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The Lame

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What could we ever say, think or do that would not be lame when it comes to thanking God for all the blessings He has given us? To find out the answer to this question please listen to this sermon.

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Are you Lame? 2 Samuel 9:1-13, 16:1-4, 17:24-30 Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567 Ever wonder how “lame” most of our words, thoughts and deeds are to an omnipotent, holy God? Having been created a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7) and in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), humanity possessed what was needed to establish a flourishing relationship with our Creator (James 4:8) and yet we chose to reject His lordship over us so that “self” might be in charge! Due to our sin God rightly placed a curse on humanity in the form of both physical and spiritual death (Genesis 3). While it would be easy and self-serving to blame Adam and Eve for the sinful nature we have received, since we are incapable of sinning (Romans 3:23), we must reluctantly admit “WE” bought our own condemnation (Romans 6:23). God is right to be angry and His wrath towards humanity is just. It is only by grace and our faith in God (Ephesians 2:8-9) that we have been forgiven (1 John 1:9), adopted (John 1:12) and promised a glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18); the chief of which is to spend an eternity in His presence (John 3:16)! Considering these undeserved blessings what could one ever possibly say, think or do that would not be filthy rags but a sweet aroma unto He who has done more than we can ever ask or imagine for us (Ephesians 3:20)? This sermon is going to review the life of Mephibosheth and in doing so suggest that what God truly wants from humanity is for us to acknowledge He is our Lord and portion! Seeking out the Lame (2 Samuel 9:1-3) Once David had become the undisputed king, firmly established on the throne and “surrounded by his of his royal retinue,”1 he turned his attention to fulfilling a promise.2 Even though Saul and most of his family repeatedly tried to take David’s life he refuse to take any initiative to displace Saul or his sons.3 Once established on the throne David sought out any descendent of the former king’s family not to kill them, which would was the custom of the time,4 but to do good to “any of Saul’s surviving sons or grandsons5 so that he might fulfill a promise that he made with Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:14-6, 42). “Contact between David and the house (hold) of Saul”6 was made through Ziba, a servant and estate manager of Saul’s property.7 1 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 504. Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 916. 3 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 318. 4 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 505. 5 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 242. 6 Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 917. 7 Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 173. 2 1|Page Ziba told David that a “son of Jonathan name Mephibosheth was in Lo-bebar at the home of Makir, son of Ammiel (9:3–4).8 Mephibosheth whom was only five when his grandfather and Jonathan died in the battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa (2:4),9 became lame in both feet due to a fall sustained while fleeing his home upon hearing this news (2 Sam. 4:4).10 Ziba was ordered by David to go and bring Mephibosheth to him so that he might show him kindness. In thinking about the kindness that David wanted to show Saul’s family one can’t help but think about the life-sustaining grace that God bestows on humanity which made it possible for us to have a relationship with Him.11 Even though his kindness might have been seen as weakness and might have risked “encouraging thoughts of usurping the throne,”12 David was determined to fulfill not just a promise to Jonathan but to God to show kindness to a family whom were his enemies.13 Has not our undisputed King (Romans 4:11) shown us the lame, sinful creatures grace and mercy? Were we not God’s enemies (Romans 5:10) when He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross in our place? Without this atoning act of grace and mercy whom amongst the lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful and unholy (2 Timothy 3:2), which is all of us, could honesty say we could have earned our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Ever since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden humanity has been incapable of being holy because sin easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1) and takes us captive to go against our Creator (James 1:14). Praise be to God that we did not get what we deserved but through Christ God provided the means not only for our reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20) but also sanctification! 8 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 320. 9 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 319. 10 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 242. 11 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 506. 12 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 243. 13 John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Samuel (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 455. 2|Page The Shame and Fear of the Lame (2 Samul 9:4-7a) It would not be surprising if being summoned to the royal palace of David instilled both resentment14 and fear15 in Mephibosheth’s heart! He might have resented the fact that his family was wiped out and now Saul’s sworn enemy was on the throne! Knowing that “it was common for the founders of new dynasties to murder all potential successors to the throne from the royal house they displaced” 16 and the fact that his uncle IshBosheth was executed while lying on his bed (2 Samuel 4),17 would have also been more than good reasons to fear going to see the new king!18 One can hear the quivering voice and see the wobbling knees as Mephibosheth calls himself David’s servant and bows to pay homage to him!19 Realizing that his guest whom was “disabled politically and emotionally as well as physically” 20 was scared that he was about to be executed,21 David quickly tells Mephibosheth to not be afraid for his intent was honorable. David had not brought him to the palace to keep him under surveillance,22 to use him as a pawn “to solidify a tenuous unity between the northern Israel and southern Judah23 or to kill him so that he could not challenge him for the throne; but to fulfill a promise he had made to his father Jonathan to “show faithfully kindness to his family.”24 14 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 243. 15 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 508. 16 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 320. 17 David of course did not condone harming someone from Saul’s family had the men responsible executed immediately. 18 Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 917. 19 Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 917. 20 Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 174. 21 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 508. 22 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 320. 