During my daily devotions, I had come across the story of Mephibosheth (Mef-ee-bo’-sheth in Hebrew meaning ‘shameful thing’ or ‘dispeller of shame’) and was amazed at the chronicles of his life. In Biblical times, people were given names based on the situation existing at the time they were born. Can you imagine his friends in school calling him ‘hey, you shameful thing’? When I had done a Hebrew study, I was even more amazed at what his name meant and what his destiny was. There were two different contrasts.
Mephibosheth meaning ‘shameful thing’ 2 Samuel 4- 9
Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was five years old when his father and grandfather fell in the Battle of Mount Gilboa. The child’s nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with the boy from Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbled in her haste, dropping the child on the ground, permanently paralyzing him from the waist down (2 Sam. 19:26). He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar (dry places), by whom he was brought up.
Permanently paralysing him…
Have you been paralysed due to a certain incident or incidents that have taken place in your life? Perhaps those incidents have ruptured your emotions and behaviour. Perhaps your definition of Church or ministry has become very negative because of those incidents. May be another Christian did something that has hampered your life and even permanently damaged your reputation. Or may be, you’re a Servant of Christ and an ordinary Christian has caused disrepute to your name or ministry.
On a different level, may be you’re a young widow or you’re financially in the dumps or you’ve been duped and now you’re a victim of a major scandal that’s left you on the threshold of despair. What do you do in such situations? Do you blame God for permitting those things to happen? Do you blame people for what has happened? Do you hold a grudge against people?
Mephibosheth reminds me of some of us Christians. The devil dropped him one day and in the fall, his feet became lame and all this time the devil – through people have been telling him, “God did this to you and it’s because of God that you’re this way, it’s because of your sins and the sins of your forefathers. It’s because you are cursed that you can’t get off the ground. You can never do anything right and you will never do anything right. It’s your fault that your family is falling apart. It’s your fault for your financial condition. And finally… God is not mindful about you!
When people say such things with grave accusations, I’m encouraged by the Scripture that says “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:3
Sadly, the man in the world believes the devil, because he does not even know about the covenant that was drawn up before he was ever born. Does this sound like you? For years, ignorant of what God had done? Blaming God for your situation? Thinking God was the culprit? Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of people who were serving God as missionaries, are now into the world, worst than people of the world. Why? Because they either blame God for their circumstances or they’re still living in Lo-debar, the dry places.
Quit living in Lo-debar, the dry places, move into the land that flows with milk and honey, be planted like a tree that is planted by streams of running waters. Let the running waters of the Holy Spirit fill your being with the love of Christ and the joy that comes from God even in your darkest and driest moment of life.
God ordained Restoration - COVENANT between David and Jonathan
Some years after this, when King David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Meribbaal was residing in the house of Machir. So he sent royal messengers there, and brought Meribbaal and his infant son (Micah) to Jerusalem, where he resided from that point on (2 Sam. 9).
And David said, “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (II Samuel 9:1) Ziba, a former servant in the house of Saul, tells him of Jonathan’s son,”...which is lame on his feet”(2 Samuel 9:3-6).
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” The king asked, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.”
“Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.
David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“Your servant,” he replied.
“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.”
Just when Mephibosheth thought that he was written off and that his fate was fatless, and that he would never be known or held in honour and that the only name he would have was to be called a crippled shameful thing… Mephibosheth. But God showed up and blessed him. Sometimes, just like Mephibosheth, we need to just wait upon God for the duly appointed time for our blessings. David had never forgotten the covenant he had made with Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20.
There are people of honour out there, who keep to the covenant and manifest that covenant even if the world around them collapses. It perhaps may be difficult to believe anyone who says that they would make a covenant with you because of the revoking of covenants in the past and the betrayal of those who have committed and let you down. Some people think that people make covenants because of insecurity, which is a false notion. In our ministry, the leaders have made a covenant and it’s because of that covenant we remain faithful to God and to each other. A covenant is made between two or more people or groups. The covenant was God reconciling man to Himself.
The only thing to do is to trust God in all situations. I am so convinced that there is absolutely nothing that can happen to me that is outside the will of God.
Who am I that You are mindful of me, that you hear You me, when I call?
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” 2 Samuel 9:8
David made a similar prayer in just two previous chapters. 2 Samuel 7:8
“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?”
Mephibosheth in all awe, asked David the question ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ It is true, dearly beloved, that God is mindful of you, he knows every situation. As David said in Psalms 8:4 “What is man that You are mindful of him, that son of man that you care for him?
Through every storm, God is always there.
When the good Lord first touched me, I was determined to give the Gospel to everyone I met. I then realised that the Church was divided based on denominational differences. Although I’m a Catholic, I used to go to the Pentecostal Churches simply because I wanted to know more about Jesus. Because I used to go to the Pentecostal Churches, one of the most prominent Catholic ministries in the city decided to mince me piece by piece and to spread rumours of wars against me. They conspired against me in every way possible. Eventually, the Bishop called and asked me to present my youth missions projects to the Christian media leaders of the Province. In addition, when my first book was released, a Vatican official approved the book and the Archbishop released it.
At this point, no one would dare to speak out against me, until an opportune time that is. But the greatest part of it all, is that God has restored me way above what they or I could imagine. Since then, our ministry has represented Christ across all continents. The international secular media had interviewed us and Christ was presented. We are only three years, and God has used us in domains of influence including the setting up of India’s only Internet Christian Broadcasting Network.
Conspiracy OR Unfaithfulness
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2 Sam. 16:1-4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was consequently deprived of half of his estates; according to his own story, however (2 Sam. 19:24-30), he had remained loyal to his friend, the king. After this incident he is only mentioned, as having been protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were permitted to execute on the house of Saul 2 Sam. 21:7. Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his moustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely. When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him,
“Why didn’t you go with me, Mephibosheth?” He said, “My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, ‘I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.’ But Ziba my servant betrayed me. (2 Samuel 19:24-26)
It is possible that David didn’t entirely believe him, because he divided the estate he had given into two, giving the other half to Ziba, but he continued to protect Mephibosheth until the end of his days.
The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 2 Samuel 21:7
David made a covenant and he kept that covenant. In times when Mephibosheth was accused, he remembered the promise he had made to his beloved friend in the presence of the Almighty God. When David had heard of the accusations about Mephibosheth, he did not say ‘I heard things about him that scare me”, instead, he kept his word. Jonathan, whom David had made the covenant with, was rest assured that David would keep his word for David was a person of noble standing even though he was a murderer, an adulterer and what not!
No matter what happened, God proved Himself faithful. The same faithful God is there for you, to restore you. Go, seek Him, love Him, and make Him known.