Adopted & Beloved, the Banqueting Father & His Hesed Love
So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.2 Sam 9:11
When Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets responded to a call at a gas station, he had no idea it would change his life forever. Pulling in he noticed a couple who appeared to be shooting up heroin. The woman was very pregnant and he asked her about her health and that of her unborn child. The expectant mom, Crystal, started crying. She told the officer that she wanted to place the child up for adoption, but hadn’t found a family. It was then that officer Holets knew what he had to do.
Ryan knew the Lord was leading him, so he posed an outrageous question to Crystal. He offered that he and his wife could adopt Crystal’s unborn baby. A few weeks later, baby Hope Crystal was born into the loving arms of the Holets family.
The feel-good story drew national attention. The Holets made the talk show circuit and were special guests of President Trump at his State of the Union address. But they didn’t care about the media attention. They just wanted to rescue a baby destined for hardship and bring her into the loving, protective, and nurturing fold of their family.
It was a modern adoption story reminiscent of an ancient one told in 2 Samuel 9. There we find a story of two households, once at war, now reunited around a large banqueting table and an unlikely recipient of royal adoration and favor – a young man with two crippled feet.
Regime changes were a brutal business in the ancient world. When one monarch died, and a new one assumed power, it was common practice to kill everyone associated with the previous administration in order to quell any coups.
So when King Saul and his son Jonathan died in battle in Jezreel, and word returned to Jonathan’s house, the nurse grabbed her five-year-old charge, Mephibosheth, and fled for safety. In her attempt to escape she dropped the little boy and he became lame in both of his feet.
Understandably, Saul’s house was afraid since their leader was dead, and his rival, David, had ascended the throne. But while Saul was breathing out threats, the king’s son, Jonathan, and David were pinky promising to never bring harm to each other’s families (1 Sam 20:42).
A Different Kind of Kindness
Twenty years later, David said, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam 9:1). The house that had once been the greatest source of suffering in his life, was now the target he wanted to bless.
The Hebrew word for ‘kindness’ is hesed. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact definition of hesed that encapsulates all the nuances of this mini but mighty word. But author Sally Lloyd Jones, of the Jesus Storybook Bible, said it best when she said hesed is the “never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love.”
This always and forever love didn’t die with Jonathan. David remembered his promise to his best friend and went out of his way to uphold his word. He called for the servant of Saul’s house and asked if there was anyone remaining he could show hesed to.
Let’s not pass over too quickly and fail to see the shadows of the “Greater David” hidden here in plain sight.
Like David, the Greater David, Jesus Christ…
- Goes out of his way to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10, Rom 3:11,Ezek 34:16).
- Never forgets his promises (Isa 49:16, Zech 12:10, Rev 1:7).
- Patiently waits for us to repent, never wanting any to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
- Lavishes blessings on his kids in accordance with his riches (Eph 1:6-7).
Living in No-Pasture-Land
David learned Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth was living in Lo Debar. Lo Debar wasn’t an up-and-coming metro area, but a place that meant no pasture. In no-pasture-land, a crippled young man lived with no hope of ever climbing out or making a better life for himself or his family. Given the political climate, he probably felt lucky to be alive and living quietly under the radar of the king.
So when David sent for him, Mephibosheth fell on his face and called himself David’s servant. David, exuding hesed-love said,
“Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”2 Sam 9:7
This never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love sought after Mephibosheth when he had done nothing to deserve it. It rescued him from a life of no pasture and plopped him into a life of luxury. Once helpless, hopeless, powerless, and positionless, now Mephibosheth was transferred to the royal table with every blessing of belonging.
A Royal Table Spread
Can you picture for a moment the royal table spread for the evening meal in David’s palace? The call for dinner sounds and David’s children trickle in from all corners of the palace. First to arrive is handsome and hungry Absalom, followed by willowy Tamar, and studious Solomon who strolls in late from the library. They pull out their chairs to sit down when David holds up his hand and says, “Wait, there’s still one more invited to my table.”
From the long corridor, a faint scraping sound grows louder and louder. Finally, Mephibosheth emerges from the hallway and slowly and painfully makes his way to his place at the royal table.
Friend, do you see it?
You and I are Mephibosheth
We’re all crippled by sin, and unable to walk in a manner pleasing to God. But because of his hesed-love, God has adopted us into his family as his sons and daughters. When David looked upon Mephibosheth he didn’t see his handicap but the features of his beloved Jonathan. When God looks at us he doesn’t see our sin, but the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:21).
We no longer have to wander around in no-pasture-land, looking for refreshment that’s only found at the King’s table. Like baby Hope and Mephibosheth, we’ve done nothing to deserve this honor, love, and kindness, yet they are ours because we’re in the family.
Are you his child? If so, limp on in here, and sit down. There’s a place at your Father’s banqueting table, and it’s got your name written on it.
This is where you belong.
P.S. Are you interested in learning more about banqueting at his table? It starts when we sit down, open his book, and enjoy being in his presence. I call it holy leisure. Grab this freebie below to learn more.