2 Samuel 9:1-13 A meaningful life though obscure is more glorious than a glamorous one
2 Samuel 9:1-13
1 One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive- anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. 3 The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo- debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.”
5 So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. 6 His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.” 7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” 8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Ziba replied, 11 “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons.
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.
“Do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 1 Samuel 20:15. This plea of Jonathan undergirds David’s compassion to Mephibosheth whom he brings from obscurity to a place of honor at the king’s table. David’s gesture towards the son of Jonathan shows his humility and unchanging loyalty towards his friends despite his meteoric rise to eminence. We also observe his sophistication in restoring dignity to Jonathan’s descendants by instilling self-sufficiency through an agricultural enterprise.
Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive- anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? – David, after conquering vast territories and subdued age-old enemies remembered his pledge to Jonathan and the covenant they made: And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David. 1 Samuel 20:14-16. He summoned Ziba and realized that one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive.
Don’t be afraid! – The return of Saul’s property to his descendent is a rightful act on David’s part. But to be able to eat at the King’s table as part of David’s family is truly an act of kindness and grace. It shows David’s tenderness of heart and his enduring loyalty towards his friends.
You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household – David restores to Mephibosheth everything that belongs to Saul including his servants. David also commanded Ziba to farm the land so that, the household of Mephibosheth and his descendants would be self-sustaining. By helping Mephibosheth set up an agricultural business, he restores dignity to Jonathan’s descendants.
- A meaningful life is not being rich or powerful, but being wise, loyal and humble. And being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. Most people change when they rise in wealth and power. Yet there are those who are unchanging; they remain loyal to their friends regardless of their fortunes; they do not let riches affect their values system and the way they live. Despite David’s meteoric rise from fugitive to king of a regional power, he remains loyal to his friends and takes care of them. Such is a true mark of a righteous man. Yet there is an evil in this world, where power is given to foolish people and lowly positions to those of proven character. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes says, “I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes – and princes walking like servants.” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). When the day of judgment arrives, Jesus will execute righteous judgment to vindicate and exalt those who are humble and faithful. Therefore, it is important that believers first acquire the virtue of humility before the time of exaltation comes. The apostle Peter says,
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6
God sees our hearts and knows our ability to handle power without being handled by it. Hence, our eyes should be squarely focused on acquiring Christ-likeness without being distracted by the prospect of being famous, and God will give us a place of service that best fits our original design. A meaningful life but obscure life is more glorious than a glamorous one.
- The only way to restore dignity is to teach them how to fish and be self-sustaining. Handouts only facilitate the need for more handouts. Much resource has been spent on feeding the mouths of laggards who think they have no capabilities to support themselves and contribute to society. David restores Mephibosheth’s estate and commanded his servants to farm the land so that they could start an agricultural business. Such is true restoration of a man’s dignity. Eating at the king’s table does not change his status of dependency and self-deprivation; it only makes him a dignified cripple.
- Do you look down on others because they are less savvy and skilled at climbing the social ladder? Do you change your friends because you have achieved a higher level of social connection? Do you change your lifestyle and acquire more gadgets just because you could afford it? God gives us more resources so that we can serve the people who are near to us.
- Do you sooth your conscience by throwing money at those who are in need instead of being there in person. Money may be able to solve some short-term problems, but only by being there in person can we exalt another out of their despair. Our primary goal in the ministry of helps is to restore people’s dignity and self-confidence, not just to help them live another day.
Dear Lord, even as I ask you to exalt me to a higher level of influence, cause me to remain humble and loyal so that I can be a blessing to others. I realize that there are so many who needed help but few are willing to invest their time for the needy. I pray for more laborers to till the land and to sow the seeds of dignity and sonship through Christ. Help me live a life of meaning although obscure it may be so that I may find favor before you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.