23 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 507. 24 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 506. 3|Page Like Mephibosheth don’t we often feel resentment, shame and fear when we approach a holy God? Whom amongst us has not seen or experienced firsthand the injustices of this fallen world and not reacted like Job (chapter 38) and questioned or worse yet been angry with our sovereign God’s justice? Ever since Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden because they were ashamed of their sin (Genesis 3:10) we too tend to hide from God when we fall short of His glory. And whom of us are not afraid of God’s wrath and discipline and be like Isaiah and in the presence of a holy God cry out “I am ruined” for my heart is unclean (Isaiah 6:5)? It is at these moments that our Savior intervenes and reminds us that through His blood we are not only acceptable in God’s sight but have been adopted into His family (John 1:1213) with a glorious inheritance (Ephesians 3)! This does not mean that we can approach a holy God with a heart that is clinging to sin (Romans 6:1-4) but through His grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16) when we confess our sins we are forgiven and made right in His sight (1 John 1:9). And when it comes to God’s justice, we must remember that in His time He will hold everyone accountable for the things that they have done (Romans 2:6)! More than one Could Ask or Imagine (2 Samuel 9:7-13) The kindness that David chose to bestow on Mephibosheth was far beyond what he could have asked or imagined! He who had a morbid self-image of being worth no more than a “dead dog”25 (in his words), did not need to hesitate to claim his grandfather’s property rights26 for in front of the entire court David commanded Ziba and his 15 sons and 20 servants that the land was not only Mephibosheth’s but they were to farm27 and give one half of the produce to him!28 This gift alone would have made him 25 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 243. 26 Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 174. 27 Eugene H. Merrill, “2 Samuel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 466. 28 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 200. 4|Page incredibly rich for Saul “was a mighty man of substance and had fields and vineyards to bestow.” 29 David who understood what it felt like to be unwelcomed in a kingdom30 went even further and invited him to sit at his table which not only “carried strong connotations of friendship and fellowship” but also was an honor that was reserved only for one of the king’s sons!31 Not only did David’s kindness to Mephibosheth prophetically fulfill the covenant Jonathan32 made with David33 but in turn proved that the indwelling of God’s kindness in his heart compelled him to be a king “who did what was just and right for all his people!”34 The passage finishes by telling the reader that Mephibosheth spent the rest of his days eating at David’s table. In thinking about the blessings Mephibosheth received from David one can’t help but think about all the blessings we have received from our one and only true King! While we deserved the curse of both physical and spiritual death God provided the means for us to be reconciled and obtain spiritual life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:20). Considering Christ hanging on the cross so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10), our souls should leap for joy for the grace and mercy we have received. Not only did Jesus atone for our sins (John 3:16) but also sent us a comforter the Holy Spirit (John 14:16) to constantly commune with our spirit (Romans 8:16) so that we might know and obey the truth concerning God’s expectations for our lives (John 14:26)! This means that God is no longer distant from us lame sinners but has chosen to set a table and dine with us within our very own hearts! And if this were not overwhelming enough Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us “dogs” (Matthew 15:27) so that where He is one day we will join and spend an eternity in His presence (1 John 5:13-14) in a restored Garden of Eden! God who promises to lavish blessings on us in excess of anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21) truly has done good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)! Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 451. 30 Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 918. 31 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 200. 32 Jonathan initiated the covenant. 33 Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 506. 34 J. Robert Vannoy, Cornerstone Biblical Commentarya: 1-2 Samuel, vol. 4 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 320. 29 5|Page The Lame Responds (2 Samuel 16:1-4, 19:24-30) To find out how Mephibosheth responded to David’s kindness we need to read two additional passages of Scripture. First, in chapter 16 we learn that when David was fleeing from Absalom, he met Ziba who offered food and other provisions suited for men on the march.35 When David asked where his master’s grandson was he calmly stated Mephibosheth was in Jerusalem waiting for the Israelites to restore Saul’s kingdom to him. In haste David took Ziba’s lie at face value and gave all that belonged to Mephibosheth to him.36 This is understandable considering David’s feelings of having just been betrayed by his own son! In chapter 19 we learn that once Absalom was dead David returned to Jerusalem only to find that Mephibosheth had not washed his clothes or taken care of himself ever since he left the palace. When confronted by David Mephibosheth stated that Ziba lied for he never wanted David’s kingdom and saw his kindness as representative of that one would receive from an angel of God! Considering Ziba’s discrete and generous help before37 David did not punish Ziba for his treachery but reversed his decision, offering Mephibosheth his land back.38 He responded by stating Ziba can have everything, for all he wanted was continued friendship with David. In conclusion let me ask you a serious question: how should we the lame, sinner saved by grace through faith respond to all the blessings we have received? Should we not be like Mephibosheth so in love with our King that merely being in His presence is enough of a reward to serve Him? At the foot of the cross surely those who have been bought at a price can give up their love of this world, deny their own self-interests and fulfill His command to love Him and one another? Our words, thoughts and deeds are only lame to a holy God when they are not accompanied by a broken and contrite heart that thirsts to draw nearer to His presence! While based on our own efforts we cannot become anything more than the “dead dogs” of God’s kingdom, though faith in and making Jesus the lord of our lives those who are created a little lower than the angels can become adopted sons and daughters of God almighty! I want to pose one final question for you to spend time in prayer: is being with and pleasing God your one and only heart’s desire? Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 999. 36 Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 280. 37 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 463. 38 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 470. 35 6|Page
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