Claiming sanctuary in a church dates to Britain in AD 600. Though the practice was formally abandoned in the seventeenth century, people seeking asylum still flee to churches today, clinging to the idea that into God’s house no violence may enter. Do you long for a place of sanctuary when you sense imminent judgment? Maybe you’ve told a lie and stand before the wronged party. Perhaps you’re innocent, but face a relative’s creditors. We can all relate to the desire to crawl underground and disappear. Prince Mephibosheth certainly trembled at what King David would do to him.
After all, Mephibosheth was the last survivor in the line of his grandfather King Saul. In ancient Eastern culture, that position usually meant death, especially because Saul had repeatedly attempted to murder David. But David had no intention of handing down a death sentence. Instead he offered Mephibosheth sanctuary in his own palace. Because of Mephibosheth’s relationship to David’s dear friend Jonathan, the king welcomed him as an honored guest at his own table.
We all long for sanctuary. Crippled by sin, we enter God’s presence with death hanging over our heads. But when we accept Jesus Christ’s offer of eternal friendship, we receive eternal sanctuary at the King’s table. At this feast, we will be given white robes to wear, and we will bow down in praise and adoration before the Prince of Peace.
Does an invitation to the King’s palace fill you with fear or excitement? You may think that everything about you—your background, your body’s condition, your emotional state, your past sins—should keep you away from the King’s table. But none of that matters to God. Regardless of how unworthy you feel, you can know that you have been made worthy because you are a child of God.
Today, as you ponder the surprise of finding sanctuary instead of judgment, consider how you will live like a guest who carries an invitation to the King’s table. Awake each day in anticipation of Christ’s royal summons and walk tall, nurturing a longing for the day when you will sit before the King at the wedding supper of the Lamb.
2 Samuel 9:7–8
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”