Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles, which describes the days of the reign of David son of Jesse king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passages is found in chapters nineteen through twenty-three of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find another account of certain events within the life of David being mentioned and recorded by David the king of Israel. As you read the words which are written in this passage of Scripture you will be brought first and foremost to an even within David’s life which would begin with David intending on showing great kindness to the son of a foreign king after the death of his father. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of the nineteenth chapter you will encounter Nahash the king of the children of Ammon dying, and his son beginning to reign in his stead. Upon hearing that Nahash the king was dead and that his son had succeeded him as king upon the throne in Ammon, David said within himself that he would shew kingdness unto Hanun which was the son of the king of the children of Ammon. In David’s heart and mind David purposed that he would show kindness unto this new king of the children of Ammon in direct response to his father showing kindness unto him. In all reality, this is quite intriguing and quite astonishing when you consider it in light of what we read and find in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel we find David seeking to show kindness to another son in direct response to his father whom David also shared a closed relationship. WHEN THE KING SHOWS KINDNESS UNTO THE SONS! WHEN SONS ARE RECIPIENTS OF THE KINDNESS OF THE KING! WHEN A NEW GENERATION EXPERIENCES THE KINDNESS OF THE KING! It’s quite interesting when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture—and not only this passage of Scripture, but also the passages which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for within these passages you will fin David purposing and determining to show kindness unto a new generation in direct response to who their father was. This is truly astonishing when you think about it in terms of us as the people of God, for the eternal King of kings and the eternal Lord of lords desires to show kindness unto a generation of sons and a generation of daughters in direct response to who their Father is. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for it helps us understand the truly astonishing reality of a King who is not only madly in love with us, but a King who desires to show us kindness. Before I present you with the words which are written and found in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, I would like to present you with the words which are found in the opening chapter of the epistle of Paul which was written and sent unto the congregation of the Ephesians. Consider if you will the words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the third verse:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predinstated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to this good pleasures which he had purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predstinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the LORD Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-22).
The words which we find written and recorded within the opening chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Ephesians brings us face to face with the tremendous kindness the eternal King desires to show us because of who our Father is. What’s more, is that it also presents it to us the other way, for not only does the King desires to show us kindness because of who our Father is, but so also does the eternal Father desire to show us kindness because of who the Son is, and because of our direct relationship to and with the Son. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this truly astonishing and powerful reality, for we must recognize the tremendous kindness the living and eternal King of glory desires to show unto us within our lives. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you truly stopped to think about the kindness of the living God toward you? When was the last time you stopped and considered the kindness which the LORD your God has showed toward you—not necessarily because of who you are, but because of who He is, and because of who His Son is? When was the last time you allowed yourself to get caught up in the kindness of the eternal God toward you—a kindness that brings you to repentance, and a kindness which helps to bring you into what the living God desires, and which helps transform and make you into that which the eternal God desires you to be? As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that we have been shown a great kindness by the eternal King because of who the Father is. The underlying question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we can truly see the kindness the eternal King desires to show unto us, or whether our eyes are blinded to that particular reality. Are we truly able to see the eternal kindness of the King, and recognize that the King desires to show us kindness because of who our Father is? There are two sons—two generations if you will—which David the king of Israel desired to show kindness to, and this is simply and solely because of who their fathers were. One son was the son of a king of the children of Ammon who had recently died, while the other son was the son of David’s closest friend, brother and companion—one who helped him greatly during the early days when Saul sought to pursue, overtake and kill him. In the book of Second Samuel we encounter and come face to face with the strong narrative of David seeking to show kindness to anyone who was left of the house of Saul, and he desires to do so for the sake of Jonathan his son whom David’s soul loved, and whom David’s soul was knit together in a bond of peace and friendship. Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was the first son whom David desired to show kindness to for the sake of the father, while Hanun the son of Nahash the king of the children of Ammon was the second son whom David desired to show kindness to. It is at this point I invite you to consider the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for it is within this book where we find the narrative of David’s kindness which he desired to show unto both of these sons for the sake of who their fathers were. Consider if you will each of these narratives, for they can and will help set the stage for the narrative of another son that is mentioned in this particular section in the book of First Chronicles—namely, the son of the king of Israel, which was Solomon who was born unto David by Bathsheba:
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I Amy 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 kind David sent, and fetched I’m out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of 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 for 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 thou shouldest look upon 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 sons. 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).
“And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 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 servants came into the land of the children of Ammon” (2 Samuel 10:1-2).
