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What Is God Like? | God Can Pick You Up

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2023 3:00 am

What Is God Like? | God Can Pick You Up

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 9, 2023 3:00 am

When we follow the lives of some of the key individuals in Scripture, we learn so much. We see faith in action . . . or sometimes we see a lack of faith in action. But the lessons are practical since they’re demonstrated by real people in real circumstances. Currently on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie is leading our study of David’s life. And today, we learn some things from David and another individual who crosses David’s path. It’s good encouragement for those who’ve had some setbacks.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey, everybody. You're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at Again, it's

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to I think there's a lot of people who've been dropped in life. Maybe you feel like you were, where things happened to you as a child that weren't your fault, but you were not dealt a good hand and you had a rough upbringing. But the good news is God specializes in taking those who have been dropped in life and picking them up again. When we follow the lives of some of the key individuals in Scripture, we learn so much. We see faith in action, or sometimes we see a lack of faith in action.

But the lessons are practical, since they're demonstrated by real people in real circumstances. Currently on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie is leading our study of David's life. And today we learn some things from David and another individual who processed David's path.

It's good encouragement for those who've had some setbacks. We're going to look at David and Mephibosheth. How many of you have heard of Mephibosheth? Raise your hand up.

Okay, some of you. That's a tricky name. Mephibosheth. Let's try saying that together. Mephibosheth.

Very good. Okay, you got it. So, Mephibosheth. And we'll talk about who he is in just a moment, but a quick recap to catch us up to where we are right now in this story of the life of David from this series that we're calling The House of David. So it goes back to Israel desperately wanting a king. All the other nations had kings and they wanted a king too. Now they had the Lord God ruling over them, speaking to them through the prophets, appointing judges to guide and direct them. But oh no, they wanted a king because the other nations had a king. Well, careful what you wish for.

You might get it. And God gave them a king after their own heart. And his name was Saul. Saul had everything one would want to be a great politician. He was tall. He was good looking. He was charismatic. He was also paranoid and jealous and murderous. And so he was chosen and he was a horrible king.

And he disobeyed God. So the Lord rejected Saul from being the king and directed the prophet Samuel to go to Bethlehem because in that city was a man named Jesse who had sons. And the prophet was told that out of that house the next king of Israel would come. So Samuel arrives in town.

It's kind of a big deal when a prophet shows up in your little town like Bethlehem. Jesse proudly parades his seven sons. None of them are the ones that the Lord has chosen. Of course David is out on the field not even acknowledged by his father. He is summoned and the Lord says that's the one. And so the prophet anoints David as the king of Israel.

Ok. So now the first test for David comes. He faces off with the oversized Philistine.

Nine feet six inches of solid muscle covered in body armor. And David takes him down with one stone. So now David is a rock star. David is a hero. David has songs written about him. The number one song on Israeli radio had the lyrics Saul has slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands. And Saul heard that song and he didn't like it one bit. He became angry and full of jealousy and decided that he wanted to kill David. Now you might say that the moment David was selected by God is the moment his troubles began.

And in some ways the same could be said of us. The moment you committed your life to Jesus Christ a spiritual battle began. Maybe no one told you that was coming. Right.

But it came didn't it. All of a sudden you are facing temptations like you've never faced before. You are facing opposition.

You are battling with the enemy. I remember when I was a brand new Christian and the Christian said be careful Greg you are going to get tempted by the devil. I am going wait what. No one told me about a devil. I just heard come to Jesus. Now there is a devil oh yes and he will tempt you.

And of course he did and he does tempt all of us. Now it is all worth it because our sins are forgiven. We have found the meaning and purpose of our lives. We have the absolute assurance that one day we will go to heaven. But there are battles that will be fought until that day. It has been said quote conversion has made our hearts a battlefield end quote.

But the good news is God won't give us more than we can handle. But the battle began and the same is true for David. You see God loved David.

He was a man after his own heart. Therefore Saul directed by Satan hated David and tried to kill him. On two separate occasions he threw a javelin at him. David barely dodged it. So then now the pursuit begins and David flees the palace and he is hiding in the countryside and Saul and his army of 3,000 men are hunting David down. And one day David is in a cave and who shows up in the cave but Saul. But Saul doesn't know David is in the cave.

