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Hoses of Grace

Faith & Failure; Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Perfect?

We clean up pretty good.
And, there are some great stories in this church about how we look out for each other and this community.
Dave Kraemer to Joe Weaver
Efrin Gutierrez
Ken Van Doorne drove the woman to PHX
So many more.
Delivering bread, a meal, a kind word, encouragement, a little money, etc.
Lots of stories.
I need a volunteer who will go first. We’re going to get to everybody in the room.
Though, there are lots of stories of unselfish, sacrifice around this room, the truth is that no matter how we try not to be, once in a while we let something out that’s ugly.
Every one of us.
So, what we’re going to do this morning is take turns telling each other about those times you messed up. You hurt people. When you hurt people, sinned.
This is just so we all understand, crystal clear, that we’re all imperfect and need for God and each other to not treat us as we deserve to be treated.
We all know it, we all see, we’re just not sure you see it about yourself. So, we’re going to make sure you do.
So, who wants to go first?
The point is, if you think you don’t have any flaws then just wait your turn. We’ll tell you all about them.
We all get the theory that nobody’s perfect and we all mess up, hurt people, make God mad; but can you describe it w/ some accuracy? We’ll help you w/ that.
Okay, so we’re not really going to do this.
But, you understand how easy it is to point out someone else’s flaws until you realize they’re going to point our yours next.
And, if we’re going to be a group of individuals who point out each other’s flaws, to their face or behind their back, then we will remain a group of individuals.
But, a community is a group of people who look past each other’s flaws and treat each other w/ grace, talk about each other graciously to our face and behind our back.
That’s what makes a community, both among the members of this church and those who are not.
God has called us to be a community, not to treat people as they deserve to be treated, but to treat each other as God treats us.
Be gracious, not grumpy. Be kind, not cutting. Compliment, don’t complain.
You may remember a few weeks about I talked about the difference between being a bucket and a hose.
Abigail received grace and wisdom from God and b/c she didn’t keep it to herself but passed it along she saved a lot of lives and prevented David from serious consequences.
She was a hose.
We all received ample amounts of grace from God. So, rather than sitting on it and keeping it to ourselves we can pass it along.
David did. He received from God and Abigail and took the opportunity to pass it along.
This is the message of .
The story about how David reached out to Mephibosheth and kept a promise he made to Jonathan.

A Promise Kept

2 Samuel 9:1–3 NIV
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “At your service,” he replied. The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
Here’s the king of Israel. A busy man. He’s been conquering the land, fighting battles, settling disputes, leading the people.
He remembered a promise he had made years earlier.
A promise to his good friend, Jonathan, son of Saul.
Private. No one else knew. Jonathan, long since dead. No one would know if David chose to keep this promise or not.
Says something about David’s character. He knew God knew he had made the promise.
The promise:
1 Samuel 20:14–15 NIV
But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”
IOW: when you become king take care of my family. Be as kind to them as God will be to you.
David promised he would.
Jonathan had one son. His name was Mephibosheth. This is his story.

Mephibosheth’s story

Mephibosheth was not his name given at birth. In the culture it was customary to change someone’s name to fith their personality or traits or experience some how.
Originally, his name was Meribaal.

Original name

1 Chronicles 8:34 NIV
The son of Jonathan: Merib-Baal, who was the father of Micah.
Not a Jewish name. You see the Baal part of it. That’s one of the gods of the Canaanites. The people who occupied the land before Israel arrived.
God’s specific instructions were not to intermarry or take on the worship of their gods.
Apparently, Jonathan didn’t get that memo, or ignored it.
He took a non-Jewish wife and named his only son after her god.
The name means, “Baal is my Advocate”
You know what an advocate is, somebody who looks out for, protects somebody else.
Children who get caught up in court cases where their parents are fighting w/ each other have an advocate assigned by the court to look out for the child’s best interest.
Sadly, parents who fight aren’t always thinking of their children’s best interests.
Christians have an advocate. Jesus. And, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our advocate. To counsel us, pray to the Father when we don’t know what to pray, defend us when our Enemy accuses us.
Believing OT Jews had an advocate. God Himself.
But Jonathan had rejected God as his son’s Advocate and sought help from Baal, who didn’t really exist.
Non-believing, Non-Jewish, Canaanite mother.
David would have been justified to walk away at this point.
And, Saul’s servant Ziba, gave David another good reason to walk away. He had had an accident that left him lame in both feet.

