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Bible Book List
Men of the Bible - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mephibosheth

His name means: "From the Mouth of the Shameful Thing"

His work: Nothing is said about his occupation; because he lived his life without the use of his legs, Mephibosheth must have lived on the charity of others.
His character: Although he had good reason for self-pity, he was deeply grateful for David's kindness and was very loyal to him.
His sorrow: He was disabled, unable to walk.
His triumph: Because of David's generosity, Mephibosheth received land and servants and was welcomed at the king's table.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 4:4; 9:6-13; 16:1-4; 19:24-30

A Look at the Man

Mephibosheth was a broken man. When he was only five years old, his father and grandfather were killed in battle. That day the heir-apparent prince was stripped of his royalty. And, if that were not tragic enough, a fall from his nurse's arms permanently disabled him.

Some men are victims of their own poor judgment. But others suffer at the hands of others. This was the lot of Mephibosheth.

We can only imagine what life was like for him. Growing up, he must have heard stories of his grandfather Saul, Israel's first king and mighty warrior. His family would have told him that his father, Jonathan, should have been the rightful heir to the throne. And he certainly heard stories of David, the man who now reigned as the king of Israel.

But instead of growing up in luxury, prestige, health, and favor, Mephibosheth was forced to deal with life's "if onlys."

If only my grandfather had been faithful. If only my father had lived. If only I could walk. If only someone would remember me.

So Mephibosheth lived in obscurity in the home of a man named Makir on the opposite side of the Jordan River from Jerusalem. And then one day a message was delivered to Mephibosheth: "King David has called for you. You are hereby summoned to the palace."

We can only imagine how fearful Mephibosheth must have been to have an audience with the king. Sitting on the ground was a familiar posture for Mephibosheth, but even from that position, he bowed down when he was brought into the presence of the king.

David could have thanked this humble man for his respectful gesture. He could have reminded him that he was simply carrying out an old commitment made to his father. Or David could have told him of his plan to grant him his grandfather's land and give him servants and a home in the palace. Actually, he eventually did all these things, but his first words to this man were the most exquisite and comforting he could have spoken.

"Mephibosheth," David said, "do not be afraid."

And then David lavished Mephibosheth with more than he ever could have dreamed: land, servants, and access to the king's table. Mephibosheth had not deserved the misfortune that had marked his life. But neither did he earn the good fortune that suddenly befell him. Mephibosheth must have been overwhelmed by it all.

In the years that followed, it would have been understandable if Mephibosheth would have gotten accustomed to the lavish treatment—his initial humility eventually turning to pride. But this did not happen.

When his caretaker committed treachery and set David against him, Mephibosheth did not retaliate. Instead, he mourned the loss of the king's trust. And when David came to his senses and restored Mephibosheth's estate, Mephibosheth humbly refused the king's generosity.

Mephibosheth's gratitude for what the king had done for him was unshakable. His loyalty to David stood firm.

Reflect On: 2 Samuel 9
Praise God: Because he is still looking for people to show kindness to.
Offer Thanks: For the way God has expressed his mercy to you.
Confess: Any tendency to take God’s mercy for granted, as though it is something you deserve.
Ask God: To help you reveal his kindness to others.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.