Cripples at the Table

Nov 19, 2018 2029

Cripples at the Table

David, the king of Israel, had just won a bitter seven-year civil war against the remaining son of the previous king, Saul. Now the time had come to consolidate the new kingdom and protect his dynasty against pretenders, so he asks his advisors to see if anyone had survived from the previous dynasty (2 Samuel 9:1, NIV).

The king sent out his spies throughout Israel, and eventually they sent word they found the sole surviving member of the previous royal family. His name was Mephibosheth, the young grandson of King Saul.

Standard operating procedure was that the new king would kill every surviving member of the previous dynasty. That way there would be no challenges to his rule.

Mephibosheth was a paraplegic, and he had spent most of his life hiding in the wilderness in abject poverty. He had no hope. Probably death would be a release for him, and that’s exactly what he knew must happen if he came before the king.

But when he did, he heard the king call out his name with excitement and not with anger, as he jumped off his throne and ran to embrace him. He restored Mephibosheth everything he had lost, and then he gave him a place at his table with the princes and the mighty men.

Can you imagine how shocked the king’s advisors must have been! If the king had wanted to show kindness to some cripple, he could have discretely sent  a food parcel every week. But not this cripple! Not his supposed enemy! Not Mephibosheth!

You are honoured and loved for Christ’s sake.

And so it was that, against all apparent reason, King David removed Mephibosheth’s rags and gave him royal robes to wear, and he gave him a home with him in the palace. David fulfilled in Mephibosheth the words that he wrote in Psalm 23:

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies…
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever (vv.5–6, NIV).

This is a story about the meaning of grace. It’s a story about a king and a cripple. God is the king and you are the cripple.

There was no outward reason why the king should have loved Mephibosheth. But there was a deep inner reason why. David showed Mephibosheth kindness for the sake of the love that he bore Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father (2 Sam 9:7). Mephibosheth was loved and honoured for the sake of another. In the same way, you are loved and honoured for Christ’s sake.

And when Mephibosheth sat at with his feet under the table of the king, nobody could see that he was a cripple. That’s how it is with you when you dine at the table of the mercy of God.

All that anyone will ever see are princes, princesses, and mighty warriors and nobility. And that’s all that God sees as well. That’s grace.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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