His accident.

2 Samuel 4:4 NIV
(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 disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
Saul and Jonathan die in battle.
David is the new anointed king of Israel.
It was customary for the men of the new king to kill all the descendants of the old king to prevent any chances of a coup from them.
The old king would have had his supporters even after he’d been deposed by God.
There was a nurse who had been hired to care for his son and as news broke about his father and grandfather’s death they knew they needed to evacuate, fast.
Their lives were in danger.
This is going to be a dangerous fire season. We don’t need to overcook this, but, heading into spring we all need to be ready to get out fast.
If lightening strikes a tree by Lake Odell, all of Munds Park is in jeopardy.
Grab one bag, a child and go.
You can imagine the chaos. A 5-year old’s legs just can’t keep up, something happened and he broke both legs.
Medical practice at the time didn’t allow for properly setting the bones so they healed mis-aligned.
A picture in my mind of an adult Ugandan tribesman who walked w/ a crutch b/c there was a sideways ‘U’ shape in his leg.
Maybe a tree, or rock fell on it when he was young and his leg healed that way.
So, 5-year old Meri-Baal severely broke both legs. Now, unable to walk w/out assistance, at least crutches.
Disabled.
He got a new name; Mephibosheth.
The “bo-sheth” part means shame.
He brought shame to his family.
They are ashamed of him. And, he’s treated that way.
This is not viewed as simple mis-fortune or an accident.
It’s shameful, humiliating due to foolish behavior.
He was running for his life, trying to keep up as fast as his short, little legs could go. He fell. An accident.
But, again, customary when something like this happens the belief was their god was treating him as he deserved. There was something wrong w/ him that no one had noticed except their god.
Baal was obviously not his advocate. And, the only reason could be that the boy was not worthy. Certainly, couldn’t have been that Baal didn’t really exist nor advocate for anyone.
So, now, not only are all the old king’s relations killed, so are the disabled. Usually, they die from neglect. No one wants catch their bad Karma. They beg then they die.
Another reason why no one would blame David if he walked away from his promise if they even knew about it.
Mephibosheth has been in hiding all his life. Trying to lay low. Don’t make yourself known for any reason.
There is not statute of limitations on being Saul’s grandson.
So, think about what went thru his mind when the king’s rep knocked on his door and said David, the warrior king, the new king, whom his grandfather tried to kill, wanted to see him.
He must have been terrified. He wasn’t able to run away. So, he had not choice but to go w/ them.

A Seat at the King’s Table

1st question

2 Samuel 9:4 NIV
“Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
Of all the possible 1st questions to ask.
David was committed to following thru on his promise.
Where is he?
Not, how crippled is he? What happened? What will people think of me if I do this? Does anybody else know? Can I still get out of this?
Meph was completely dependent on his family and caretakers. He couldn’t shepherd, farm, or work at all.
Nothing that required use of his legs.
Either crutches, he crawled or was carried everywhere.
There was no Americans w/ Disabilities Act that set requirements in homes and public buildings.
All he could do was beg and kings didn’t normally hang out w/ beggars.
Nor did they hang out w/ the grandson of their predecessors who might try to take him out and take the throne himself.
The way Meph first approached David would not give him any concerns about how he might act in his presence.
He made a good 1st impression

1st impression

2 Samuel 9:
2 Samuel 9:6 NIV
When Mephibosheth 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.
Respect. Honor. Fear.
David had complete authority to do whatever he wanted to do.
Meph had no idea what that might be.
He’d been hiding, hoping David would never find out he was alive and find him.
The last thing he wanted to hear a rep of the king say, “The king wants to see you.”
So, he set his crutches aside, bowed down, made himself vulnerable. There was obviously no reason to try to run or fight.
If his life is over, it’s over. Maybe David would graciously quick about it.
What came next would have caught him totally off guard.
It would have been the last thing he expected to hear.

