A Seat at the Table (2009 Remix)

Undoubtedly his father had great hopes for him. Like father like son, he envisioned him to be a great man of God. As was the norm, dad named him in accordance with that aspiration; he would be called “Exterminator of Idols” or “Dispeller of Shame.” His name was built around a verb, thus he would be a man of action, a godly man of action. Just as his father had bravely withstood the Philistines and repelled their aggression and their gods, so too, the boy would stand fast and stand firm for the things of God. A mighty warrior. A “dispeller of shame.”

But how things change. That day was absolute chaos. The boy’s father and his grandfather had gone up to battle against the Philistines and both were killed on the battlefield. The army of Israel falling like flies, the enemy advancing, it was time for the people to flee. The boy, now five years old, was taken up by his nanny and she ran for their lives. But as she ran, she tripped. The boy flew out of her arms, crashing to the ground and severely injuring both feet (2Sam. 4:4). There was no treating the broken bones. No setting them back in place so that they would heal properly. The damage was done, and it would be permanent. The boy destined for action was now a cripple — lame in both feet (2Sam. 9:13). Once the grandson of a mighty king of Israel, once the hope of his father’s legacy, now not only an orphan within a dethroned royalty, but also unable to walk. Unable to care for himself much less be a “dispeller of shame.” In fact, his was life was destined to be marked by shame.

The boy’s name? Mephibosheth.

Years later the boy is now a young man. A crippled young man. And a new king enters into the young man’s life. A king determined to show kindness to the man, the kindness of God (2Sam. 9:3). Not that the the young man deserved it. Not that he could repay anyone for any kindness shown him, but it was kindness to be shown for the sake of another (2Sam. 9:1). The young man wasn’t aware that he had a benefactor. He wasn’t out seeking him. Instead, the king sent for the young man (2Sam 9:5). When he arrived, he did what men should do before a king, he bowed and prostrated himself (2Sam. 9:6). With fear and trembling he bowed before this king, the same king whom his grandfather had hated and had sought to kill. The king who had the power to destroy this last descendant of Saul who could contest the throne. Yet, the king at whose feet he lay was also the one his father had loved with a love which was “wonderful, surpassing the love of women” (2Sam. 1:26).

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “since I intend to show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul’s fields, and you will always eat meals at my table.”

(2Samuel 9:7 CSB)

Oh, what marvelous grace! God’s kindness shown through the king. Kindness not shown because of his worthiness but for the sake of another. The land as an inheritance, great wealth given to one unable to earn even a day’s wage. But beyond the wealth, a place at the king’s table. Four times that fact is mentioned in the account. The man lame in both feet would have that shame covered as those feet were placed by another under the king’s table. He would sit at the place of honor. He would eat at the table “just like one of the king’s sons” (2Sam. 9:11). Not just a single seating at this place of honor, not only when he found favor in the king’s sight, but this was to be his place continually. Always. This was the love-fueled will and the sovereign decree of the king once and for all. What restoration! What exaltation! What amazing grace!

And every time I encounter this amazing story of amazing grace, I can’t help but see in that man with the crippled feet, this man sitting in this chair. I can’t help but identify with this one who was once of an enemy lineage opposed to the King. I can’t help but envision myself facedown before the mighty King only to hear, “Do not fear, I am going to show you God’s kindness. Not because You deserve it, but for the sake of another. For the sake of One who purchased your freedom — and I am that One. I will bless you with spiritual wealth beyond your understanding, every blessing in heavenly places will be deposited to your account. But beyond that, I have reserved a place for you at My table. As a son and heir, you will have full rights to dine at the table. Your defects will be covered. Your lame feet hidden. As far as the east is from the west, it will be remembered no more. For in My sight and in My presence, you are whole, and you are wholly accepted.”

“. . . and you will always eat meals at My table.”

I can’t help but marvel afresh that I have a seat at the table!

Only by His grace.

Only for His glory.

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