The Kindness of God
Earlier this week I blogged about kindness and tried to define it so we could understand it in the light of God’s Word. In this post I want to give an example of God’s kindness from the life of David.
David is king in Israel at this point. The previous king, Saul, has been defeated in battle. He has been killed and his corpse has been nailed to the wall in Beth Shan, along with the corpse of his son, Jonathan. The dynasty of Saul died nasty. It was a tragic event; it was a black eye in the life of Israel.
The story I’m sharing only makes sense when we have to understand the special relationship between David and Jonathan. At least three different times the Scripture says that Jonathan loved David as his own soul—Jonathan loved David like David was his own being. We know from reading the Scripture that Jonathan saved David’s life from his own murderous father, Saul. Jonathan went that far out on the limb to save the life of his beloved friend. That was the depth of their relationship.
In 1 Samuel 20:14–16 Jonathan realizing that he won’t be king, and that his friend David will be king, makes a covenant with David. He asks that David be kind to him and his family. This was important. In those times leadership of a country didn’t pass peaceably. The former dynasty was generally killed or completely exiled. The new leader left nobody around to turn the tables and regain the throne.
In 2 Samuel 9:1–13 we see not simply the integrity of David in keeping this covenant with his friend; we are given a glimpse of godly kindness. In these verses, Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth is brought to David as a result of David’s request to find any heirs of his friend Jonathan (and keep the covenant). At one level we see King David, powerful and famous. And, we see Mephibosheth, as Jonathan’s son, hiding in exile, in horrific circumstances, and fearful.
On another level, we see King David as a type of God the Father and Mephibosheth as a type of lost, lame, broken and nearly dead humanity. I want you to know that we’re looking at one of the most beautiful Old Testament pictures of the kindness, grace and love of God and what those characteristics can do when someone will simply, in humility, receive it.
I think there are at least three incredible truths we can learn from this Scripture.
There is a King who is actively seeking and inviting humanity to experience his kindness. Not only in this story, but also in the life of Jesus we find an unending invitation to people, in God’s name, to experience the kindness God wanted to give them. Matthew 11:28 and Revelation 22:17 show us that the New Testament begins and ends with an invitation for all of us to receive God’s kindness.
God’s kindness is available to everyone. Mephibosheth represents every poor, maimed, lame, blind, sick, sinful, weary, scattered, wandering, lost, dead dog, person in all of humanity. And, he lives in a barren pasture. God’s kindness is for those like Mephibosheth who was injured while fearfully running from a king who already made a covenant to let them live in freedom and blessing.
God’s kindness restores relationship with the king (Romans 5:8–10), provides a rich inheritance (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:4), and covers our lameness (Psalm 56:13; Psalm 116:8). Mephibosheth was restored, rich in blessing and his lameness was covered by a king who loved him so much he gave him the favored seat at His table.
Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Do you shy away from God in fear that He’s not good, patient and kind? Like Mephibosheth you need to receive His kindness, be restored and see the rich blessing of Him in your life.