He is a little further back. Saul is answering the call of nature and doesn't realize that David is right behind him. David could have slit his throat and that would have been the end of all of that. But David couldn't bring himself to do that. Cuts a little bit of Saul's robe off and then when Saul is a safe distance off David yells hey Saul do you feel a draft right now. I cut your robe off. I could have cut your head off but I chose not to do it. All of a sudden Saul is saying oh my son David you are so wonderful.

I know that one day you will be king. But he was just lying. He continued on with this pursuit of David and ultimately Saul's life is now crashing down. He finds himself so spiritually bankrupt he is consulting a witch.

And finally he reaps what he sows. King Saul and his son Jonathan die on the battlefield. Severely wounded Saul commits suicide falling on his own sword. So the house of Saul and the house of David continued in conflict despite the fact that Saul was now dead.

Saul and his son left. His name was Ishbosheth. Ishbosheth.

You might think of that as a name for a boy someday. Ishbosheth. Ok. We have Mephibosheth and now we have Ishbosheth. And so Abner who was Saul's general made Ishbosheth king.

He wasn't supposed to do that. Abner knew that David was the rightful heir to the throne but he wanted to remain in power. So Ishbosheth is now appointed as king and then Abner and Ishbosheth have an argument and Abner threatens to defect. And sure enough he goes over to David and says David I know I have served Saul. I know that I was one of the people pursuing you. I know I have been your enemy but I want to make peace with you. David could have said ah no. I am going to cut your head off. But David said I am just so sick of fighting.

Do you ever feel that way? I am just tired of fighting. I am tired of arguing. I am tired of conflict. Hey you want to make a peace agreement?

Let's go for it. And that is what he did with Abner because David was willing to forgive his enemies. As I pointed out David was uniquely described as a man after God's own heart.

There are many reasons for that but here is a big one. He was willing to forgive his enemies. And we talked about this last time. You know it is interesting that when Jesus began his earthly ministry he identified himself as the son of David. And of course Christ came from the house of David.

Our Lord was born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. So here we see everything is coming together and David is willing to extend forgiveness to his enemies. And we see this demonstrated even more now with the descendants of King Saul. That brings us to our story. So one day David is hanging around the palace and he says you know is there anyone left of the house of Saul?

Are there any descendants? And here is what happened next. A guy named Ziba is called in. Ziba used to work for Saul.

Second Samuel chapter 9 verse 2 I am reading from the New Living Translation. Hey are you Ziba? The king asked. Yes I am Ziba replied. Then the king asked him is there anyone still alive from Saul's family?

If so I want to show God's goodness to them in any way I can. Ziba replied yes one of Jonathan's sons is still alive but he is crippled. Where is he the king asked.

He is in Lodobar. Ziba told him at the home of Makar son of Amiel. So David sent for him and brought him from Makar's house. And his name was Mephibosheth and he was Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. When he came to David he bowed low in great fear and said I am your servant.

David said oh don't be afraid. I have asked you to come so I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father Jonathan. I will give you all of the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul that you may live with me here in the palace. Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the king and said should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me? But Mephibosheth ate regularly with David as though he were one of his own sons.

We will stop there. Isn't that a beautiful story? So Jonathan and David were good friends. And Jonathan knew things were not going to end well for his father and even himself. He said David you have got to make a promise to me buddy. Down the road take care of my descendants.

Treat them with kindness. David said I will do it. David is remembering the promise that he made. David kept his promises.

Do you? And so now he is keeping this promise and is seeking out someone from the house of Saul a descendant and it is Mephibosheth. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg you are the best. I listen to you every day. Thank you so much for sharing the love of the gospel and helping me have a closer walk with Jesus. How have these daily studies ministered to you and your family?

Would you let us know? Tell us your story by emailing Pastor Greg. Send it to Greg at Harvest dot org.

Do it today while you are thinking about it. Again Greg at Harvest dot org. Well we are learning some good lessons today from the encounter between David and Saul's grandson Mephibosheth. Today's message titled What is God Like? Mephibosheth was technically next in line to be the king. See the king is gone. The prince Jonathan is gone. That means Mephibosheth would have been the rightful king of Israel but now he is in hiding and David is showing kindness to him.

