Nowhere Man ∙
Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, regularly eating at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both feet. – 2 Samuel 9:13
1 Samuel 20:14-17
14 [Jonathan told David] and may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die,
15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”
16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, “May the LORD destroy all your enemies!”
17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as himself.
Nowhere Man – The Beatles, 1965
He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
The Father is a great and merciful King. Showing kindness is one of the remarkable things that He does. When we show kindness to our bitterest enemies, we are most like Him. When children of the King offer kindness to others, it vanquishes the barricades of hatred and bitterness. It indicates our loyalty to the Father and those who receive it
2 Samuel 9:3-9
3 The king asked, “Is anyone from Saul’s family still alive? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
4 “Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir, son of Ammiel.”
5 So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home.
6 His name was Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”
8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
9 Then, the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.
David and Mephibosheth – the back story
During his life, King Saul considered David, his bitterest enemy. He hunted him for years seeking to kill him. In spite of this, David became close friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. David promised Jonathan his unfailing kindness.
In the Ancient Near East, when a new dynasty came to power, it was typical for it to eliminate all rivals by exterminating the entire extended family of the previous ruler. Mephibosheth was one of Jonathan’s sons.
David evidence his personal prejudice and hatred for people who were lame (2 Samuel 5:6-8). Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth had fallen when he was a child. He became lame in both feet. He could hardly stand. He could barely walk and definitely could not run. Because of his limitations, Mephibosheth referred to himself as a dead dog, i.e., a person of no account (2 Samuel 9:8).
Consequently, to protect himself, he hid in a remote location called, Lo-debar. The Hebrew word debar typically refers to a word or thing. The term lo is the Hebrew word for no. When used as a prefix, lo negates the word that follows it. Thus the term Lo-debar would mean no word, no thing, that is nothing. The town’s name is not complimentary. The name was most likely an apt description of the town. Lo-debar was an insignificant, nothing town. In English, we would say that it was in the middle of nowhere, that is Podunk.
Thus the Hebrew word Lo-debar means nothing, no one, or nowhere.
Hence, Mephibosheth was the first nowhere man, living in a nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
REFLECT & PRAY
Due to human fallen DNA, it is natural to be bitter and hateful. However, the Father has set a high bar and desires children of the King to be gentle and merciful, showing kindness to all who are in need.
Father You are kind and the embodiment of loving-kindness and loyal love. Encourage and strengthen me to be kind and caring as You.
Kindness is a benevolent attitude or action between individuals. Kindness involves loving affection, sympathy, friendliness, patience, pleasantness, gentleness, affability, and goodness. Kindness is a quality shown in the way a person speaks and acts. It is a choice that we make rather than an emotional response.
Kindness is one of the many expressions of grace. Kindness is grace acted out in real-time.
Jonathan requested “unfailing kindness” from David so that he would not be killed (1 Samuel 20:14-15). Jonathan saw his friendship with David in spiritual terms, making the Father the centerpiece of their relationship. The Father provides close and true friendships when we need them the most.
David extended kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. Two magnificent aspects of David’s character are kindness and loyalty. Hebrew has one word that expresses this concept using the term hesed. Hesed connotes loyal love, which is often translated as lovingkindness.
David’s goodness to Mephibosheth was pure grace, entirely unearned by Jonathan’s son. David provided for Mephibosheth’s needs in Jerusalem. Mephibosheth moved from Podunk to the palace. David granted him the right to eat at the king’s table like one of his own sons (2 Samuel 9:1-7). David gave him all of the lands of Saul, his grandfather, and saw to it that they were cultivated.
The example of David showing kindness to Mephibosheth because of his friendship and promise to Jonathan is “the greatest illustration of grace in all the Old Testament” (Swindoll).
Just below the surface of the story of Mephibosheth lurks stunning truth. There are many parallels between Mephibosheth and every child of the King. Mephibosheth had fallen, was deformed as a result of his fall, was hiding in a place of stark bleakness, and was fearful of the king.
Because of the Fall, our hearts are wounded and deformed. We see ourselves as no better than dead dogs and want to hide from the Father who loves us the most.
Our heavenly Father is the complete opposite of Lo-debar. He is somewhere and everywhere. He has made extraordinary, fantastic incredible plans for all children of the King. He shows unfailing and unlimited kindness to each of them.
© Dr. H 2022