Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, Son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness…” 2 Samuel 9:5-7 (ESV)
Nature study at school was always interesting, especially since I had the added advantage of living in the countryside. Each week we would collect many new plants from the hedgerows, search for their names and “show and tell” the class. I think our fascination lay mostly with the very weird names which were allocated these wild plants. For example, who thought up the names ‘birds’-foot trefoil’, ‘Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon’, ‘robin-run-the-hedge’, ‘common St John’s-wort’ and ‘greater bladderwort’?
Flicking through the Bible there are a number of rather unusual names too, but none less than the mouthful ‘Mephibosheth’. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and grandson of Israel’s King Saul. The boy was only five years old when his father and grandfather were killed in battle. Upon hearing the news of these events, the nurse in care of Mephibosheth hurriedly fled for a place of safety with the young child, and in her anxious effort, accidentally dropped him and crushed his ankles. Thus he was lame in his feet. In 2 Samuel 9, we read of how David rescued him from a hopeless situation and forever changed his life. Not only had Mephibosheth suffered the consequences of a fall, we are told that he was in the house of “Machir” in a place called “Lo-debar”. Both the house and the place describe his condition. The Hebrew word used here for house literally means ‘a prison’. The same word used of Joseph when he was put in prison. Machir means ‘sold’, while Lo-debar means ‘no pasture’. It was a place characterised by barrenness, a wasteland, no greenery. We get the picture. He had suffered the consequences of a fall and was now in a place where he felt imprisoned, sold and without hope.
However, keep reading because grace was extended to him. David desired to extend grace to a member of Saul’s family and Mephibosheth was fetched. David called him by his name: “Mephibosheth!” The king said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness…” Mephibosheth had done nothing to merit the royal favour but he willingly embraced the grace that was offered to him and he was promised, “You shall always eat at my table.”
There was a lot of me in Mephibosheth. I too have suffered as a result of a Fall. I was in a place of Lo-debar. I had nothing to merit royal favour but the King sought me and called me by name. He extended His grace to me and granted me perpetual fellowship and communion saying , “You shall always eat at my table.” Have you embraced the same grace extended to you?