Monday, July 11, 2011

A Place At The Table

This was originally posted on June 6th of 2010 on Facebook.

I have a word in my heart since this morning that I just have to get out. Pastor Chuck was spoke of being a son and a daughter in the eleven o'clock service. As he taught from Mark 5:25-34, I thought about Mephibosheth. For those of you who are not familiar with Mephibosheth and his story, below are the scriptures pertaining to his life.

2 Samuel 4:4
(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

2 Samuel 9:1
[ David and Mephibosheth ] David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

2 Samuel 9:6
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, "Mephibosheth!" "Your servant," he replied.

2 Samuel 9:8
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

2 Samuel 9:10
You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table." (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

2 Samuel 9:11
Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons.

2 Samuel 9:12
Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth.

2 Samuel 9:13
And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet.

I'm going to be very transparent here as I explain why I thought about Mephibosheth as Pastor Chuck spoke this morning. Back in 2005, the ladies bible study read a book called "A Heart Like His." It was Beth Moore's study of David, and how he was called " a man after God's own heart." I'm sure many of you are aware of David's story, how he was a shepherd, killed a lion and a bear, slayed Goliath, angered King Saul, and then became king himself. David was indeed a man after God's own heart, but he was nowhere near perfect. That's not what I'm going to share today. I'm going to do a brief recap of the events leading to Mephibosheth and his story.

King Saul became jealous of David because of a song people sang, stating, "Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands." You can clearly see why Saul became angry and envious of David. He was threatened by David. David ran and hid for a while. He even had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he did not want to touch the Lord's anointed. Saul may not have been aligned with God, but he was still God's anointed. If this wasn't complicated enough, David had limited contact with his best friend, because his best friend happened to be Saul's son, Jonathan. To make a long story short, Saul and Jonathan both died. Jonathan had a son, Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth was mentioned in 2nd Samuel 4:4 and then not mentioned again until 2 Samuel 9:1. This tells me some time had passed before David had requested information on those who remained from the house of Saul. Mephibosheth is first mentioned when he was five. It doesn't tell his exact age when King David asked for him. (I'm sure someone could research further and deeper and find that answer or an estimated age, but that's not really the point, is it?) But some time had passed. Mephibosheth was old enough to know his station, his class as a servant. He said to David, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" This tells me Mephibosheth had low self esteem to consider himself a dead dog that should have gone unnoticed. David didn't see him as such. I imagine David was thrilled to have found the very son of his best friend, to have that piece of Jonathan left, and the bible says he had asked for any from the house of Saul to show kindness to for Jonathan's sake. And it says that David gave Mephibosheth an entire household of fifteen sons and twenty servants, and a place at the table for the rest of his life. He even had to move to Jerusalem because he always ate at the king's table. It doesn't get any better than that.

As Pastor Chuck preached on the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years, (Mark 5:25-34), and how she spent all of her money on doctors, but became sicker. This woman got word that Jesus was going to pass through the area where she lived, and she had enough faith to believe and tell herself if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she shall be whole. She pushed through the crowds, weak and worn, but determined. She could have been in legal trouble, because women who were menstruating back in biblical days were considered unclean and were to be isolated until that time was over. (Sorry for the TMI but that part does matter.) She didn't let her body's condition or the fact that she could in serious legal trouble stop her from making her way to Jesus. She pressed through the crowd, and finally reached out and touched the hem of his garment. Immediately, healing virtue flowed out of him and into her, and she was healed. Here was this large crowd, and Jesus actually felt healing virtue flow from him, so he turned around and asked his disciples if they knew who touched him. Of course, the disciples act like they can't believe Jesus had the audacity to ask who touched him when he was surrounded by people on all sides. The woman confessed that it was her. And this is the part that gets me. Jesus said, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." (Mark 5:34) As Pastor said that very line this morning, Mephibosheth was the first thing that came to my mind.

I feel very much like Mephibosheth. Let's look at the first scripture. You'll get this in a minute. At five years old, Mephibosheth lost his father. He also lost his grandfather, and the scripture says nothing of his mother, which means he may have been an orphan. I feel so much like an orphan sometimes, abandoned. I'm not a true orphan because I have a wonderful mother who is still alive and well. Even though my friends think she's a legend, she's very much real. I have a hard time seeing God as my heavenly father because of the actions of my earthly father. I feel guilty because in a sense, I've made God pay for my earthly father's mistakes at times. I don't know how to be a daughter. I know how to be a wife, a sister, a friend, a servant, a leader, but not a daughter.

Mephibosheth was injured to the point where he became crippled. The world, actions of others, divorce, church hurts, illness, all of those things left me crippled or injured in some way or another. These hurts have affected me, even into my adult life.

The second scripture we looked at says that David asked if anyone was left from the house of Saul he could show kindness to for Jonathan's sake. Someone pursued me. Someone asked about me. Somebody prayed for my soul. Someone set the building of a church in motion for the kingdom, knowing people needed Jesus, and one of those people was me. Someone knew that I would step into this amazing church during Judgment House and give my life to Him all over again despite the fact that I had absolutely no hope of a relationship with Jesus ever again.

David found Mephisbosheth, who bowed down to him and asked, "Why would you notice a dead dog like me?" When Mephibosheth referred to himself as a dead dog, it had a pretty horrible meaning behind it. In biblical times, dogs were considered the lowest of all creatures, scavengers if you will.

Mephibosheth's life couldn't have been easy, being crippled physically, and depending on others for help. The scripture makes that clear. The scripture doesn't mention the other problems that Mephibosheth must have faced throughout his life, the hurts that were not physical. I couldn't even look at the man who played the role of Jesus in Judgment House. I felt unloved, unwanted, abandoned. I believed Jesus wanted nothing to do with me after a church hurt. Mephibosheth must have wondered what a king would want with a handicapped servant from the house of his enemy, the same way I wonder what God would want with someone like me who was afraid to get close to Him, someone like me who can enter a covenant and decide I'm calling the shots, someone like me who has OCD and strange fears and quirks, someone like me who has been divorced. I'm just being transparent.

I want what the bible goes on to say. David gave Mephisbosheth a household, servants, and a place at the table. I want to be called a daughter, and I want a place at the king's table. I want to touch the hem of his garment. I want to know what that feels like...

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