The last thing

2 Samuel 9:7–8 NIV
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
2 Samuel 9:
He didn’t deserve it, he hadn’t earned it, and he knew it.
David didn’t do it for his sake, but for his father’s sake.
For years Meph had been hiding afraid David would seek him out to kill him. That is, if he wasn’t killed by his own villagers or die from neglect b/c he was disabled.
Then, when David does find him and summon him it’s not to mistreat him but to honor him.
He gave him all the land that once belonged to his grandfather. And, since Saul was king, it would have been a sizeable estate.
Instantaneously, from a beggar to a billionaire.
From dishonor to disbelief.
David instructed Ziba to have her family of servants work the land for their master, Mephibosheth. He would have an income, provide for his family.
Where once they were ashamed of him, now they would respect him.
David gave him his self-respect back, too.
The opportunity to support his family and not have to live off them.
More than wealth, David gave him a seat at his own table. David honored him as a member of his own family.
He would sit and eat w/ David’s sons as an equal.
Meph’s family was ashamed of him.
David and his family honored him.
When he arrived at the table, the fine tablecloth that covered David’s table also covered Meph’s disability.
No one knew just by looking at him sitting at the table that he had any physical flaw whatsoever. They were able to look past his flaw and see him for who he was.
That day he became a member of David’s family and they were a community sitting around that table. This is the first time he would have experienced that in his life.
David was a conduit of grace. A hose. He had received grace from God and grace from Abigail as well as others. He didn’t hold it, he shared it.
Grace doesn’t look for things that have been done that deserve it. Grace is one-sided.
Grace only works when there is no expectation of repayment.
Flawed people receiving grace from God and then sharing it w/ other flawed people.
God has called us to be a community, not to treat people as they deserve to be treated, but to treat each other as God treats us.
That’s what makes a community, both among the members of this church and those who are not.
God has called us to be a community, not to treat people as they deserve to be treated, but to treat each other as God treats us.
Be gracious, not grumpy. Be kind, not cutting. Compliment, don’t complain.

Applications

An Advocate

We all have an advocate. We don’t face anything alone.
The HS is our counselor, encourager, teacher, and reminderer.
Be encouraged.

A Seat

We have a seat at our King’s table.
In God’s eyes we are just like Mephibosheth.
Our flaws are shameful. A holy God can have no contact with imperfect people.
But, once we come to Jesus, by faith, we are given a seat at our King’s table and his fine, pure white tablecloth covers our shame.
Anyone who looks at us would have no idea what Jesus has covered.
Well, except that we all have those flaws.
We have a seat reserved and will enjoy the feast when Jesus gathers us all together in heaven.
Be encouraged and look forward to that day.

A hose

Be a hose of grace.
Recognize the flaws you live with and be grateful God does not treat you as you deserve.
Now, treat every other flawed person you know with the same grace God treats you with.
We’re not going to point out each other’s flaws. We don’t need to. If anyone is close enough and paying attention then they will know what everyone else does. No one needs to point it out.
Speak about and treat each other kindly; to our face and behind our back.
Let’s be the community God has called us to be.
A community is a group of people who look past each other’s flaws and treat each other w/ grace, talk about each other graciously to our face and behind our back.
That’s what makes a community, both among the members of this church and those who are not.
God has called us to be a community, not to treat people as they deserve to be treated, but to treat each other as God treats us.
Be gracious, not grumpy. Be kind, not cutting. Compliment, don’t complain.
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