Probably one of my most favorite guys in the Bible is Mephibosheth. Never heard of him, huh? Well, you’re not alone on this one. Most people don’t know who Mephibosheth is. So I’ll give you the run down on why I think he’s so cool.
First, he’s really lame. And by that I mean actually physically lame; in his feet. That’s the first thing you learn about Mephibosheth. During an evacuation of the royal palace, Mephibosheth, infant son to the prince Jonathan, was tragically left behind in all the distress of the moment. His nurse then rushes back and hastily runs him out of the building and tragically drops the child on the pavement, smashing his legs and feet in the process. And so, every time you see Mephibosheth mentioned in scripture, they always mention, “he was lame in his feet,” or something to that effect.
The second thing that is cool about Mephibosheth is that he was an heir to the throne of a deposed government in exile. His father and grandfather were both killed in battle on the same day, so Mephibosheth had to be hidden away for years by those loyal to his family. Sounds almost romantic somehow, but the truth is that that he ended up in the worst most remote desert town, that was so far out there that even the fleas didn’t have dogs or camels to live on.
So Mephibosheth grows up thinking that everyone is out to get him, because the man who killed his dad and granddad has taken over the whole kingdom. He is brought up to believe that if ever that evil king finds out where he is he’ll come and kill him. Which leads to the next part.
Another thing that makes Mephibosheth cool is that he did better than win the lottery. You see, this evil king was in fact the good King David. And, it turns out that Mephibosheth’s dad, Jonathan, and David were best friends and had made an agreement, called a covenant, in which they both swore to take care of one another and their families.
So imagine you’re Mephibosheth. One day you’re there at the house in the desert, sitting in the shade, and suddenly you hear a massive military escort of chariots ride up to your house. The knock on the door is loud, but professional. The soldiers ask for the Lord Mephibosheth. The servants sheepishly point to the room where you are, trembling in fear. A thousand thoughts go through your mind. “How did they find me here? Someone must have given me up. I wonder who?” The soldier then asks you, “Are you the Lord Mephibosheth, the son of Prince Jonathan, the grandson and heir of King Saul?” You just nod your head and say, “Yes, I am Mephibosheth.” The soldier, looking at you like he doesn’t quite like how you look or smell, says, “ then come with me. King David commands you to appear before him immediately.”
Then things get weird. First of all, the soldier doesn’t tie you up, shackle you or bind you in any way. Then you are led not to a jailer’s wagon but to the lead chariot, the limousine of the day . And was it a trick of the light or a hallucination or were people actually bowing to you as you walked by them? You ride in silence all the way to Jerusalem, until finally you turn up the way to the King’s palace, built of beautiful cedar wood from top to bottom. On your trip you couldn’t help but notice that the city is nothing like it was in the recesses of your memory. People walked along the roads in peace singing songs of praise to God on their way to worship at His city. “This is nothing like the oppression and degradation my folks told me were happening here.”
Finally, you are brought before David himself. Unfortunately, he is busy trying to teach a small group of children how to sing one of the many songs he has written to God. But as he catches a glimpse of you in the corner of his eye he wheels around and immediately stands and comes to attention directly before you. As David stands, all of his advisors and generals stand as well. and so you do what all people do before a great King, you fall to your face on the floor. King David then looks you over for some time, and says, “Mephibosheth, is that you?” You reply, “Your slave is here.” Then David walks over to you and picks you up off of the floor. “Take my hand, Mephibosheth. Do you see this scar on my wrist? It is the memorial mark of covenant between me and your father, Jonathan. I swore to him an oath that I would protect him and his family as long as I live. I have brought you here to fulfill that oath. I have kept your father’s land and money to restore to you today. All that belonged King Saul and your father Jonathan I give to you again. Furthermore, I will have you here at my palace, and you shall eat at my table as one of my sons. Today, you are once again Lord Mephibosheth.” Your response, in shock, is unbelief. You say, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” Then you finally begin to get it. Your Father Jonathan did all the work for you. All you can do to qualify is be his son.
You may have figured this out already, but the last thing I like about Mephibosheth is that, of all the people in the Bible, he is the one guy that I can really relate to. Like me, his head was full of junk thinking about the world around him, and, like me, he was physically and emotionally crippled by his experience of life. Like me, he knew that he had a real purpose to be on this planet, but no idea how that could possibly come about. And like me, all he could do is receive what David came to do for him. All he could do was say, “I am Mephibosheth.”