Dear downhearted,

What is making you want to flee or fight today? Maybe regime change, debilitating illness, home eviction, or dying family is no longer a looming threat but your reality as we close 2020.

Mephibosheth feared and endured similar troubles. For him, regime change included the death of his grandfather, King Saul, and father, Jonathan (2 Sam 1:17). At five, he was crippled for life in a fall (2 Sam 4:4). To avoid the new regime, he fled far from home (2 Sam 9:4). 

Yet before Mephibosheth’s birth, David had lovingly promised his friend Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father, to do good to his offspring (1 Sam 20:42). When he became King of Israel, David sought to find one of Jonathan’s family to whom he “may show the kindness of God” (2 Sam 9:3). 

Ziba, Saul’s servant, told King David of crippled Mephibosheth (9:4). David had him brought from afar to his palace in Jerusalem. Mephibosheth knew he was “a dead dog” before his grandfather’s sworn enemy (9:8). 

David’s first words to him were “Mephibosheth! … Do not fear…” (9:6-7). Instead of execution, David declared that Mephibosheth would eat at his own table always, “like one of the king’s sons” (9:11).

Fearful one, like Mephibosheth, you also were dead in sin before the righteous King of kings (Eph 2:3). Yet a promise between God the Father and King Jesus “to show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us” in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is your certain hope of eternal deliverance from the most dreadful thing: separation from God (Eph 2:7, 2 Thess 1:9). 

If you are a Christian, consider the kindness of God in transferring you from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col 1:13). In Christ, “you have not been give a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have been given the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” amidst all the tribulations endured in this enemy territory (Rom 8:13).

Like you, Mephibosheth’s troubles didn’t end even after years of fellowshipping with the king. One of David’s sons usurped the throne, and Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, saw an opportunity to consolidate power by betraying his master (2 Sam 15-16:4). Nevertheless, Mephibosheth remained loyal to David in steadfast love by grieving as he awaited the return of his king. 

When David safely returned to Jerusalem, he questioned this son of a promise saying, “Why did you not come with me?” (19:25). With an unkempt beard, unwashed clothes, and ungroomed feet, Mephibosheth’s obvious mourning confirmed his response: Ziba had betrayed him (19:24). Nevertheless, he entrusted himself to David saying, “Do therefore what seems good to you” (19:27). 

David granted Mephibosheth and his betrayer each half of the possessions Ziba had craved in their entirety. In response, Mephibosheth attested to his deepest fear and truest love by responding, Oh, let [Ziba] take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home” (19:30).

Fear exposes what we love perhaps more pointedly than any other emotion (Groves & Smith, Untangling Emotions). Years of dwelling in the king’s presence had formed Mephibosheth’s heart to love the king who had shown him the kindness of God more than he feared losing power, provision, or pride. 

May your love for God abound more and more that you may increasingly not fear the loss of any earthly thing, even your very life (Phi 1:9). May you thus bear “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” until the day of the safe return of our True King, Jesus (Phi 1:10).

With certain hope of his safe return,

A Member of Citylight