2 Samuel 9:5 (KJV) Then king David sent, and fetched him (Mephibosheth) out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
What does it take to qualify for membership in the Kingdom of God? The world tends to place great emphasis on physical aesthetics. We like to look at muscular men and women with Coke-bottled shapes. Basically, our focus is upon things that pleasing to the eye. However, these things do not guarantee that those people with these physically attractive features qualify for a position of honor within God’s Kingdom.
The same is also true concerning those who have broken down intellectual barriers and have exceeded previous generations within a very short span of time. While we are at it, we should also include those who are financially astute and members of powerful families. None of these things matter to God. If none of these qualify us for a seat at the King’s table, then what does?
Understanding The Text
In the text, the scene has shifted from David’s solidifying his rule in Israel and establishing his government to a moment of reflection (v. 1). One day, while sitting upon his throne, David asks if any of Saul’s house is still alive. At this point, one would wonder if David is thinking of whether there are any additional threats to his kingdom. However, David has other things on his mind.
At this juncture, we must place ourselves into the story alongside David. We remember that David made a covenant promise to Jonathan to always show the same kindness (loyalty) to his progenies he did with Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:14-17; 1 Sam. 23:18; 1 Sam. 24:21-22). Unlike many, David is a man of his word. He intends to honor his friendship with Jonathan by upholding his portion of the covenant promise.
David is introduced to a man named Ziba. Ziba is brought before the king, who asks the question that is on his mind concerning the house of Saul. Ziba informs the king that Jonathan has a son who is alive and living in Lo-debar, whose name is Mephibosheth. There are two interesting things of note within this section of Scripture. One is that David is unaware of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, despite his close friendship with him. The other is what the place wherein Mephibosheth is currently residing truly represents.
The heart of Christ is always compassionate towards those who are ostracized and marginalized in society.
Mephibosheth is not considered an important threat to David because of his physical limitations. He was injured as a child while trying to escape an enemy attack. His nurse carried him and he suffered from a fall which caused him to be lame in his feet and unable to walk. In Old Testament times, this would cause a person to be looked down upon, especially if the person was a male. In other words, it would basically diminish the person’s stature within society.
Lo-debar, on the other hand, is a derivative of the Hebrew word, debar, which means “pasture”. We automatically think of a field of green, lush grassy hillside upon which animals graze for food. However, an additional meaning of the term, debar, means “house”. When we add the prefix, lo, to the term, however, it takes on a whole new meaning. The prefix, lo, means “without”. Therefore, the term, Lo-debar, means “to be without pasture or without a house”. The term takes on new meaning when understood in the sense that it represents something that is solitary and desolate, somewhat similar to a desert. When this is applied to Mephibosheth’s situation, we begin to understand why it is significant to the story.
Mephibosheth has been left without a house because the house of Saul has been eliminated and left almost completely desolate. In addition to this, he was completely disabled physically. This, in contemporary times, would cause a person to be completely isolated and ostracized by members in society. So, his response to being summoned to court by the king is understood clearly.
Mephibosheth knows the stigma of being disabled in his society. As a result, he has lived in a desolate state and feels as though he does not qualify to be the recipient of the king’s kindness and loyalty. However, David insists upon honoring him as he remembers his covenant with Mephibosheth’s father and his loyal friend, Jonathan. Therefore, Mephibosheth is offered a seat at the king’s table for the remainder of his life.
It does not matter what others may think about us, we have been invited to the King’s family and will always have a place at the King’s table.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This important to us because we may often feel as though we are not ‘good enough’ because of something we may have done, experienced, or said in our past. God reminds us that it is nothing within our humanity that could ever qualify us for a permanent seat at the King’s table. However, God also reminds us that He is not like humans. But He is more concerned with the condition of our hearts and not our current status, how much money we have, or how we look on the exterior (1 Sam. 16:7).
If God were to measure our worthiness by what we had to offer, none of us would ever qualify to be seated with Him. But, thank God for His grace and mercy! He qualifies us through the accomplished work of His Son, Jesus Christ, on Calvary’s cross. This provides us with direct access to the King’s courts and guarantees us a seat at His table within His Kingdom. We no longer have to wander around with the weight of Lo-debar (solitary isolation and desolation) upon our shoulders any longer. We no longer have the stigma of being ‘without a house’ because we have been invited to dwell in the house of the King forever.