not only misunderstood, but also trampled and spit upon. One of the things I find to be so absolutely incredible about this passage of Scripture is that there is no indication that David would have engaged the children of Ammon in conflict and battle. We of course know that when the children of Ammon and the children of Syria set themselves in array against the children of Israel, David sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men out to meet the children of Ammon and the children of Syria. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing and astounding when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that there is absolutely no indication that David would have retaliated against the king of the children of Ammon because of what he had done unto those servants which he had sent unto them. In fact, we only find David enlisting Joab and the host of the mighty men after hearing that the children of Ammon had hired twenty-one thousand men from among the Syrians. It would only be after David received this report that he would then enlist the commander of his army, and would send the whole host of the mighty men with Joab against the children of Ammon, and the children of Syria. Oh I can’t help but wonder if David might not have been willing to overlook the actions which the king of the children of Ammon did unto the servants which he had sent. I can’t help but wonder if dodging the spears which Saul king of Israel had hurled at him, and if sparing the life of Saul king of Israel—not once but twice—had softened the heart of David and made it so tender that he was able to overlook the faults of others. I would dare say that it might very well be possible that David could have overlooked this horrific act which was done by the king of the children of Ammon, and would have allowed the men to remain in Jericho until their beards grew back, and that was the end of the matter.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE KINDNESS YOU SHOW OTHERS IS SPIT UPON? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE KINDNESS YOU SHOW OTHERS IS TRAMPLED UPON? WHEN KINDNESS RESULTS IN CONFLICT AND WARFARE! I have to admit that when I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, I am completely and utterly amazed that what would begin with a show and display of kindness would end up and result in not one, but two conflicts between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon and Syria. It’s worth noting that when you read the words in this passage of Scripture the kindness of David would result in an initial conflict between the host of the mighty men of Israel and the children of Ammon and those twenty-one thousand men they hired out of Syria. The narrative reads how when Joab saw that the front of this force was before and behind him, he divided the choice men of Israel and set them in battle against the Syrians, while dividing the remaining portion of the men and gave them into the hands of his brother Abishai against the children of Ammon. What I so absolutely love about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that when you read of the interaction between Joab and Abishai, you will find Joab declaring unto Abishai that if the battle was too great against him, then Abishai was to come alongside him and help in the battle. If the battle was too great against Abishai, then Joab would come alongside and fight together with him against that enemy which was in array before him. This is actually quite remarkable and astonishing when you think about the passages which I presented unto you before speaking of this narrative in the book of Second Samuel, for not only does Scripture speak of a thousand falling at thy side and ten thousand at thy right side, but Scripture also reveals and speaks of one putting a thousand to flight, and two putting ten thousand to flight. Pause for a moment and think about that reality, for according to the word and promises of the living God, Joab and his brother Abishai could very well and very easily have not only put a thousand to flight, but they could have put ten thousand to flight. According to the word and promise of God unto the children of Israel through His servant Moses, one of them would put a thousand to flight, and two would put ten thousand to flight. Stop and think about that reality for a moment, for there were twenty-one thousand Syrians which were set in array against the children of Israel—not including however many of the children of Ammon had been sent out in this fight and conflict. It’s worth noting that Joab and the host which was with him were set in array against twenty-one thousand Syrians, while Abishai and the host that was with him were set in array against the host of the children of Ammon.
As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find that when Joab and the host which was with him came unto the battle against the Syrians, they fled before him. When and as the children of Ammon saw the Syrians fleeing from before Joab and the host which was with him, they too fled before Abishai and entered into the city. Pause for a moment and think about the exchange which took place between Joab and Abishai, for here you have these two brothers who were united in their effort to wage war and conflict against that which had come out against the people of God, and when speaking to each other we find Joab speaking of the possibility that the battle would be too great for Abishai, in which case he would come to his aid. Conversely, if the battle was too great and the enemy was too strong for Joab, then Abishai would come to his aid and would fight alongside him. Essentially, I picture these two brothers fighting back to back—each against an enemy and adversary that would seek to come against the children of Israel. On the one hand we find Joab and the host that was with him fighting against the Syrians, while on the other hand we Abishai and the host that was with him fighting against the children of Ammon. I find it absolutely remarkable and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that both Joab and Abishai were prepared and ready for the possibility that the enemy and adversary which was before them to be too great and took strong for them. In the event that the battle was too great and too strong for one brother, there would be another brother who would be able to come alongside him and help him engage that enemy which was before him. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous and incredible reality, for within this passage we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality of brothers fighting together in battle, yet with each brother preparing for the reality that the battle and conflict which they themselves were engaged in being too strong and too powerful for them. In the event that the battle was too great and too strong for the one brother, the other brother would come alongside and help him. Oh, I can’t help but read the words which are found in this narrative and encounter the absolutely remarkable and astounding reality of brothers who are not only willing to engage the enemy which is before them, but brothers who are willing to come to the aid, and come alongside another brother if the battle which they are facing is too strong before and against them. Permit me to pause for a moment and ask you who are reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture if you feel as though you are fighting and engaging an enemy which you feel is too great and too strong for you. Are you currently engaged in battle and conflict against an enemy and adversary that is too great for you, and you are unsure as to how or whether or not you can and will experience victory over them?
What I so absolutely love about this passage is that both Joab and Abishai willing to come alongside, and come to the rescue of the other in the event that the battle which was set in array before and against them was too strong for them. Both brothers were prepared for the fact that the enemy and adversary that was before them might very well be too strong for them, and as a result of this, they agreed that should the enemy be too strong for one of them, the other would come alongside them to help them in the fight. Permit me to take a step back in this moment and ask you whether or not you have a brother who you know has your back—a brother who you know that if you are facing and engaging an enemy and adversary that is too strong for you, would come alongside you and help you fight and engage that enemy. What’s more, is I can’t help but ask whether or not you have at least one brother whom you know has your back in absolutely every circumstance, and who you know is ready, willing and able to assist you in that moment when the conflict you are facing is too great and too strong for and against you? In all reality, I can’t help but see a truly wonderful and powerful picture of intercession found in this passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture we find brothers who are willing to come alongside the other in the event that the battle which was before and against them be too great for them. We dare not and must not miss the incredible significance of this reality, for it brings us face to face with whether or not we ourselves are willing to come alongside others when the battle which is before them is too great, and when they might feel overwhelmed in the midst of the conflict and battle which they are currently facing. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Solomon the son of David and king of Israel wrote in the New Testament book of Ecclesiastes. As I bring this writing to a close I invite you consider the words which are written and recorded within this Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes as it brings us face to face with the tremendous strength and fortitude that is found when two or more gather together and are willing to join and align themselves with each other. Consider if you will the words which are written and found within the fourth chapter of this Old Testament book beginning to read with and from the seventh verse:
“Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child, nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12).