There’s this story I was reading the other day in 2 Samuel. I really didn’t follow any of it because the whole time I was distracted, trying to figure out how to pronounce the name of the main Character. The story is about a man named Mephibosheth, which literal translation means son of shame. But that wasn’t always his name, he used to be called Mirab Baal, “opponent of Baal”, which, in my opinion sounds a whole lot better than son of shame, but we’ll get to that.
Like I said, the story didn’t really resonate with me, but then I heard a song by John Mark McMillian, called Carbon Ribs, and it all made sense. Mephibosheth is a descendant of king Saul, but there is an evil king who wanted to rid the land of Saul’s descendants. The king killed all of the family except for Mephibosheth, who was just a small child. Since his family was gone, Mephibosheth was taken car of by an unnamed nanny, let’s call her Kate.
When Kate found out that someone was going to come after Mephibosheth, she picked him up and started running. Unfortunately, she tripped on a rut and they both took a terrible fall. Kate sprained her ankle, but Mephibosheth lost the use of both of his legs. They made it out of town, but Mephibosheth was permanently crippled, and that was really bad news in an age where physical labor was the only way to make money.
There was also a good guy in town, King David, and this is a story of redemption given by him, and you need to hear it. I’m going to write this in first person, from Mephibosheth’s point of view.
Most days It was hard to care about anything. It wasn’t even my fault that I’m like this, but there’s nothing I could do about it. I was never mad or upset; I really didn’t have any anger left in me. Honestly, I didn’t even feel sad; I guess I just didn’t feel much of anything.
People stopped coming to visit me about three years after it happened. Kate stopped taking care of me a a few years later. Then, I just had to order these strange servants around to tend the land, but they didn’t respect me at all. Who would respect a cripple with no promise?
I guess I did have this one friend, Charlie, he came to my house about once a week to play checkers. I really loved his visits, even if they were out of pity. But that’s all the sad part of the story, you’re reading this for the mushy feel-good part, so let’s get to it.
One day there was a knock at my door, I figured it was just Charlie stopping in for a game, so I hollered from my bed for him to come in. To my shock, it was Kate, and she was frantic.
“Mephibosheth! The King wants to see you?”
“What king? Kate, what are you saying? I haven’t seen you in years and you just barge in?”
“The king, Mephibosheth. King David, he is asking for you!”
My mind was flooded with questions. I couldn’t think of anything I had done wrong, or any reason the king would want to kill me, besides me being worthless to the kingdom. I asked Kate how they expected me to get up to the palace, and in they rolled a beautiful chariot.
“Mephibosheth,” spoke a servant clad in gold, “King David requests your presence.” Then, they came in and carried me to the chariot and drove me through the kingdom up to the palace of King David.
When I reached his gates, he stood and greeted me at the door. I climbed out of the chariot and bowed down low to the ground.
“Your majesty, to you be honor and glory forever.” But the king came closer and kneeled down next to me.
In a loving voice, he looked me in the eyes and said, “No, Mephibosheth, to you be honor and glory forever. I want to bless you as my own son, and you will eat at my table.”
A single tear dripped from my face to the palace floor. “But king, how could you speak such kind words to me, who is worth less than a dead dog.”
“This is a lie you have been told, Mephibosheth. You are the lineage of a great ruler, and because of him, I want to hold you of highest esteem.”
After he said that, I turned into a complete mess. Tears of joy were pouring down my face as the king and a servant lifted me and carried me to the king’s table to recline. Ever since, I have lived here in the palace with the king. He has servants work my land and provides for my every need. I could not imagine living a better life, nor could I be any more grateful.
If you didn’t catch it, I’ll share my thoughts on why that story brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes, as humans, we fall. It usually isn’t even our fault, but it all stems from the fall of mankind in the garden. Regardless, we are left broken and in despair. I find myself in that place often, feeling worthless and without meaning.
But there is a king so wonderful, that cares so much about you, and he wants you to eat at his table. This is the kicker – Mephibosheth was saved, not by his own ability, but BECAUSE OF WHO HIS FATHER WAS.
By his own power, Mephibosheth would not have been able to lead a life worth living, he was too broken. But, because of who his father was, he was lifted up to the palace, to eat with the king.
Can I get an AMEN?
Creds // 2 samuel 9, John Mark McMillian – Carbon Ribs (give it a listen)