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Flowing Grace

2 Samuel 9:1-13 

 

"Then David said, 'Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?' [2] Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, 'Are you Ziba?' And he said, 'I am your servant.' [3] And the king said, 'Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?' And Ziba said to the king, 'There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet.' [4] So the king said to him, 'Where is he?' And Ziba said to the king, 'Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.'

I don't believe I could ever run a Bed & Breakfast. Can you imagine transforming a part of your home into a B&B? Not me. For one thing, I like my privacy too much. For another...well I just am not taken with the idea of catering to strangers and I doubt very seriously if their idea of breakfast and mine is the same thing. For us, it's a bowl of organic cereal with 2% Milk and a couple glasses of water, which we usually eat in bed while watching the news. At our house, we pick up the place every couple of weeks and usually clean it whenever it gets so dirty that we don't have an alternative. I'm not saying we're slobs-you can draw your own conclusions, but I don't think anyone in their right mind would hand over their hard earned money to stay with us. Really, I don't like staying at Bed & Breakfasts either. I usually feel like I'm intruding on someone else's space. But that's not the way I felt a couple weeks ago when we stayed in at Ingrid's Inn, a Bed and Breakfast just outside of Kenai, Alaska. Rev. and Mrs. Edgerly run the Inn and opened their home and hearts up to us when we were there. It was a grand experience. They provided us with a beautiful room, wonderful breakfasts and even drove us to our speaking engagements so we wouldn't have to rent a car. They definitely have the gift of hospitality-the ability to make a stranger feel at home.

Machir had the same gift. When David heard that Machir was housing Mephibosheth, he must have flashed back to when Machir had cared for him when he was in exile. 2 Samuel 17:27-29 says, "Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, [28] brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, [29] honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, to eat; for they said, 'The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.'"

In many ways, Machir is just a biblical footnote, playing a supporting role in the Biblical narrative. The most significant thing the scripture records that he ever did is to provide hospitality to David when he was in exile and to Jonathan's son when he had no where else to turn. But really, is there anything more significant he could have done with his life than to be God's instrument of grace and mercy to people who were down on their luck?

When the messenger showed up at Machir's door to summon Mephibosheth, I'm sure Mephibosheth thought his luck had gone from bad to worse. Why would the King want to see him? Was he on a witch hunt trying to exterminate any of Saul's descendants? It would have been very easy for Mephibosheth to grow bitter over the years-after all, he was born a prince of Israel, but now he was a nobody, depending on the kindness of strangers for his subsistence. Certainly if he wasn't bitter he could have been paranoid. I'm sure his mind raced when he heard David wanted to see him, and I doubt if he couldn't have dreamed in a million years what was about to happen.

Let's rejoin the narrative in verse 5. "Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. [6] And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, 'Mephibosheth.' And he said, 'Here is your servant!'"

What do you think Mephibosheth is thinking now? Is he on his face as a way to beg for mercy? Was he afraid? David thought he was, he said, "'Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.' [8] Again he prostrated himself and said, 'What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?'"

Let's pause the story for a moment. Look at the question he asks in verse 8 again, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?" I suppose that even the most schooled in the theology of grace still is surprised when he encounters the richness of the grace of God. Even when we understand that our salvation is not something that we can earn, that it is totally a gift from God, we are still amazed that God would give it to us-because we are not worthy. Mephibosheth knew he was unworthy of David's grace. But what he didn't know is that David and his father had made a promise to each other. When we read 1 Samuel 20:42 I told you to bookmark it in your mind because it would play a significant role later in the sermon series. That time has arrived. The verse says, "And Jonathan said to David, 'Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, 'The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'' Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.'"

Jonathan had already kept his end of the vow. To his dying breath, he remained loyal to his friend, and now David was keeping his end of the bargain. With Mephibosheth still on the ground, David sprung into action. Resuming our reading with verse 9: "Then the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, 'All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. [10] And you and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master's grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly.' Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. [11] Then Ziba said to the king, 'According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.' So Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one of the king's sons. [12] And Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth. [13] So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate at the king's table regularly. Now he was lame in both feet."

King David gave Mephibosheth all of his grandfather's wealth and gave him a place at the King's table just like he would have had if his grandfather was still on the throne. Grace is a beautiful thing.

It is never something we deserve; it always flows out of the heart of the person giving it. Just as Mephibosheth didn't deserve his grandfather's wealth, and he didn't deserve to place his feet under the King's table, neither did he deserve the hospitality of Machir. He deserved nothing. He didn't get anything because he had it coming to him. He received respite from Machir because of the kindness of Machir's heart and he received succor from David because of the integrity of David's heart.

Grace is powerful. In an interview with beliefnet.com, Bono Vox of U2 said, "The most powerful idea that's entered the world in the last few thousand years--the idea of grace--is the reason I would like to be a Christian. Though, as I said to The Edge (U2 guitarist) one day, I sometimes feel more like a fan, rather than actually in the band. I can't live up to it. But the reason I would like to is the idea of grace. It's really powerful." (beliefnet.com (February 2001), submitted by Dave Bootsma)

Yes, it is powerful. By grace, God saves our souls and gives us purpose. Ephes. 2:8-9 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)

Have you received God's grace? If not you can today. Not because you deserve it, but because you don't. Just as David gave grace to Mephibosheth because of Jonathan, God gives us grace because of His son, Jesus Christ. Will you receive it today?

For the rest of his life, Mephibosheth sat at the kings's table, but he didn't have too-he could have refused the grace of the king or the hospitality of Machir for that matter and spent his life living in the street. But he didn't. He accepted the hospitality of Machir and the grace of the King. And it would have been a tragedy if he didn't. 

And it will be a tragedy if you don't accept the grace of God today.

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