A Graphic Picture of Saving Grace

David T. Dye

    And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son which is lame on his feet, and the king said unto him where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then King David sent and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. (II Samuel 9:3-5)

    The ninth chapter of II Samuel gives us a very graphic picture of how God saves sinners.

    Mephibosheth, the man to whom King David would show the kindness of God, was the grandson of Saul, former king of Israel, who was succeeded by King David. On several occasions, because of jealousy, Saul had tried to kill David, who in spite of this remained Saul's loyal subject. David, by nature, could have hated Saul and all of his relatives. Now that he is king of Israel he could have been a despot and destroyed all of Saul's living family members, but he did not kill them.

    David, as monarch over Israel, suggests to us God upon His throne in heaven; David showing
kindness to the family of his archenemy, foreshadowed God's dealing in grace with sinners.

    The name of this one whom David befriended is Mephibosheth. The name means "a shameful
thing". The place where he lived was called "Lodebar" which means "the place of no pasture".
He was a "cripple"-lame on both feet. He became a cripple through a fall early in his life. He was
a fugitive from David, when news reached the survivors of his family that Saul and his sons had
been killed in battle and that David had ascended the throne. Mephibosheth's nurse took him in her
arms and fled, and as she ran, she dropped this five year old boy and apparently broke both of his
feet. He remained a cripple the rest of his life.

    It is obvious to me that we have here much more than a historical account pertaining to a single
individual. What we have here is a typical picture, having a universal application. Man was
not originally created in the condition he is now in. Man was far from being lame in both feet when
God proclaimed him "very good" (Gen. 1:31). Every faculty of man's soul has become spiritually
crippled as the result of our fall in Adam. In consequence of that fall in the garden, "they that are
in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8).

    Let us now look more closely at this one to whom David showed "the kindness of God." His name "Mephibosheth" signifies "a shameful thing." This is a very accurate description of every man born of woman, Christ excepted. "We are all as an unclean thing" (Isa. 64:6). We, according to God's Word, are polluted by sin. We are by birth (Ps. 55:1) and practice (Rom. 3:12) thoroughly
depraved and corrupt. Our understanding is darkened (Eph. 4:18) so that we cannot see (John
3:3), grasp (Rom. 3:11), or accept spiritual truth (I Cor. 2:14). Our will is opposed to God (Rom.
8:7), our hearts are desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9), our consciences are seared (I Tim. 4:2), our
strength is spent in the service of Satan (John 8:41-45), and, in the sight of the holy God, our very
righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Every member of the human race is truly a
"Mephibosheth", a shameful thing, a wretched sinner, by birth and choice.

    Next, notice that Mephibosheth was a cripple. He was lame on both feet. This is a vivid picture of those who are out of Christ. The unsaved person is not able to walk in the path of God's
commandments, nor tread the narrow way which leads to eternal life. They are spiritually crippled,
without strength, unable, and unwilling to meet God's requirements. They will not come to Christ
until they are made willing in the day of God's power.

    Mark also that Mephibosheth became a cripple through a fall; his nurse dropped him as she fled in fear of David. Man was made a perfect being, but through his disobedience to God fell, and all the faculties of his soul have become spiritually corrupted. His mind is depraved, his heart is deceitful, he has a lying tongue and a perverted will, and he hates the God of glory. All of his affections are warped so that he loves what he should hate and hates what he ought to love.

    But observe also where Mephibosheth lived. He made his home in Lodebar which means the
place of no pasture. How aptly this portrays this world in which we live-the world which is away
from God, which lies in the lap of the wicked one. It is a world which provides no food for the soul.
It is a great howling wilderness so far as spiritual provisions are concerned. Lodebar is written
across all the varied fields of this world.

    The masses of people are seeking something to fill that void in the heart which God should occupy. They seek satisfaction in sports, sex, drugs, fame, making money and an endless round of pleasure, but soul satisfaction is not found in such things; things which perish with the using of them.

    Consider last of all, the provision David made for Mephibosheth. Here was this poor creature belonging to a family that was in rebellion against David, lame in booth feet, and living in a place of no pastures. And here was the king upon his throne who planned to show him kindness for the sake of another. What did the king do? He sent, as our text tells us, and fetched him. This shadows forth the invincible and efficacious work of the Holy Spirit in those whom God brings to repentance and faith in Christ.

    If God had done nothing more than give His Son to die for sinners and then sent forth His servants with the gospel invitation alone, none would ever be saved. However, when we preach Christ, God the Holy Spirit calls sinners by His omnipotent power to Christ in faith and repentance. Men are dead in sin and will not come to Christ. There are none who by their own power and will alone, will seek God. Therefore, God sends His Holy Spirit with all power to fetch sinners into Himself, and He never fails to save His people; He makes them willing in the day of His power.