While both of these passages represent and bring us face to face with the incredible reality of David the king of Israel desiring to show kindness unto a new generation that would emerge in the earth, it is in all reality a wonderful display of the response to the kindness which the recipients of this kindness. In the ninth chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find David looking for a member of the house of Saul whom he might show kindness unto for the sake of Jonathan who was the son of Saul king of Israel. David would indeed learn and discover that Jonathan did in fact have a son, yet this sons of Jonathan was lame in both feet and dwelt in Lo-debar. Upon hearing that Jonathan had a son, David immediately called for this son to be brought into his presence. What makes this truly astonishing and truly remarkable is that I am sure when Mephibosheth realized that he was being summoned into the presence of the king, he had absolutely no idea what to expect once he stood before the king. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if upon hearing that he was being summoned into the presence of the king he didn’t experience a certain degree and a certain measure of fear within his heart and soul, for he might have very easily thought the king was summoning him to put him to death in order to destroy the house of Saul. Undoubtedly this son of Jonathan would have been aware of the war the took place between the house of Saul and the house of David—a war which would break out in the days after the death of Saul, and the death of three of his sons, which would include Jonathan. In fact, Scripture reveals and records how when Saul and Jonathan were both slain in battle, the nurse for Mephibosheth hurriedly rushed him away in order to somehow spare this young lad from being consumed in the fierce war and battle between the houses of David and Saul. It would be in the process of fleeing that this son of Jonathan would fall and would become lame and crippled in both feet. For the rest of his life he would be lame and crippled in both of his feet. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this fact, for not only did Mephibosheth represent the house of Saul with whom David had war with during those early years of his reigning as king in Hebron, but so also was this son of Jonathan lame in both feet. What truly amazes me, and what is truly astonishing is when you think about the fact that not only did David invite a direct descendant of Saul into his presence, and ultimately unto his table, but David also invited into his presence and unto his own table one who was lame. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the tremendous kindness the eternal King desires to show and display toward us within our lives—a kindness that is not concerned with whether or not we might be lame, a kindness that is not concerned with whether or not we might be deemed as an outcast, and are rejected and despised.
In all reality, I find the narrative of David the king of Israel to be truly astonishing and remarkable—particularly and especially when you consider the Son of David who would emerge on to the scene and would be manifested in the earth centuries later in the land of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria. When you come to the days and times of Jesus the Christ whom Scripture refers to as the Son of David, you will find that Jesus Himself showed great kindness to all those who were in need of healing, and all those who were in need of cleansing and restoration. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus offer healing to those who were lame, those who were blind, those who were deaf, those who were crippled, those who had all manner of infirmities, but Jesus also invited them to the table of His Father who was in heaven. Through the narrative of Jesus the Christ—the eternal Son of David—we find Him demonstrating and showing kindness unto all those whom society would consider as outcasts, as rejects, and who society would demonize and marginalize. It is truly incredible and beautiful to think about and consider that Jesus did more than heal the blind, Jesus did more than simply heal the lame, Jesus did more than simply heal the deaf and the mute, and Jesus did more than to cleanse the lepers, for that which Jesus did was invite such individuals unto the table of His Father who was in heaven. We must recognize and understand this truly wonderful and beautiful reality, for it brings us face to face with the tremendous narrative of kindness which the eternal Son of David—that One who would ultimately sit upon the throne of David his father in the city of Jerusalem—would show, demonstrate and manifest unto all those who were in desperate need of healing, those who were in desperate need of cleansing, and even those who were in desperate need of forgiveness. The more I think about it, the more I can’t help but think that when Jesus healed the lame, when Jesus healed the blind, when Jesus healed the maimed, when Jesus healed the deaf, when Jesus healed the crippled—not only was He offering healing into the lives of these individuals, but so also was Jesus restoring living sacrifices which were holy and acceptable in the sight and presence of the living God. What’s more, is that Jesus would invite these whom society would marginalize, demonize and reject unto the table of His Father who was in heaven. In fact, I invite you consider the words which are written and recorded within the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ who would not only heal all those who were sick, all those who had infirmities, but also all those who had all types and manners of maladies. Consider if you will the following words which are found and written within the four gospel narratives concerning that which Jesus did and performed during the three and a half years He walked among us in the form of human flesh:
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of p Eppler from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25).
“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:16-17).
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every didseas among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).
“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken be Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Matthew 12:14-21).
“When Jesus heard of it, he departed then you by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is not past; send the multitud away, that they may go into the villages, and but themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them. They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 14:13-21).
