Today from Chuck Swindoll. Deserve it and can never earn it and will never be able to repay. In today's world, we place our celebrities on pedestals. We esteem their talent and we aspire to be like them. Today on Insight for Living, our focus is not on celebrities but on the forgotten.
The marginalized people who long to belong. Our study is founded on a touching story that's told in 2 Samuel 9. David, the king of Israel, had achieved remarkable success.
He was a mighty warrior and a celebrated ruler. But today, our accolades turn from David's achievement to his kindness. Chuck Swindoll titled his message, Grace in a Barren Place. Well, we've come today to one of the greatest chapters on the grace of God in all the Old Testament. Perhaps in all the Bible. I'm referring to 2 Samuel 9.
This chapter revolves around the story of a man whose name looks a little like a misprint, Mephibosheth. That's it, Mephibosheth, and the grace he received from King David. Now for this story, let's open our Bibles together to 2 Samuel 9, and we'll begin our reading with verse 1.
2 Samuel 9, 1. 2 Then David said, Is there yet any one left of the house of Saul that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake? Now there was a servant of the house of Saul, whose name was Ziba. And they called him to David. And the king said to him, Are you Ziba?
And he said, I am your servant. 3 The king said, Is there not yet any one of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God? And Ziba said to the king, There is still a son of Jonathan, who is crippled in both feet. 4 So the king said to him, Where is he?
And Ziba said to the king, Behold, he is in the house of Makar, the son of Amiel in Lodabar. 5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Makar, the son of Amiel from Lodabar. 6 Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan the son of Saul came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. 7 And David said, Mephibosheth, and he said, Here is your servant. 8 David said to him, Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul.
9 And you shall eat at my table regularly. Again he prostrated himself and said, What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me? 10 Then the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, All that belong to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. 11 You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring him the produce, so that your master's grandson may have food. 12 Nevertheless, Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly. 13 Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 14 Then Ziba said to the king, According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so your servant will do. 15 So Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one of the king's sons. 16 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micah, and all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth. 17 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate at the king's table regularly.
18 Now he was lame in both feet. You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures Studies by going to insight.org slash studies. And now the message titled Grace in a Barren Place. put the man to the test and so he threw out a word that is familiar to all of us but frankly was not too familiar with with which the man was not too familiar and he said what do you think of for example when i used the word grace and the man thought for a moment smiled facetiously and said well to me grace is a blue-eyed blonde and dr hudson thought for a moment and pondered it and he said hey that's a good title for a book and he wrote his 11th book entitling it grace is not a blue-eyed blonde and in the middle of the book he describes what to him grace really is it would seem then that grace is what happens between two persons it is one giving himself to the other it is responsibility to another it is a distinctive kind of relating in a world of men turning their backs on one another exploiting one another killing one another gossiping about one another trying to possess one another and controlling one another grace is one person accepting and confronting another in freedom and responsibility i've thought about that man's comment and even though i'm sure he was joking there is a reason to believe that the word grace could be misunderstood we use it in six or seven different ways we refer for example to a ballet dancer having grace and it means simply that the person is coordinated and has a smooth movement in the dance we speak of saying grace at the meals and we mean prayer by that we talk about how the queen of england brings grace to the meeting that she attends or how the woman is a woman of grace meaning dignified and elegant we use grace with reference to a number of different things and we seldom use it biblically so no wonder people are misunderstood misunderstand the concept of grace and every once in a while we come across a moment in scripture where grace just sort of opens up in a beautiful illustration that you can never forget and that's where we've come in our study of the life of david it is in my personal opinion the greatest illustration of grace in all the old testament and it has to do with a man who is so obscure we can hardly pronounce his name second samuel chapter nine is the story and it describes grace for us in the life of mephibosheth i had to lick my lips to start that word to say it just right it's a beautiful beautiful story second samuel chapter nine last time we were with david he was in an interlude of peace and quietness he was thinking about his past and all the blessings that had been his and he came upon this expressed moment in which he thought about his recent days and then beyond those recent days his distant past and i'm sure as we begin second samuel nine that david had thought specifically about his love for jonathan his friend whom he had lost in the war and the the predecessor the king whose place he took saul and reflecting upon those two men and the impact they had had in his life david began to think about a promise he had made he pondered it and then he addressed it verse one is there yet anyone left of the house of saul that i may show him now here's our special worry tonight kindness is there anyone left of the house of saul that i may show