"The Invitation" by Morgan Weistling
The story of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth (Jonathan’s last living son) in 2 Samuel 9 is a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Mephibosheth, lame in both feet and trembling in fear, prostrated himself before the king and asked, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (v. 8).
Under the monarch’s rule in the ancient near east, a deposed ruler’s children and descendants were generally annihilated by the reigning king in order to prevent a future insurrection. David, however, because of his covenant with Jonathan, (in 1 Samuel 20), sought to show “kindness” to remaining members of his immediate household. As the orphaned cripple trembled before him, uncertain of his fate, David had said, “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
This “kindness”, alternately translated “loving-kindness”, “mercy”, and “love” is the Hebrew word “chesed”, translated “agape” in Greek, and it carries the image of covenantal goodness and a commitment to give grace for another’s sake. More than just sparing his life, King David had the orphan cripple seated at his own table for all of his meals henceforth. The king had him brought forth from Lo-Debar (lit. “wasteland”), where he was no doubt in hiding for his life. Mephibosheth lived out the rest of his life in the king’s palace, enjoying a son’s fellowship and access to him. What a privilege!
To sit at the king’s table was no small thing. Even today, to be personally seated near a monarch or president speaks of honor, privilege and distinction. God Himself, Lord over all monarchs, repeatedly bids us to come to His table throughout Scripture. The table of the King represents:
1) Freedom (from brokenness). Like the lame exile of 2 Samuel, we cannot presume to hobble up to our Sovereign Ruler on our own strength. Judicially, we would have every reason to tremble in fear, but He has offered us relationship and intimacy even the angels cannot know. Why? Because He is gracious.
2) Family (becoming a child of the King). Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we are fully accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6) and made co-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). No longer an angry Judge (as He is to unbelievers), God is now our loving Father and we are encouraged to approach Him with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Our relationship to Him as sons and daughters is eternal and irrevocable.
3) Fellowship. We are not alone anymore! Part of the joy of the King’s table, as at Thanksgiving or any other celebratory meal, is the presence of others and the joy that comes from relationship with them. When all is not joy and leisure, fellowship with other members of the Body of Christ means being held up at times. More than likely, Mephibosheth had to be carried to King David’s table each day. In fact, he probably had to be carried into the king’s presence when David first sent for him. It’s okay if you need to be helped or even carried in to the King’s table. The important thing is that you are there!
4) Food (being fed and satisfied). Scriptural mention of food speaks of abundance; a dearth of God’s Word (as during the 400-year inter-Testamental period) is described as a “famine”. God’s food is His Word. He wants to satisfy us, regularly and completely, so that we will not hunger or thirst again (John 4:12-14). His Word truly is the bread of life, “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17).
So what are some reasons we are not there at the Lord’s “table” regularly, if, in fact, we have been invited?
1) Are you crippled by who you are? Perhaps you don’t think you are “good enough”, and shrink away from the King’s invitation. Oh, you may have trusted Him for salvation, but you shy away from the intimate, ongoing communion that is so necessary to a dynamic relationship with Christ. Well, the truth is – YOU’RE NOT “good enough” – but because He is, you are freely accepted and totally loved. Don’t be “crippled” by some secret, shameful sin or what is in your past that makes you wonder “how could he love me?” The King doesn’t see you as a “dead dog”, but He delights in pouring out His grace and mercy on you for His own sake. It matters not who you are; but only Whose you are.
2) Maybe you’re still in Lo-Debar. Are you still in the barren place, hiding from God? Or have you, like the Prodigal Son of Luke 15, heard His voice and even dwelt in His household, but have run off to the “wasteland” far from the King and His people? He calls you to Jerusalem – and His table.
3) “Well, Lord, I’ve been busy…” Like the ruler’s subjects of Luke 14, we have all sorts of excuses to keep us from fellowship with God. We don’t know what we’re missing! The blessing God wants to give you only comes if we’re there at His table – and there regularly. Often, we find we are not lingering at the King’s Table because we’re simply not feeling hungry. And why might that be?
Because we’re eating junk. If my kids fill up on Cheese Puffs and cookies an hour before dinner, I cannot expect them to have much of an appetite. The same thing applies spiritually – if we’re filled with something else – eating food that’s not the Word of God – we will be less likely to come eagerly to the table of the Lord when He calls. How much time do you spend watching TV that is not edifying? Facebook? Blogs (even Christian ones) that do not pass the Philippians 4:8* test? Do you go down rabbit trails in your spiritual road, engaging in debate simply for debate’s sake? All of these endeavors (some of which I have indulged at various times) are “spiritual junk food”.
4) Maybe, like Ziba, you’re just serving the wrong master. Have you been born again? Jesus bids all to come to Him, that they may have eternal life (John 5:40).
Like Mephibosheth, choose to eat at the table of the Lord regularly. It is the only way to cultivate intimacy with the Lord, learn what He requires and be changed by Him inwardly in order to obey, and to enjoy true fellowship with our spiritual siblings.
*"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8).
6 years ago