“And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they gloried the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:30-31).
“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there” (Matthew 19:1-2).
“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Matthew 21:14).
“And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him” (Mark 1:32-34).
“But Jesus withdrew Himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should thron him. For he healed many, insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known” (Mark 3:7-12).
“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers died seas brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And He breaking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was the Christ” (Luke 4:40-41).
“But so much the more went there a fame abroad of Him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:15=16).
“And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and form the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (Luke 6:17-19).
“And the apostles, when they returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9:10-11).
The more I read these individual narratives which are written within the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry (although there are many other accounts which are recorded within the gospel narratives), the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that not only did Jesus heal many of their diseases, of their infirmities, and of that which plagued them, but Jesus also invited them to a table—a table that was not prepared by, nor laid out by the hands of man. THE UNSEEN TABLE OF HEALING! There is not a doubt in my mind that when you read and consider the many works which Jesus the Christ performed during His life and ministry, you will come face to face with an unseen table that could not be seen with the natural eyes, nor which could be fathomed with the human mind. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss out on—not only what Jesus the Christ did for all those whom He encountered, but also what David did generations and centuries earlier. It’s one thing to read of the countless miracles and healings which Jesus did and performed in the midst of Judaea, Jerusalem, Galilee, and Samaria, and yet not encounter, nor come to realize the incredible and tremendous table that was set before those whom He encountered and those whom He healed. There is not a doubt in my mind that whenever Jesus healed those whom He encountered, and those whom He came in contact with, He sought to do more than simply heal them, but sought to invite them into fellowship and relationship with His Heavenly Father, and even to a table whereby they might feast on the goodness, the kindness, the mercy, the grace, the compassion, and the love of the Father. The more you read and the more you consider the words which are written and found within these chapters, the more you will come to terms with the fact that with each person Jesus healed there was an unseen invitation to those whom He healed—an invitation to come to the table and feast with the King of kings and Lord of lords. I am absolutely astounded and captivated with and by this reality, for it reveals something truly spectacular during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for Jesus desired to do more than simply heal those whom He came in contact with. Jesus desired to heal the blind, to heal the deaf, to heal the mute, to heal the lame, to heal the crippled, and to heal all those who had infirmities and diseases, but with that healing came a wonderful and powerful invitation to enter into a newness of life beyond anything they could comprehend. There was with each and every healing Jesus engaged in an encounter with the grace and the mercy of the living God, as the Heavenly Father desired to flow through the person of Jesus Christ to each and every individual He came in contact with. What’s more, is that I absolutely love the fact that Jesus didn’t simply heal a few individuals here and there, but time and time again you will find the words “multitudes” and “many” used to describe those whom Jesus encountered and those whom Jesus healed.
When I sit here and think about the narrative of Mephibosheth, I can’t help but come face to face with the tremendous truth that here was a descendant of Saul, and more specifically the son of Jonathan whom was lame in both feet, and who had spent most of his life being lame in those two feet, and yet here we find the king of Israel inviting him into his presence. Here we find the king of Israel inviting this lame and cripple into his presence—and not only inviting him into his presence, but calling him by name, by restoring unto him that which had been lost, and even giving him a seat at the king’s table. It is absolutely remarkable that we think about and consider the fact that instead of finding judgment, instead of finding wrath, instead of finding condemnation, and even instead of finding death in the presence of the king, this son of Jonathan and descendant of the house of Saul found the exact opposite. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that Mephibosheth undoubtedly expected to meet his end and to suffer the same fate as those in his father’s household, and yet when he entered into the presence of the king, the king called him by name, and invited him into something beyond anything he could even think or imagine. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this truly incredible reality, for it shines a great light on what the eternal King seeks to do within our lives at this time. Do you recognize—I mean truly recognize—the tremendous invitation the King has given and offered to you in this lifetime? Do you truly understand that which the eternal King has done for you in this life, and how the King has invited you into a place of fellowship and relationship with him—a relationship beyond anything you could ever think or imagine. It is this concept of relationship that is written and found within the gospel narratives, for within the gospel; narratives we come face to face with the fact that there is a truly incredible invitation given to all those men and women who will hear the voice of the King and who will respond to it. As you read the words which are found within the gospel narratives you will find distinct parables which Jesus the Christ spoke unto all those who came into him—parables that spoke of the kingdom of heaven, and which spoke concerning the great invitation that was given unto countless individuals to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb, and even the great banquet which the eternal King desires to prepare for them. Do you truly understand and do you truly recognize the absolutely incredible reality that a table has been prepared—and is still being prepared for you—in eternity and in heaven, and that there is an invitation that is being issued to you to come unto the table and to feast at this table with the King. IN order to truly understand that which was offered unto Mephibosheth, as well as unto Hanun the son of Nahash the king of the children of Ammon, I invite you to consider two distinct parables which Jesus the Christ spoke while He walked upon the earth. Consider if you will the words which are found in both the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, as well as the twenty-fifth chapter of the same New Testament gospel:
“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage of this son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were hidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are hidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my failings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murders, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were hidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and vie were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumped and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, No so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and but for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:1-13).
