August 12, 2008

A Strong Promise Keeper

2 Samuel 9

“Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?”
2 Samuel 9:1


In ancient times a conquering king usually put to death all the heirs of a former king because they were potential rivals for the throne. When David became king in Israel, he seized all the property that had belonged to the previous king, Saul. Then he hunted for any remaining heirs of Saul. He found one, Mephibosheth, a grandson of Saul. But instead of putting Mephibosheth to death, he gave him the property that had belonged to Saul. David gave Mephibosheth servants to work the fields and allowed him to eat at the same table as David himself?a high honor. Besides being a potential rival to David's throne, Mephibosheth had another strike against him: a childhood injury had made him lame. In those days, people with disabilities were considered the lowest of the low. In the eyes of others, David would have seemed weak for treating Mephibosheth with kindness. But in God's eyes David's act of “weakness” showed great strength. David had made a promise to show kindness to Mephibosheth's father, Jonathan, and to his descendants. David kept that promise. This act of faithfulness, along with many others, earned David the title “a man after [God's] own heart” (Acts 13:22) Keeping promises sometimes makes us look weak, but it's not that way in God's kingdom.

Lord, you never fail to keep your promises. Help me to keep mine as well, especially when it hurts and I'd rather show vengeance. Help me to be like you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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