2 Samuel 9:1-13
1 David asked, “Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan?” 2 There was a servant of Saul’s family named Ziba. They summoned him to David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”
“I am your servant,” he replied.
3 So the king asked, “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family that I can show the kindness of God to?”
Ziba said to the king, “There is still Jonathan’s son who was injured in both feet.”
4 The king asked him, “Where is he?” Ziba answered the king, “You’ll find him in Lo-debar at the house of Machir son of Ammiel.” 5 So King David had him brought from the house of Machir son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.
6 Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, bowed down to the ground and paid homage. David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“I am your servant,” he replied.
7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “since I intend to show you kindness because of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul’s fields, and you will always eat meals at my table.”
8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Saul’s attendant Ziba and said to him, “I have given to your master’s grandson all that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You, your sons, and your servants are to work the ground for him, and you are to bring in the crops so your master’s grandson will have food to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, is always to eat at my table.” Now Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants.
11 Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do all my lord the king commands.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table just like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. All those living in Ziba’s house were Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 However, Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem because he always ate at the king’s table. His feet had been injured.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
David asked, “Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan?” —2 Samuel 9:1
Even before the Navy SEALS created a written code, they lived by an unwritten one, which included commitments like, “Never leave a man behind,” and the knowledge that each Navy SEAL would give his life for his brothers in arms.
This unwritten code was acted upon by Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, known better as “Murph.” While undergoing a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan, the locals discovered his team and their location was reported to the Taliban.
The Taliban attacked the four-man team and shot down the rescue helicopter that had been sent to rescue them. Knowing his entire team would die if he couldn’t radio for help, Murph stepped out into the open to get the signal, fully aware of the danger.
It resulted in his death. But because he gave his life, one of his team members, Marcus Luttrell, survived the attack.
Murph had made a promise and commitment to remain loyal to his team and his country. In that moment of battle, he chose to keep that commitment, even though it cost him his life.
Centuries before Michael Murphy kept his commitment to give up his life for his team and his country, another man also kept a commitment he’d made.
Before David became king, he promised King Saul he wouldn’t wipe out his family (see 1 Samuel 24:21). He also promised his dear friend, Jonathan, Saul’s son, that he’d remain faithful to his family (see 1 Samuel 20:15-17).
Many years later, David remembered his promises. No one else probably even knew he’d made these promises. No one would ever know if he kept them. But David knew. As a man of integrity, he kept his commitment by inquiring and sending out a search to determine if any of Saul’s family still lived, so he could show kindness to them.
His actions can teach us two important lessons.
First, keeping commitments can be inconvenient.
Jonathan had one living son, but he was living some distance away and hadn’t made himself known. In fact, David didn’t even know he existed! David asked key people to help him find any living descendants of Jonathan. When they discovered Mephibosheth, he had the man brought to him. David went out of his way to keep his commitment.
Many commitments we make will become inconvenient, and before we know it, we’ve dropped the ball. Perhaps you’ve committed to pray with your spouse every morning or read God’s Word each day, but you’ve gotten too busy. Perhaps you’ve agreed to teach a Sunday school class, but your students aren’t as interested and respectful as you’d hoped.
After a while, your attention wanes and you’re ready to try something else. Will you keep the commitment anyway?
Second, keeping commitments might require dealing with difficult people.
In 2 Samuel, we read twice that Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s only living son, was crippled. Ziba, the contact who knew Saul’s family, didn’t even tell David Mephibosheth’s name, but he did make sure to tell David that Mephibosheth was lame in both feet (1 Samuel 9:3). Unfortunately, Mephibosheth’s disability appeared to have been part of his identity.
It’s easy to look at people and identify them by their disabilities, character weaknesses, or difficult personalities. When we do this, however, we’re more likely to judge them instead of recognizing their spiritual identity.
There’s no evidence that David saw Mephibosheth as anything other than Jonathan’s son. He recognized his family identity instead of identifying him based on his disability.
How would you and I treat people differently if, instead of labeling them according to difficult personality traits, physical or mental challenges, or character weaknesses, we recognized them as people God created and intensely loved? I bet it would help us keep our commitments when difficulties make us want to give up.
Pray today that God will help you to keep the commitments you make, no matter how difficult they are. Ask God to help you to see others as people dearly loved by Him, not people identified by their weaknesses.
- What commitments are you having a hard time keeping because they’re inconvenient?
- What commitments seem too difficult to keep because of difficult people?
- What commitments have you avoided making, which the Holy Spirit is prodding you to make?
- Who do you identify by his or her weakness? What will you do this week to begin seeing that person as valuable to God?