With each of these passages we encounter and come face to face with the strong and undeniable reality that there is indeed an invitation that is being given to come to an incredible banquet and an incredible marriage that has been prepared for the eternal and only begotten Son by the Father. Each of these parables bring us face to face with the truly remarkable reality that the kingdom of heaven is indeed like a great feast, a great marriage, a great marriage supper that has been prepared, and that there have been countless innumerable masses which have been called and invited to come unto this marriage. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for if you truly consider this reality you will find that this marriage and this feast was not prepared simply for those who have it all together, nor for the polished, nor for the pristine, nor for the healthy, nor for those who outwardly appear as though they have everything together. This invitation that has been given is for the blind, is for the lame, is for the deaf, is for the mute, is for the crippled, is for the leprous, and is for all those whom society rejected, isolated, demonized, marginalized, and treated as outcasts. In fact, if you read and consider these narratives within the four gospel narratives you will quickly come to terms with the fact that the invitation was given to all those in the highways and all those in the streets and all those whom we wouldn’t think or expect would even have a place at the table. The truth of the matter, however, is that when the time does in fact come for all those who have been called and chosen to come unto the marriage of the Lamb, there will be countless individuals present whom society would have never thought worthy, and would never have thought should be invited to such a great and such a grand banquet. What I so love about the narrative of David as king over Israel, and his invitation given unto Mephibohseth is that despite the fact that he was lame, and despite the fact that he was crippled, and had been pretty much his entire life, the king still invited him to his table. What’s more, is that not only did the king overlook what others might see as a defect, but the king also overlooked the transgression and the betrayal of Saul his grandfather. It is truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that David was not only willing to overlook this son of Jonathan being lame and crippled in both feet, but he was also willing to overlook the fact that his grandfather had tried to kill him with spears on two separate occasions, how his grandfather recklessly pursued him to overtake and kill him, and how his grandfather betrayed him more than once. The king of Israel was willing to overlook all of this in order that he might extend an invitation to this son of Jonathan, and to give him a seat and place at his own table.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE KING HAS OVERLOOKED TO EXTEND AN INVITATION TO YOU? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE KING HAS OVERLOOKED TO INVITE YOU TO THE TABLE? WHAT HAS THE KING OVERLOOKED IN ORDER TO INVITE YOU TO THE TABLE? What I so absolutely love about this whole reality is that David’s sole reason for calling this son of Jonathan into his presence was to show kindness to him—kindness which would not only give him a seat at the king’s table, but also kindness that would allow him to receive everything that was lost as a result of the war between the house of David and the house of Saul. When Mephibosheth entered into the presence of the king of Israel he entered in as a lame and cripple without an inheritance and without anything to truly to speak of, and yet when he would leave the presence of the king on that day he would leave with inheritance restored and with a seat at the table of the king. INHERITANCE RESTORED AND A SEAT AT THE KING’S TABLE! How beautiful, how wonderful, how awesome it is to read and consider the narrative of Mephibosheth and to think about the fact that here was this lame and this cripple who had spent his entire life living in Lo-Debar, and yet there would come one day that would completely and dramatically alter and change his life. There would come a day when he would be summoned and called by the king not knowing what would befall him upon entering into the presence of the king. I can’t help but wonder what that journey of Mephibosheth was like as he journeyed from Lo-Debar to the city of Jerusalem, and into the presence of David the king of Israel. What’s more, is that as he left and departed from the presence of the king, he would leave with an inheritance, he would leave with a seat at the king’s table, and he would leave with a promise of future provision. Please mark this reality and mark it well within your heart, within your soul, and within the very depths of your spirit, for this is what is so beautiful about the words of the apostle Paul when writing unto the Ephesian saints. Within the opening chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Ephesian saints we find the apostle Paul speaking of the inheritance that we have in the person of Jesus Christ, and how the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us—not with a single spiritual blessings, nor with many spiritual blessings, nor with a few spiritual blessings, but with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. How truly amazing it is to read the words which are written and recorded in the first and opening chapter of the book of Ephesians and encounter the great kindness and the great compassion and grace the LORD our God has bestowed upon us in this life, and how the living and eternal God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Pause for a moment and think about that truth—the truth that although you might not have been blessed with every material blessing in earthly places, you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. The question I can’t help but ask is which you would rather and which you would rather within your life—being blessed with all material blessings in earthly places, or with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.
