After David requested to build a temple for the Lord, he begins thinking of ways he can show kindness to others…or as David puts it, “to whom I may show the kindness of God.” Today we see two different responses to acts of kindness:
1) David remembers the promise he made to Jonathan regarding their descendants (1 Samuel 20). David asks if anyone is alive from the house of Saul “that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Ziba, a servant of the house of Saul, tells David about Mephibosheth who is lame in his feet and hiding out in Lo Debar. Remember that Mephibosheth became lame in his feet when his nurse dropped him while fleeing at the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. The nurse hid Mephibosheth because it was customary in those days for the new king to kill any heirs of the previous king to ensure that his throne would not be challenged. But David loved Saul’s son Jonathan and wanted to honor the covenant that he made with him, so Mephibosheth is brought to David. However, Mephibosheth does not know David’s intentions so he “fell on his face and prostrated himself” before David. David tells Mephibosheth, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” Mephibosheth responds, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
The grace shown to Mephibosheth is a beautiful picture of the grace found in Christ. Jesus will later say, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-15). Jesus will also say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). David understands this to be true as he shows Mephibosheth the kindness of the Lord. And Mephibosheth receives this grace and will go on to be one of most loyal and faithful men in the kingdom.
2) After showing kindness to Jonathan’s son, David attempts to show kindness to Nahash’s son for the kindness Nahash showed David. When Nashash died his son Hanum became the new king. “So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.” However, Hanum is suspicious of David’s kindness and humiliates his men by shaving off half their beards, cutting their garments at their buttocks, and sending them away which was a direct insult to King David. Hanum’s false assumptions of David’s act of kindness leads to war and the Lord provides Israel victory over their enemies.
So Mephibosheth was blessed by David’s act of kindness and Hanum was wrongly suspicious of David. This just proves that you have no control over how someone will respond to your kindness. Be kind anyway.
Paul will later say to the Christians, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
So today we read about David’s acts of kindness and generosity but tomorrow David makes a fleshy decision based on lust of the eye which leads him into more sin than he probably ever thought he was capable of committing. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are never going to sin but it is how you respond after a fall that sets you apart. Keep reading to see how a man after God’s own heart recovers after major moral failures.
(2 Samuel 8:15-18, 1 Chronicles 18:14-17, 1 Chronicles 6:16-30, 50-53, 31-48, 2 Samuel 9:1-10:19, 1 Chronicles 19:1-19)