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Flowing Grace

2 Samuel 9:1-13 

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"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.

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