him kindness kindness for jonathan's sake it's a rather unfortunate translation because kindness smacks of a soft tenderness and it's deeper than that it's the word that could be and should be rendered either mercy or grace let me give you a workable definition and then we'll go from there grace is positive acceptance in spite of the other person it is a demonstration of love that is not deserved and can never be repaid grace is a demonstration of love that isn't deserved and can never be repaid never be repaid now you've got a better grasp of verse one david looks around and thinks is there anybody in this entire area to whom i might show forth that kind of positive acceptance why did he want to do that well he had made a promise in fact he had made two promises hold your place and go back to first samuel chapter 20 here is this great king on the throne thinking about someone out there in the barren wilderness of palestine who ought to be the object of his grace because of a promise he made first samuel 20 verse 13 these are the words of jonathan according to verse 12 13 says if it pleased my father to do you harm may the lord do so to jonathan and more also if i do not make it known to you and send you away that you may go in safety and may the lord be with you as he has been with my father if i'm still alive will you not show me the here's our word again will you not show me the grace the mercy of the lord that i may not die let me explain that in eastern dynasties it was the custom that when a new king took over all of the other dynasties were all of the other families and family members of the previous dynasty were exterminated to take away the possibility of revolt and jonathan said david when you get to the throne as surely you will will you show my family grace will you preserve our lives will you take care of us and protect us that we may not die verse 15 you shall not cut off your loving kindness there's the word again from my house forever not even when the lord cuts off every one of the enemies of david from the face of the earth so jonathan made a covenant with the house of david saying may the lord require it at the hands of david's enemy and jonathan made david vow promise he gave his word again because of his love for him because he loved him as he loved his own life one more passage 2024 verse 20 first samuel 24 20 david promised jonathan i will i will forever for the rest of my life demonstrate grace to your family and now saul behold i know that you shall surely be king that the kingdom of israel shall be established in your hand so now swear to me by the lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father's household and david swore to saul that david made the promise to jonathan david made the promise to saul and here we find him in second samuel chapter nine thinking about the promise and so he asked the question among the people in his court among his counselors is there anyone left to whom i might demonstrate grace because of jonathan i think it's worth noting and it's not a moot point point that he asks is there anyone he doesn't ask is there anyone qualified or is there anyone worthy he says is there anyone he asks regardless of who they are is there anybody still living who ought to be the recipient of my grace unqualified acceptance unconditional love well they identified someone verse two there was a servant of the house of saul whose name was zeba now listen carefully this is a beautiful account and they called him to david and the king said to him are you zeba he says i'm your servant the king said is there not yet anyone of the house of saul to whom i may show the kindness of god and zeba said to the king there is still a son of jonathan who is crippled in both feet if you read this as as i read it you will feel a little bit of a counsel in his words david you really better think twice before you do this because he's not very kingly he doesn't fit the throne he doesn't fit the surroundings this beautiful new home and and the city of jerusalem you know david he's a cripple he walks on crutches he's not one to carry himself in the regal dignity of the king he's a cripple that's part of the reason the story is so moving because unless you are crippled or have been you have you you really can't grasp the trauma of living your life like that here's a man who looks upon the whole kingdom and asks is there anybody and there's a counselor that says yeah but he's crippled and you don't want to give yourself to him david but david moves right on he said where is he isn't that beautiful there's a beautiful response on david's part he didn't ask how badly didn't ask how it happened how it happened he just said where's the man located that's the way grace is grace isn't picky grace doesn't look for for things that have been done that deserve love grace operates apart from the response or the ability of the individual grace is one-sided it is god's giving himself in full acceptance to someone who does not deserve it and can never earn it and will never be able to repay and this is the beautiful story of david david says where is he so the king said to him where is he and ziba said to the king behold he is in the house of maker the son of amiel in lo debar just the last name is of interest to me the word lo in hebrew means no debar is from the root word meaning pasture pasture land he's in a place where there is unimaginable desolation david he uh he lives out in the oh the the barren fields of palestine the custom was that the king would kill one who lived on from a previous dynasty and so an individual was either exterminated or he hid for his life and that's what this man had done he had hidden himself away and the only one who knew his whereabouts was a servant of saul named ziba he said i i know where we can find him he's he's out that in that area the question comes how is he crippled look at verse four of chapter four you'll see the answer it's quite a story jonathan saul's son had a son crippled in his feet he was five years old when the report of saul and jonathan came from jesreal that is the death of saul and jonathan and his nurse that is the nurse of the sun hurriedly took him up and fled see she was running for the life of the son knowing that he would surely be exterminated and it happened that in her hurry to flee he fell