Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and grandson of king Saul, felt worthless and as useless as a “dead dog” (2 Samuel 9:8). He had been crippled in both feet since he was a little boy. He couldn’t run or play, and he couldn’t hold down a steady job. He was disabled. He probably walked with the aid of crutches, and then, only slowly, and with great pain.
When His dad and granddad had died in battle, his nanny “picked him up and fled” (2 Samuel 4:4), barely escaping David’s loyal warriors that sought to exterminate Saul’s lineage. In his rush to carry young Mephibosheth to safety, they had fallen, and the five-year-old boy had been irreparably maimed. David hadn’t authorized the killing of Saul’s family. As a matter of fact, when he learned of the atrocity, he had the perpetrators executed (2 Samuel 4:12).
Escaping the comfortable home of his royal birth, Mephibosheth and his caregiver had fled to the wilderness east of the Jordan, settling in a place called “Lo-debar” (2 Samuel 9:4). As its ancient name implied, Lo-debar was a place of “no-pasture.” It was a desolate, dusty-dry, dessert. It was a place to hide, where no one would ever find you. If you travelled to the end of the last lonely road, you’d still need to go a bit farther to find Lo-debar.
Mephibosheth is a foreshadowing of me and you. We’re just like him. We are helpless and hopeless. We were sons of a fallen father, once a king, but now dethroned, deposed, defeated and soon to be destroyed. Disabled, Mephibosheth was abiding in the dessert, incapable of coming to the Living King. We’re disabled by our sin and shame and separated from a Holy God by an impossible, impassible chasm.
David, the victorious king “reigned over all Israel, administering justice and righteousness for all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15). God had established His eternal covenant with David, promising that David’s descendants would forever reign (2 Samuel 9:11-13). Now David, graciously sought for Saul’s last living kin. “Is there anyone left of Saul's family that I can show the kindness of God to?” (2 Samuel 9:3).
That reminds me of Luke 19:10! Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost!”
Having discovered Mephibosheth, he brought him back to Jerusalem where David freely granted to him all his grandfather’s land. He then invited the self-described “dead dog” to take a place at the king’s table. In essence, David made him a son. “Sit with me at my table! Have a real and lasting relationship with me. Live under my protection and enjoy the abundance of the king’s life!”
Hallelujah! What an invitation!
That’s the invitation we’ve received from Jesus. His protection. His watch-care. A lasting, living, loving relationship with the King of every king! We’re “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).