Show Some Kindness

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 9:1 (NIV)
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

2 Samuel 9:1 (MSG)
One day David asked, “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family? If so, I’d like to show him some kindness in honor of Jonathan.”
“And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house (family) of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”–AMPLIFIED

We find that once David’s kingdom was firmly established his mind turned to remembering the agreement that he had made with his best friend Jonathan. David inquired “Is anyone still left in Saul’s family? I want to show kindness to that person for Jonathan’s sake!” David had never forgotten that friendship with Jonathan. It was one of the highlights of his life and now he wanted to be sure that he did everything in his power to carry through with his promise to Jonathan.

Jonathan was no longer alive, but surely there was someone in Saul’s family that he could show kindness and honor to for Jonathan’s sake. Lo and behold, there was! When David had a conference with Ziba, Saul’s old servant and house manager, he found out that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was still alive.

David’s first response was one of joy and excitement. Not only did he find someone from Saul’s family to show kindness to, he in fact found his buddy Jonathan’s own son. David immediately finds out where Mephibosheth is and sends for him.

David had a need to do good; in order to fulfill a promise. His desire was to show kindness to Saul’s family. We will see that Mephibosheth was in need of kindness too. (God always knows what we need; doesn’t He?)

Now we need a little background information on Mephibosheth. Ziba told David that Jonathan’s son was crippled in both of his feet. He was not born this way. In 2 Samuel 4 we are told, “Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.” -2 Samuel 4:4 (NIV)

When Mephibosheth was brought to the king his first response was one of fear. Here was the man who his grandfather had tried to hunt down and eradicate. I am sure that he feared for his life. David, though, did everything he could to calm those fears. David says to him, “Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.” -2 Samuel 9:7 (MSG)

The Complete Jewish Bible actually conveys David’s seriousness in this situation to be kind. “Don’t be afraid, for I am determined to be kind to you for the sake of Y’honatan your father.” 2 Samuel 9:7 (CJB)

Still not convinced, we find Mephibosheth quaking in fear. Try to understand things from his perspective. David was the guy who took the kingship over which everyone thought would stay in Saul’s family. Mephibosheth probably thought that David was seeking to destroy the rest of Saul’s family so no one was left to lay claim to the throne. Scripture gives us Mephibosheth’s response, “Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?” -2 Samuel 9:8 (MSG)

Still David did not give up. Pressing on with a decided purpose in mind we find David once again calling Ziba and telling him this, “Everything that belonged to Saul and his family, I’ve handed over to your master’s grandson. You and your sons and your servants will work his land and bring in the produce, provisions for your master’s grandson. Mephibosheth himself, your master’s grandson, from now on will take all his meals at my table.” Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.” -2 Samuel 9:9-10 (MSG)

Nothing was going to deter David from accomplishing what he had set out to do; be kind to Saul’s family for Jonathan sake. Ziba agreed to David’s plan. (He really had no other choice.) We are told that from that time on Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table just like he was one of the king’s sons; one of the royal family.

This chapter ends with these words, “Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, taking all his meals at the king’s table. He was lame in both feet.” -2 Samuel 9:13 (MSG)

For so many reasons Mephibosheth could have been ostracized at this time; his disability, his ancestry, or even his status. But David looked beyond all of that and kept a promise. David’s desire to do the right thing in the long run turned out to be a blessing to him. We will see this as we continue to look at His-story.

Jesus taught His disciples this truth, “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.” -Luke 6:31-34 (MSG)

Remember this; God knows our heart. There are no secrets hidden from Him. David’s desire to do the right thing brought joy to the Most High.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to choose to do the right thing; even when it is difficult. Help me to bless others, be kind, encourage and lift up. Remind me not to judge others from outside appearances; for those judgmental thoughts are usually wrong. Help me to treat others with the same love and kindness that you have given to me.


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