Mephibosheth was only five years old when he found out that his father and grandfather were killed. Imagine the life he had lived up to that point. Living in the palace as a young prince. You know there are people that are so fascinated by the royal family in England right? We know the names of all the princes and the princesses and we follow their every move and we are so interested.

I am not one of those people but some are. We are fascinated by royalty. So here is this royal family and this prince Mephibosheth and he lives in the lap of luxury. He is pampered.

He is honored and then one day his father and his grandfather are killed and there was a nurse in charge of him and she was running probably to get him to safety because she was afraid for his life and she fell and dropped the young prince. And now he is disabled. He has lost the use of his feet.

A disability he carried throughout his life. He had been dropped in life. It wasn't his fault but it happened to him. And I think there is a lot of people who have been dropped in life. I feel like I was. Maybe you feel like you were. Where things happened to you as a child that weren't your fault but you were not dealt a good hand and you had a rough upbringing. But the good news is God specializes in taking those who have been dropped in life and picking them up again. Right? And Mephibosheth certainly was dropped in life.

You know maybe as he grew up he is an older man now or a younger man but he is an adult. He is probably thinking this just isn't fair. It is all the fault of David. You know David did this to me. David shouldn't even be on the throne.

I should be on the throne. Maybe he had been taught his whole life to hate David. But the thing is he didn't know David.

But he was about to meet him. And David asks if anyone is alive from his house. He says so I can show kindness to them. Verse 3. This word kindness can better be translated grace. David is saying I want to extend grace to someone. What is grace? It is unmerited favor. It is not based on the person you give it to deserving it.

It is based on love. Grace is undeserved. It is unearned.

It is unrepayable. The Bible says for by grace you have been saved through faith not of works lest any man should boast. I am saved by the grace of God. Mercy is not getting what I deserve. Justice is getting what I deserve.

Grace is getting what I don't deserve. Let me illustrate. Let's say that someone borrowed my Harley and they went and totaled it. Came back. Sorry man. Totaled your Harley. If I extended justice I would say you have to replace my Harley.

That is what it is. If I extended mercy I would say whatever. Ok. Well alright. You don't have to do anything. If I extended grace I would go buy you a new Harley.

Ok. So this is what God has done for us. Never pray and say Lord give me what I deserve. Don't ever pray that. Lord give me justice. Don't even pray that.

Say Lord be merciful to me and even better say Lord extend grace to me. And so David says I want to find someone to extend grace to. Now this guy Ziba mentioned in verse three.

By the way this guy is a total creep. And he says yeah yeah there is someone in the house of Saul. Jonathan's son Mephibosheth. But he is crippled he says to the king.

Now here is the reality. Ziba had control of the land that Saul owned. He knew that Saul had a grandson named Mephibosheth. He didn't lift a finger to help that boy because he probably wanted to keep the land for himself. And in fact Mephibosheth was living in a place called Lodabar.

That doesn't mean a lot to us. But this was not a nice place to live. It was sort of this barren obscure field in the middle of nowhere. Not a place fit for a king.

And that is where this prince Mephibosheth lived in. Lodabar. Lodabar. Living like a low life. Eating low fat food. Listening to J-Lo.

No I don't know. It was low. No offense to J-Lo. She just has low in there. I had to use low right? So this guy is low. But what does David do? He says I want to extend grace to him. Look at 2 Samuel 9 verse 5. So David sent for him and brought him. Underline that. He sent for him and he brought him.

David was persistent. I want him brought to me immediately. This is how we need to look at people who are living in Lodabar. People who are living without Christ. We need to have love for them. Extend compassion toward them. Show them the grace of God and bring them to Jesus Christ. Remember the story of the four guys who had a disabled friend and they couldn't get into the house where Jesus was.

So they opened up the roof and lowered him down working together. We bring them. We don't send them.

We bring them. And that is exactly what is happening here. He is brought before David. And now for the first time he meets this legendary king.

And I love what happens. It says in 2 Samuel 9 verse 6 he was afraid. But David said don't be afraid. I have asked you to come so I can be kind to you. Why are you a Christian? Why am I a Christian? I am a Christian because I responded to the love and the grace of God. The Bible says it is the kindness of God that leads me to repentance. Maybe it was modeled for me through someone that loved the Lord. Maybe someone shared the gospel with me directly. But it was that love and that grace and that mercy that the Lord has that drew me to Him.