and became lame his name was mephibosheth the only verse that explains the condition she picked up the boy and was running with him to find some area of escape and in the process he tumbled and fell out of her arms and perhaps down over a cliff and when he landed he became lame in both his feet i got an amazing letter this past week from one of our missionaries or a missionary friend of mine in down in venezuela his name is larry schlottfeld larry has a little boy he's two years old named lauren he says this last week vanita vanita and i were reminded of god's protection and grace our two-year-old lauren was run over by a car he had tire marks on both arms and a tire mark down one shoulder blade nobody saw it happen after the x-rays we found no damage of any kind nothing broken and no internal injuries can you imagine he was just a little sore isn't god so very good god must have something special in mind for our lauren but there was a young man who was not as fortunate as lauren schlottfeld and his name was the son of a son of jonathan mephibosheth when he fell he became lame in both his feet and in spite of his condition he still feared for his life and so the nurse took him and hid him away now back to the story in this freak-like accident we have a young fellow who's hiding away fearful of his life the last thing he ever wanted was to see an emissary from the king wrap on his door but that was the thing that happened verse five verse uh yes verse five yes verse five the king sent and brought him from the house of maker the son of amiel from low to bar so they sent an entourage from the king and he went out to that area this group did wrapped on his door and they opened the door and can you imagine his shock we don't know how old he was perhaps a young man he had a family by now and here was this young man standing there looking into the faces of the soldiers from the king saying to them the king wants to see you what do you think went over in his mind this is the end this is it mephibosheth the son of jonathan the son of saul came to david and fell on his face and prostrated himself he said mephibosheth he answered here is your servant now what a moment that was it's a little crippled throws aside the crutches and falls down before the king who has all rights sovereign rights over his life and he said is that your name and he said that's me i'm mephibosheth he didn't know what to expect david said to him do not fear for i will surely show grace i will demonstrate mercy to you for the sake of your father jonathan and i will restore to you all the land of your grandfather saul and you shall eat at my table regularly can you imagine that response expecting a sword to strike his neck he hears the words that are unbelievable words from a king people who understand grace fully have a yes face and when mephibosheth looked up in the words of menager he saw a yes face written across david and david looked at him and he said oh my friend you're going to have a place of honor that you've never had before you're going to eat regularly at my table you're going to eat regularly at my table imagine the relief that settled into that room when the king demonstrated such grace there's much to the story we need to hear and please keep listening when chuck swindoll concludes his study in second samuel chapter nine he titled today's message grace in a barren place this is insight for living and it wasn't long ago when we received a kind note from one of your fellow listeners who told us about using chuck swindoll's biography on david as a resource to teach a bible class this listener added the chapter on mephibosheth about grace in a barren place is one of my favorite stories matter of fact your books and messages inspired me to attend and finish seminary we never know how god might use these daily programs to inspire church leaders and teachers and we're deeply grateful to those who stand with us in this way this daily radio program would never get beyond our hometown of frisco texas without the voluntary gifts from people like you god has seen fit to multiply what originates in texas by magnifying his name in faraway places and it's all because of those in our listening family who share our commitment to making disciples for jesus christ in a moment i'll give you our mailing address where you can send a contribution but first a brief reminder that chuck's biography for this series is still available it's called david a man of passion and destiny this full length book contains a full chapter on the story we heard today which is a beautiful expression of god's grace david surprised everyone by including jonathan's family around the royal banquet table to purchase a copy of chuck's biography on david call us if you're listening in the united states if you're listening in the united states call 800-772-8888 or visit this webpage for details insight.org that's insight.org so cruise ships leave the harbor for alaska all the time but there's only one that's hosted by insight for living ministries you're invited to travel with chuck swindoll this summer every moment of your vacation is thoughtfully prepared and protected so that you can enjoy the perfect balance of rest adventure relaxation sightseeing and just plain fun all in the company of those who share your respect for god's word and god's creation yeah i'll put it this way god had a very good day when he created alaska i was awestruck by the majestic mountains the wildlife the quaint little seaports all my life i've wanted to see a glacier when i stepped out on the deck of our ship and witnessed the massive wall of ice wow it was truly breathtaking escape with insight for living ministries to the great frontier july 1st through july 8th 2023 call 1-888 447-0444 that's 1-888-447-0444 or learn more at insight.org events the tour to alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend i'm bill meyer join us when chuck swindoll continues his heartwarming message about grace in a barren place friday on insight for living the preceding message grace in a barren place was copyrighted in 1978 1988 1997 and 2009 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by charles r swindoll inc all rights are reserved worldwide duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is 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