Sermon #1320                       Series: Miscellaneous Sermons


            Title:               MEPHIBOSHETH AND ME

            Text:               2 Samuel 21:7

            Reading:         2 Samuel 9:1-13

            Subject:          The Kindness Of God To Sinners

            Date:               [1]Sunday Morning - April 5, 1982

            Tape # U-61a



God’s grace and kindness toward us is exceedingly great. Justice gives to every man his exact due. Justice shows no favor. Justice shows no mercy. But grace is the free favor of God toward us. It is unmerited, unwarranted, and unexpected. Grace is purely a matter of charity, exercised sovereignly and spontaneously. It is attracted by nothing, and repelled by everything in us.


Divine grace is God’s free favor, bestowing the gifts of his kindness, mercy, and love upon lost sinners. Divine grace is not just shown to those who have no merit; it is shown to those who have much demerit. It is bestowed not merely upon the ill-deserving, but upon the hell-deserving. If we ever grasp the gospel of God’s saving grace, every thought of human merit will vanish from our hearts. We are “justified freely by his grace.” “By grace ye are saved.” We have a marvelous picture of that grace by which we are saved in 2 Samuel 21:7.


David killed all the sons of Saul’s house at the command of God. The slaughter of Saul’s seven remaining sons was an act of strict justice. But…


            “But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul.”


            Who was this prince Mephibosheth? He was Jonathan’s son, the last living survivor of the royal house of Saul. When the news of the death of Saul and his sons on the battlefield of Gilboa reached the royal palace, Mephibosheth was only five years old. His nurse took the young son of Jonathan up in her arms and fled down to Lodebar. In her panic, the little boy fell from her arms and was crippled. From that day on, he was lame on both of his feet.


Let’s turn to 2 Samuel 9:1-13, and I will show you.


Sixteen years had now passed, and David was determined to fulfill his covenant with Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:14-17). So he sought out last survivor of his dear friend and companion. David sent for Mephibosheth, and brought him to the palace. When Mephibosheth first learned that the king had found him, he must have been terrified. He knew what had become of Saul’s sons. Tremblingly, he came into David’s presence, expecting to be slain. What a blessed surprise he found! David showed him nothing but kindness and mercy. He was made to be as one of the king’s sons.


            Follow along, as I show you how this story sets forth the gospel of Christ. Behind the noble kindness of David toward Mephibosheth, the marvelous grace of God towards us shines forth. When the poor, crippled son of Jonathan was brought from Lodebar to Jerusalem, and made to sit at the king’s table, I am sure that words could not begin to express his gratitude. And when a slave of sin and Satan is made a joint-heir with Christ, he is lost in wonder, love, and praise. Eternity itself cannot render to the Lord the praise and adoration we desire to give him.


Proposition:            David’s kindness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake is a beautiful picture of God’s lovingkindness and tender mercy to sinners for Christ’s sake.


Divisions:     As we go through this chapter, I want to show you five things about this man Mephibosheth, and show you how they speak of the grace of God to us in Christ.


1.      Mephibosheth was in a very miserable condition, when the king sought him out.

2.      Mephibosheth was called by the king.

3.      Mephibosheth was reconciled to the king by an act of the king’s mercy.

4.      Mephibosheth was granted perpetual fellowship and communion with the king.

5.      All of this was done for Mephibosheth, because of a covenant made long before he was born.




            He was altogether unworthy of David’s attention, regard, and favor. But David freely showed kindness and mercy to him. And we are unworthy to receive anything from God; nevertheless, he is gracious to us.


A.  The name “Mephibosheth” means shameful, and a shameful man he was.


            He was poor, destitute, and helpless. Well may all the sons of Adam be called “Mephibosheth”. We are “a shameful thing.” “We are all as an unclean thing” (Isa. 64:6). “From the soul of the foot even unto the crown of the head, there is no soundness in us, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores” (Isa. 1:6). “Man, at his best estate, is altogether vanity.” Like the leper, we have an incurable disease. Like the harlot, we are defiled. Your name and mine is Mephibosheth, “a shameful thing,” in heart, in will, and in deed.


B. Mephibosheth was the king’s enemy.


            He was the son of Saul, a natural enemy to David. He was hiding from David. But David was not his enemy.


1.      By nature, all the sons of Adam are enemies of God (Rom. 8:7).

2.      We were hiding from God when he saved us.

3.      But God is not the enemy of his people.


·        Through Jesus Christ God has reconciled us to himself (Rom. 5:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-20).

·        And God is ever beseeching lost, lame, languishing sinners to be reconciled to him.


C. Mephibosheth became lame through a fall (v. 3).


2 Samuel 9:3  "And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet."


2 Samuel 4:4  "And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth."


            Even so, “God created man upright,” but we became helpless, lame cripples through the fall of our father Adam (John 6:44).


            Like Ezekiel’s deserted infant, left to ourselves, we must surely perish, because we have no strength or ability to help ourselves.


D. And Mephibosheth was in a far country (v. 4).


2 Samuel 9:4  "And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar."


1.      He was far away from the king.

2.      He was far away from Jerusalem.

·        The place of blessing.

·        The place of peace.

·        The place of worship.

3.      He was  in the house of Machir - which means “sold.”

4.      He was down in Lodebar, the place of no bread.

5.      This is our condition by nature.


            You who are yet without faith in Christ are far away from God. You are far away from Christ. You are sold under sin. You are in a desert place, where there is no bread.