As I was walking and praying this morning I found myself encountering the fact that there is a dramatic and drastic difference between material blessing and prosperity, and soul and spiritual prosperity. There are countless men and women who pursue material prosperity and there are countless ministers who preach a material prosperity, and yet the truth of the matter is that even more than, and above a material prosperity we have been called to an even greater prosperity—one that is not based or contingent on what we receive in the earthly and natural realm, but what we receive in the spiritual and heavenly realm. There are countless men who are abundant in material wealth, but oh how many men and women are abundant in spiritual wealth? There are countless men and women who are wealthy in earthly realms and in earthly things, yet how many men and women are truly prosperous within their hearts, within their souls and within their spirits? Perhaps the question that should be asked is which you would rather and which you would prefer within your life—material prosperity, or soul and spiritual prosperity. The apostle Paul did emphatically write about being blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly place, and yet how many of us pursue every material blessing in earthly places? How many of us are unwilling to lay hold of every spiritual blessing because we are so busy and we are so caught up and consumed with earthly and material blessings? I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke when He instructed us to not lay for ourselves treasures here on the earth where moth and rust does in fact corrupt and corrode, but lay up for ourselves treasures in heavens. One of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves right now is where our treasures are and where are treasures lie. Jesus would go on to emphatically declare that where our our treasure is there our heart will be. This statement means that if your treasure is hear on the earth, then you heart is also directly connected and linked to the earth. Remember what James declared when he wrote that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Remember what the apostle John wrote and admonished us when he warned us to not love the world, nor the things which are in the world, for those who love the world do not have the love of the Father within their hearts and beings. Consider if you will the words which our Lord Jesus spoke when He delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through no steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! NO man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cute bit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they throw; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothed you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? OR wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:19-34).
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about something which I have never seen before in this particular passage, and in these words which Jesus the Christ spoke. If you read these words you will find Jesus speaking of Solomon, and declaring of Solomon the son of David and king of Israel that not even he in all his glory was clothed like the lilies of the field. What’s more, is that as you read the words of Jesus you will find Him instructing us not to concern ourselves with what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or even with what we can and will be clothed. Jesus would go on to emphatically declare that our Heavenly Father knows that we have need of all these things, and it’s after these things the Gentiles do in fact seek after. Jesus would then go on to boldly instruct and command us to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and that all these things shall be added unto us. I can’t help but see a strong and powerful connection and link between the instruction to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things being added unto you, and that which was demonstrated within Solomon’s life and reign as king over the nation of Israel. As you read the words which are written and recorded within the books of First Kings, as well as the books of Second Chronicles you will find the living and eternal God speaking unto Solomon by dream during the night and inviting him to ask of him what he would. It’s truly intriguing to think about and consider the fact that when Solomon responded to the LORD that night, he didn’t ask for wealth, he didn’t ask for the necks of his enemies, he didn’t ask for those things which would normally be asked for should such an invitation be given by the living God. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that Solomon recognized his inadequacies and his shortcomings, and as a direct result, he asked God for one thing, and one thing alone—namely, wisdom. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this, for within this narrative of Solomon you will find who was not interested in his own prosperity, his own well-being, his needs, his own desires and his own wants, but his need was essentially for the kingdom of Israel, which could ultimately be described as the kingdom of God. I can’t help but see within the narrative of Solomon king of Israel a tremendous delight and tremendous desire in the kingdom of God, and his desire for wisdom to be able to rule and govern in the midst of that kingdom. It’s worth noting that when you read the narrative of Solomon you will find the LORD declaring unto him that because he didn’t ask for wealth, because he didn’t ask for material prosperity, because he didn’t ask for long life, or even the necks of his enemies, the LORD would give him everything that he didn’t ask for. Pay close attention to this, for essentially that which the LORD was giving Solomon were all those things he didn’t ask for, or essentially—“all these things shall be added unto you.”
