Was reading this passage today… which I’ve read countless times… about Mephibosheth, grandson of King Saul… son of Prince Jonathan. And I’ve noticed the recurring phrase “He was crippled in both feet…” before, as well. But what I didn’t notice before is that phrase about Mephibosheth being crippled is the first and the last things said about him in this passage.
Well, anything in a passage that is repeated should automatically get our attention… it’s important, to some degree… but placement of certain phrases should also raise our eyebrows. And the fact that this is the defining picture of Mephibosheth, should tell us something. First, the statement about his being crippled is given by Ziba, who is a former servant of Saul’s. This is the way Ziba sees Mephiobosheth. This is the picture that Ziba paints for King David, when asked if there is anyone still living from Saul’s family. “There is… but he’s crippled. He’s not useful. You don’t need to waste your time with him.” Mephibosheth was injured as a boy in a freak accident… and, although he is now a grown man, the stigma from his past still affects his present: He is crippled in both feet.
It’s a reality. It’s a fact. This is the truth about his situation… this is where he is, right now. And Ziba lets everyone know.
It’s interesting to me how some people are so quick to trumpet the faults of others. I’ve been guilty of this before. It’s not a good thing. And I’m convinced that the only reason we’re so quick to speak up about others’ issues and situations is because those may not be the issues that we struggle with. But the truth is, though we may not struggle with those particular issues, we do struggle… and we need to be careful of how we “blast” others’ struggles, because there may be someone around the corner – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… but soon – who is waiting to blast ours.
But although Ziba was the first mouthpiece of the passage to mention Mephibosheth’s predicament, God was the last! I LOVE this… because when we read through the passage, we find that in spite of Mephibosheth’s predicament, David blessed him royally! He rescued Mephibosheth from a far away place (Lo Debar)… he restored to Mephibosheth all the land of his grandfather Saul… and he reeived Mephibosheth as one of his sons.
Ziba didn’t think Mephibosheth was worthy of David’s blessings, because of his predicament. Yet, David blessed Mephibosheth in spite of his predicament… and God does the same for us!
Man slanders. God stoops.
Man accuses. God accepts.
And, of course, it’s important to know that none of this was because of who Mephibosheth was… it was because of David’s friend, Mephibosheth’s father, Jonathan. In the same way, God doesn’t bless us because of who we are… He blesses us because of who JESUS is! Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! And so, God blessed us in Christ, chose us in Christ, redeemed us in Christ, reconciled us in Christ, put us in heavenly places with Christ… He’s lavished on us the riches of His grace… ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS!
And, even when our present situation is slow to change, our position at God’s table never does!
What’s of the utmost imporatance is not what others think about us, but what God does. Truth is, we may be crippled…
… but we’re never cast aside.
“And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table. He was lame in both feet.” (2 Samuel 9:13).