I have been reading The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll, instead of studying my Bible as much as I should (thank God for grace, lol), and he paints a wonderful picture of God's grace in the story of David seeking out a random descendant of Jonathan's family who he can shower with kindness, simply for the sake of his deep, unconditional love of Jonathan. Swindoll finds "no fewer than eight" points of comparison (pg. 63)
- Mephibosheth once enjoyed fellowship with his father, as did Adam and Eve
- When disaster struck, it left permanent crippling in it's wake
- The King, for the sake of his beloved, sought out anyone upon which he could shower unconditional grace
- The cripple did nothing, did not even seek the blessing.
- The cripple was restored from a miserable existence, to a place of blessing and honor (though, he was still lame)
- The undeserving was adopted into the royal family.
- The crippling limp was a constant reminder of grace recieved
- When seated at the table, the adopted son was treated indistinguishably like family.
- The King sought the recipient of grace by commisioning his servant. This is inarguable, to me
- The servant, Ziba was less than enthusiatic ?(Swindoll acknowledges this though it is not included in his analogy...and I might add, it is an opinion, and I disagree. scripture seems neutral, though intuitively, culture and human nature encourages us to discount those less priveledged than ourselves, both then and now.) as I read the story, the servant of David is much too aware of his place to seem anything but neutral...unlike the servants of Jesus (many denominations and individuals come to mind) who are much to busy being blessed to tolerate the prescence of someone at the table who is morally "lame".
- The servant's task is simply to bring the cripple into the King's prescence, It is the king himself, Who makes it clear that there is nothing to fear, and the blessing that flows, is beyond Ziba, or Mephibosheth's ablitiy to affect. I do not get the sense that Mephibosheth must "Accept the free gift of Grace, or be cast into the outer darkness". He acknowleges it, in fear and trembling, and puzzlement. (And he boweth himself, and saith, ‘What is thy servant, that thou hast turned unto the dead dog—such as I?’ 2 Sam 9;8 ) after all, people in his position are traditionally put to death. I personally see David as blessing Mephibosheth regardless, so where does that leave us? Has the analogy broken down, as they all do, eventually? or Is the Doctrine of Minimal Entrance Requirement yet another heresy perpetuated my the modern pharisee?
2 Samuel 9
1And David saith, ‘Is there yet any left to the house of Saul, and I do with him kindness because of Jonathan?’ 2And the house of Saul hath a servant, and his name is Ziba, and they call for him unto David; and the king saith unto him, ‘Art thou Ziba?’ and he saith, ‘Thy servant.’
3And the king saith, ‘Is there not yet a man to the house of Saul, and I do with him the kindness of God?’ And Ziba saith unto the king, ‘Jonathan hath yet a son—lame.’ 4And the king saith to him, ‘Where is he?’ and Ziba saith unto the king, ‘Lo, he is in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, in Lo-Debar.’
5And king David sendeth, and taketh him out of the house of Machir son of Ammiel, of Lo-Debar, 6and Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, son of Saul, cometh unto David, and falleth on his face, and doth obeisance, and David saith, ‘Mephibosheth;’ and he saith, ‘Lo, thy servant.’
7And David saith to him, ‘Be not afraid; for I certainly do with thee kindness because of Jonathan thy father, and have given back to thee all the field of Saul thy father, and thou dost eat bread at my table continually.’ 8And he boweth himself, and saith, ‘What is thy servant, that thou hast turned unto the dead dog—such as I?’
9And the king calleth unto Ziba servant of Saul, and saith unto him, ‘All that was to Saul and to all his house, I have given to the son of thy lord, 10and thou hast served for him the land, thou and thy sons, and thy servants, and hast brought in, and there hath been to the son of thy lord bread, and he hath eaten it; and Mephibosheth son of thy lord doth eat continually bread at my table;’ and Ziba hath fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11And Ziba saith unto the king, ‘According to all that my lord the king commandeth his servant, so doth thy servant;’ as to Mephibosheth, ‘he is eating at my table (saith the king) as one of the sons of the king.’ 12And Mephibosheth hath a young son, and his name is Micha, and every one dwelling in the house of Ziba are servants to Mephibosheth. 13And Mephibosheth is dwelling in Jerusalem, for at the table of the king he is eating continually, and he is lame of his two feet.
Young's Literal Translation