Permit me to take a moment right here and ask whether or the kingdom of God is your top priority and that which you pursue above anything and everything within your life, or are you one who continually and repeatedly pursues your own desires, your own needs, your own wants, your own pleasures, your own delights, and the like? Are you one who truly seeks first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, or do you seek your own well-being, your own happiness, your own delight and pleasure? Solomon asked for wisdom—not even for himself that he might be considered the wisest man who ever lived, but in order that he might rule and govern the nation and kingdom of Israel. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for it brings us face to face with the fact that what Solomon did and what he was doing on that fateful night was seek first the kingdom of God, which at that point was represented by the kingdom of Israel. What we must recognize and understand is that the kingdom of Israel did not belong to the king which sat upon the throne, nor did the kingdom even belong to Israel itself, but rather it belonged to the eternal and living God. When Solomon asked the LORD for wisdom, what he was truly and ultimately asking for was the well-being of the kingdom of God, for the kingdom of Israel was the manifestation and representation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. Solomon asked for wisdom from the LORD because his concern was not for himself, nor was his concern for his own desires, delights, pleasures and needs, but for the people who had been entrusted into his care. I have to admit that not only do I love the fact that Solomon asked for wisdom above everything else in order that he might be able to govern the kingdom of Israel, but in direct response to his one request, the LORD promised and declared unto him that because he asked for wisdom—essentially, because he sought first and above everything else the kingdom of God and His righteousness—all those things would be added unto him. WHEN THOSE THINGS YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR ARE ADDED UNTO YOU! WHEN YOUR PURSUIT IS NOT YOURSELF! WHEN YOU ARE NO LONGER CONCERNED WITH YOUR OWN WELL-BEING, BUT WITH THE WELL-BEING OF OTHERS. Consider if you will the narrative of this fateful night in the life of Solomon, as it is written and recorded—not only within the book of First Kings, but also within the book of Second Chronicles:
“In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: For who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, entire half the thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all they days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the Ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants” (1 Kings 3:5-15).
“In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel” (2 Chronicles 1:7-13).
I sit here today and I can’t help but think about the absolutely remarkable reality that Solomon—this son of David who sat upon the throne of David in Jerusalem—was presented with the opportunity to ask the LORD for whatever he would, and that which he was most concerned with was the kingdom of God. On that night when Solomon received a dream by night from the LORD his chief and main concern was for the kingdom of God, and that he might be given wisdom and knowledge and understanding—this above riches, long life and the lives of his enemies. What I so absolutely love and find utterly fascinating about this reality is that the living God emphatically declared unto Solomon that because this was in his heart, and because of what he didn’t ask for—not only would the LORD give him what he asked for, but the LORD would give him what he didn’t ask for. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truly beautiful and incredible reality, for it’s worth noting that because of the desire that was in his heart, and because his chief and ultimate concern was for the kingdom of God and for His righteousness, the LORD would give him both what he asked for, and what he didn’t ask for. This cannot and should not be overlooked, for it shines a tremendous amount of light on what Jesus the Christ spoke when He instructed His disciples and followers to seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God, and all those things would be added unto you. The single greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not our chief and primary pursuit and passion is indeed and is in fact the kingdom of God, or whether it is simply our own endeavors, our own passions, our own desires, our own needs, our own wants, and the like. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this fact, for it brings us face to face with its direct implication for what is found within our own hearts and our own lives. I absolutely love how Jesus declared that if and when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness alone and above everything else, then He will give us all those other things—not even that we necessarily want, but those things which He knows we have need of. Isn’t it remarkable how the LORD our God not only knows what we have need of before we voice and speak it, but He is also ready to give us what we need—even before we ask for it—when we make the kingdom of God our chief and ultimate pursuit. I fully recognize that this narrative and these passages within the book of First Chronicles deals with David desiring to show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash the king of the children of Ammon, however, we must recognize that at the end of the passage we are brought to David’s own instruction which he would speak unto Solomon before he died and went the way of all the earth. What I so love about this is that Solomon recognized and understood the tremendous need and importance for wisdom, for even when you read the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find a tremendous emphasis on wisdom and it’s importance within our lives. What’s more, is you will find a tremendous emphasis on knowledge, on understanding and on discretion. As I bring this writing to a close I would like to leave you with the words which Solomon the son of David wrote when he pursued and sought after the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and not only received a wise and understanding heart from the LORD, but also all those things which he did not and had not asked for:
“The probers of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privileges for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: we shall find all previous substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: my son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privileges for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laughter at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:1-33).
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORd, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk up rightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the veil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (Proverbs 2:1-22).
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding that he established the heavens. By knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, that shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:13-26).