The story of Mephibosheth is told in the Old Testament. It is spread out over the pages of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. It is a story that foreshadowed the New Covenant. It helps us to capture the essence of what a covenant implies to its beneficiaries. See more Crucifixion, why so bloody?
Long, long ago there was two young men who were the best of friends, David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of the crown prince of Israel, Saul. David at the time, ranked in Saul’s army. A man after God’s heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
Saul was the king. He was a handsome young man who the people chose to be there king. He went from better to worse, and chose to be disobedient to the God of Israel. He ended up a broken man, seeking counsel of the witch of Endor.
David killed Goliath, and he became very popular. King Saul became afraid that David would snatch the throne from him. His fear turned into an obsession to kill David.
Jonathan was the son of Saul, but he was not like his father. He was to rule after Saul died. If he wanted to secure his throne, he should have sided with his father. But, Jonathan wanted to do what pleases God.
Jonathan and David became great friends. Their friendship deepened to the point of making a covenant.
1 Samuel 18:3-4 “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.”
1 Samuel 20:42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, “May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.”
The Near Middle East was a violent place in 1000 BC. The first act of a conqueror was to kill all the heirs of the conquered king.
Even though David had many times the change to kill Saul. He never did. Saul fell on his own sword during a violent battle. Jonathan died too. Panic broke out in Israel, and people were running to and throw.
The royal nurses rushed to the nursery to take the young son of Jonathan out. A nurse picked up little Mephibosheth, and fled with the baby in her arms. She slipped, and she fell. The baby was flung from her arms and smashed on the road. His feet were crushed, and he never walked again.
He was taken across the Jordan River to a deserted place, called Lo Debar. He is terrified of king David, and hides away. He is bitter, and he lives like a pauper.
David became king after much unrest. He captured Jerusalem, and he brought back the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem.
One day, while David is in his palace, he remembers Jonathan his old friend. He remembers the covenant they made long ago.
2 Samuel 9:1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonatahn’s sake?”
THE MAN MEPHIBOSHETH
This is when David send his men to go and get Mephibosheth, in Lo Debar. Mephibosheth heard a knock on the door, and he is thinking “the rooster is coming home to roost.”
2 Samuel 9
5. So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Mair son of Ammiel.
6. When Mephiboshet son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him. honor.
David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“At your service,” he replied.
7.”Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your fahter Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
8. Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
9. Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s Steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.
10. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.
Poor Mephibosheth were hiding away his whole life. Terrified of the king, and growing bitter about his misfortune. Little did he known that he was the beneficiary of a covenant.
It was only when the king persued and find him, that he heard the good news. From that day on, he too was living in the palace, eating at the table of the king.
YOU AND ME
How tragic, for this is the story of many people today. They believe the king, Jesus Christ, is out to get them. Little do they know that they are the beneficiaries of a covenant that was made between God and Jesus Christ, at Golgotha.
Little do they know that they are royalty because of a covenant. When you believe you are a pauper, you will think like a pauper and live like a pauper.
If only they could know the truth. They will brush up their act, wash of the dirt, and live like royalty. Your identity in Christ is what will keep you from sinning.
That is what it means to behold Jesus Christ. It is understanding who you are in Christ. Believe right, and you will live right.
David and Jonathan did not need a covenant to be friends. The covenant was for the generations to come. Both Jonathan and David stood as the representatives of their unborn children. When they were long gone, the blood covenant, still stands.