And that is what happened to Mephibosheth. And I love verse 11. He ate regularly with David as though he were one of his own sons. David is saying not only are you not living in Lodobor anymore.

You are coming into the palace boy and now you are going to be treated like royalty and you are going to sit at my table and eat as though you were a member of my own family. Is that not exactly what God does for each of us? He brings us into His family. And He invites us to His table. I don't like to eat with people who give me indigestion.

If I am going to lunch I only want to go with someone that you know isn't going to say something or do something that might make me not want to finish my giant burger that I shouldn't have ordered in the first place. And eating is more than just having food. It's hanging out. It's communicating.

It's enjoyment. And this is the same concept we find in the Bible. And so here we have Mephibosheth sitting at the king's table. God insights on grace today as Pastor Greg Laurie has presented a message called, What is God Like? And next time on A New Beginning we'll dig even deeper into this story. Well Pastor Greg we have a special guest in the studio today. Would you like to make an introduction?

I would love to. And this special guest happens to be a good friend of mine and his name is Randy Alcorn. Randy is a very unusual person in this regard. He is both a scholar and he is a fiction writer.

It's sort of like if C. S. Lewis met Charles Spurgeon and they collaborated together. What I love about Randy's gifting is he takes the complex and he makes it understandable. And that's not more clearly done than in his book On the Topic of Heaven. But we have a very special book that we're going to offer you. It's On the Topic of Heaven. But the title of it is, Heaven for Kids.

This is for the little ones to break down what heaven is for them. So Randy, welcome to our program A New Beginning. Thanks for coming on. How's everything going right now for you? Thank you Greg. It's just always a pleasure to be with you and talk together. And this is in terms of how things are going. It's about nine months since my beloved wife Nancy went home to be with Jesus.

And as you well know in your own personal life and experience with your son Christopher, the loss of someone that you love is tough. I miss Nancy's presence. I miss her laughter. She just brought a joy into the home.

She would laugh quickly and easily and heartily. But what I saw in the last four years of her life was a beautiful work of Jesus even as she was dying of cancer. And I'll tell you, she really mentored me in the way she lived and the way she prepared to meet the Lord. So I have all those great memories and so I think I'm doing well in the grieving process. Well Randy, God bless you. I remember having meals with you and Nancy and I saw the great and deep love you had for each other. You were enjoying life together, serving the Lord together. And you've written about heaven so extensively.

Let me ask you this. Do you see heaven differently? Yeah, I think I don't see it differently in terms of what I actually believe. But there's an immediacy, probably much like you felt after Christopher died, where what you believe now matters so much in a very personal way. My heart has been tremendously encouraged by the promises of God's word.

So yeah, it has made a real difference. Wow. You know, we've heard the expression, oh, they're so heavenly minded, they're no earthly good. And my response is, well, some people are so earthly minded, they're no heavenly good. In fact, the Bible tells us to think about the afterlife, Paul said, set your affection on things above. Why should we think deeply about heaven? Well, I think there are a lot of reasons. One is kind of a practical one, like if you're going to go on a trip somewhere you've never been before, what do you do?

Well, you study it, you find out about it, you check it out. But I think the other thing, Greg, is that God is who heaven is all about. Jesus is the central character. And in the present heaven that we go to when we die and on the new earth, we're going to, together, experience the direct presence of God. We will see his face. And I think to prepare for heaven is to prepare to be with Jesus forever.

That's right. If you've just joined us, I'm speaking with author Randy Alcorn, who's written many books, but we're talking about his book, Heaven for Kids. And we're offering this book to you this month as a special gift for your gift of any size to help us continue preaching the gospel, teaching the word of God, and telling people how to go to heaven. Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah, it's such an engaging book, written in a helpful question and answer format.

All the questions are right up front in the table of contents, so you can find the topic you want right away. And we'll be happy to send this important resource to thank you for your investment and keeping these insights coming your way each day here on A New Beginning. So contact us today for your copy of Heaven for Kids. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or go online to

Hey, everybody. What are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place, so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Well next time, more encouraging insight from the story of David and Mephibosheth from 2nd Samuel. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-09 04:50:19 / 2023-03-09 05:00:08 / 10

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