NOTE: “Lodebar” is written across the fields of this world. When will you wandering prodigals realize this? Come to your senses, man; and come to Christ (Psa. 68:6; Lk. 15:16).


Psalms 68:6  "God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land."


Luke 15:16  "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."


            Like Mephibosheth, you who are without Christ are in a miserable condition. Oh, may the Lord show you your condition!


II.   Mephibosheth was called by the king (vv. 4-5).


2 Samuel 9:4-5  "And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. (5) Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar."


            David sought Mephibosheth and fetched him to the palace. Here again, we see God’s marvelous grace toward sinners. He seeks his own sheep. And when he finds his sheep, he fetches it home.


A.  David sought Mephibosheth - Mephibosheth did not seek David.


·        A Sovereign Election

·        A Personal Call


            Salvation begins with God. He takes the initiative. Man goes astray. Man hides from God. But God seeks and finds his own. It is written, “I am found of them that sought me not.”


            God almighty sends his Spirit to seek and find his people, who have strayed far away from him. He always finds them; and he always brings them home. He says, “Follow me,” and they follow. He says, “Come unto me,” and they come.


·        Abraham was in Ur.

·        Moses was in Midian.

·        Zachaeus was up in a tree.

·        Saul was in the desert.

·        The Ethiopian Eunuch


B. Mephibosheth came before the king in reverent submission (v. 6).


2 Samuel 9:6  "Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!"


1.      When he first came before David, he reverenced him with fear and trembling. He did not know what David would do with him. He could kill him, or he could let him live. So Mephibosheth threw himself at the king’s feet.

2.      David broke the poor man’s fear. He called him by name and spoke peaceably to him. “Mephibosheth, fear not, for I will surely show thee kindness.”

3.      Have you thrown yourself down at the feet of Christ the great King? That’s the way to obtain mercy.


            Blessed be his name, he calls his own by name; and he speaks peace to our souls!


C. Now get this - Mephibosheth was received in all his deformity.


            Just as he was, without any improvement, David received the poor cripple. And the Lord our God receives sinners in all their deformity.


Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee -

O Lamb of God, I come.


Come ye weary, heavy laden,

Lost and ruined by the fall.

If you tarry till you’re better,

You will never come at all.


D. Mephibosheth was received for the sake of another (v. 7).


2 Samuel 9:7  "And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually."


            David received Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake, because he loved Jonathan. And God receives us for Christ’s sake, because he loves his Son (Tit. 3:3-7).


Titus 3:3-7  "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, (5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."


            On the basis of Christ’s righteous obedience as our Representative and voluntary death as our Substitute, God receives believing sinners. It pleases God to look on Christ and pardon all who believe on him. Just as David received Mephibosheth because of his relationship to Jonathan, God receives us because of our relationship to Christ.


E.  When Mephibosheth came to David, he learned to have a proper estimate of himself (v. 8).


2 Samuel 9:8  "And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"


            Listen to me now. It is only after we come to Christ that we truly have a proper view of ourselves. Do not expect to find repentance until you come to Christ by faith.




2 Samuel 9:9-10  "Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. (10) Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants."


            David restored Mephibosheth and made him as one of the king’s sons. Once again, he was made to be a prince in Israel.


A.  Mephibosheth got more in David than he had lost in Saul.


            And we got more in Christ than we lost in Adam.


1.      He has given us life eternal.

2.      He has given us peace (Rom. 5:1).

3.      Christ has given us an incorruptible inheritance.

4.      Christ has provided for us all that we need.

5.      And in Christ we are given the highest possible honor and dignity (1 John 3:1).


B. And under the king’s table Mephibosheth’s crippled feet were covered.


            He was still lame on both his feet, but his deformity was covered under David’s table. Now, blessed be God, in Christ all the deformities of his people are covered!




            The king’s house was his house. He dwelt with David. He was always accepted in David’s presence.


A.  Children of God, it is our privilege and joy to dwell with the King.


1.      We may walk in his company.

2.      We are allowed to speak freely to him.

3.      We live upon his riches.

4.      We rest under his protection.


B. Because of the grace he had received, Mehpibosheth loved the king above everything (19:24-30).


2 Samuel 19:24-31  "And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. (25) And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? (26) And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. (27) And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes. (28) For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? (29) And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. (30) And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.”


1.      He waited patiently for the king’s return.

2.      He wanted nothing but the king.

3.      Because of his great love for the king, Ziba despised him.

4.      Children of God, we ought to imitate this man Mephibosheth.


·        Ought we not love King Jesus supremely?

·        Give up everything to him and for him.

·        Wait patiently for the King’s return.

·        Desire nothing but Christ himself.




When the King returned and finally destroyed all the sons of Saul (seven of them), Mephibosheth was spared because of David’s love for Johnathan. David loved Mephibosheth because of his relation to Johnathan and because of the covenant he made with Johnathan.


2 Samuel 21:7  "But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD'S oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul."


            And, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, all that we have in Christ and all that we have experienced of divine grace, has been given to us because of a covenant made between God the Father and God the Son long before we were born. Mephibosheth did not know anything about the covenant, but David did! God our Father loves us and deals graciously with us because of Christ and our relation to him. Indeed, he loves us as he loves his dear Son!




1.      Is there in this house of worship any Mephibosheth? Any poor, shameful, helpless sinner who needs mercy? Come, throw yourself down at the feet of King Jesus and sue for mercy.


2.      Children of God, let our hearts be filled with love, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving for the kindness of God which he has shown unto us for Christ’s sake.



[1] Wichita Falls, Texas 4-2-98