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News for Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Bible Studies for Life
April 13: Hope Needed
By Alec Cort
senior pastor, Bethel, Greenbrier

Focal Passage: II Samuel 9:1-13

The cares of this world often rob us of hope. The only way to maintain hope is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 16:33). This truth is personified beautifully in the story of David’s love for Jonathan’s grandson Mephibosheth from II Samuel 9:1-7. Saul was king of Israel before David but when he repeatedly disobeyed God (1 Samuel 15:23) he lost favor and the kingship was given to David. Despite Saul’s envy and repeated attempts to kill David, David loved Saul and developed a close friendship with his son Jonathan. Jonathan helped David stay a step ahead of David’s treachery and the two came to love one another as brothers. When Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle against the Philistines David mourned them both. He promised to always care for the descendants of Jonathan and when he became king he sought them out. Saul’s servant Ziba informed David of Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. When news came to the royal palace that Saul and Jonathan had been killed, Jonathan’s household fled the royal palace in fear of the coming Philistines. Five year old Mephibosheth was accidentally dropped by his nurse in the chaos resulting in permanent injury to both feet. Years later Mephibosheth, now a young adult with a family, was living on Saul’s property and received word that King David wanted to see him.

Have you ever felt like the hammer was going to fall on you because of your past? Struggling through hard times can be devastating to hope. How must Mephibosheth have felt? At age 5 he lost his grandfather, father, home, security, wealth, and ability to walk. When David sent for him he was probably filled with dread because his grandfather had tried to kill David. Did David now want revenge for those past deeds? Humbly he appeared before the king saying, “I am your servant.” David, seeing that he was fearful, restored hope to this young man explaining that his only desire was to show him kindness. Mephibosheth came to understand the king’s favor was a direct result of the friendship David shared with Jonathan. 

Christian allegory abounds here. Mephibosheth felt unworthy of the king’s kindness (vv. 8-13). Physically handicapped, unable to provide for or defend his family, paying for the sins of a mentally ill grandfather, without wealth, status, and legacy … he was without hope. He referred to himself as a “dead dog” when he appeared before David. He was broken. But isn’t that the place we all must come to before hope is restored? When I gave my life to Christ, I felt completely unworthy to receive the free gift of salvation and despite all my sordid past, failures, and shortcomings, Jesus loved me, forgave me, and made a better life for me (John 10:10). He restores hope when we see none. David extended to Mephibosheth the same grace God had given him. In Psalm 40:2 he wrote, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” 

People lack hope. Many cannot overcome their past, infirmities, or unfavorable circumstances. They drown in the mire of regret, hurt, bitterness, and un-forgiveness. Victimization and self pity and casting blame upon others is their coping mechanism. Pessimism blocks hope. My prayer is that they will encounter the King who desires to show them favor. The story of David’s love for Mephibosheth is a beautiful picture of what happens for all who come to Him in humility and repentance. He will bring them to His banquet table; His banner over them will be love (Song of Solomon 2:4), and hope will be restored.

— Cort is senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Greenbrier.


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