MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
“And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.”…. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?
2 Samuel 9:3, 6-8 ESV
GOD IS KIND: WHEN WE FEEL SHAME
A man went to visit a friend and was amazed to find him playing chess with his dog. He watched the game in astonishment for a while. “I can hardly believe my eyes!” he exclaimed. “That’s the smartest dog I’ve ever seen.” “Nah, he’s not so smart,” the friend replied. “I’ve beaten him three games out of five.”
Even though most dogs in our culture can’t play chess, many of them have been trained and domesticated. This was not the case in biblical culture. In 2 Samuel 9:8, King David chose to show “kindness” to Mephibosheth prompting Mephibosheth to ask, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” He called himself a dead dog, which was to compare himself to the nastiest, foulest thing he could think of. For a Jew, it was a double slam. To them, a dog was the most repulsive animal imaginable. On top of that, anything dead was vile and unclean. Even his name “Mephibosheth” means “a shameful thing.”
This is Mephibosheth’s résumé. He has lost his family, he’s lost his wealth, he’s lost his position, he’s lost his potential future, he’s crippled, and he’s an enemy of the state. That’s not the best résumé. He has nothing on his résumé sufficient to be at the king’s table. In 2 Samuel 9, Mephibosheth represents all of humanity and our sinful condition apart from God. King David gives us a picture of God and His desire to show us undeserved kindness and mercy. Over and over in this chapter David desires to show God’s kindness.
God is kind. Brené Brown, a professor of research at the University of Houston, makes a critical distinction between shame and guilt: “Guilt is I did something bad. Shame is I am something bad.” Often our sin can make us feel shame. Jesus died on the cross because we are loved. He extends kindness and mercy to any of us who will receive it. Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.” How has God shown you kindness regarding your sin? Are there areas of your life where you carry a sense of shame? Talk to God about those areas and ask Him how He feels about you and those areas.