David Shows Mercy – II Samuel 9

This story of David beautifully depicts God’s character and nature towards us, specifically the grace He shows each of us. Start in II Sam. 4:4, where we get a picture of the chaos that ensued when Saul and Jonathan were both killed by the Philistine army. (That story is told in I Sam. 31). Everyone in the palace fled, fearing for their lives. (When a king was defeated in those days, the result was usually fatal for the rest of the king’s family. The new king would often slaughter every member of the previous king’s family to ensure that no one would rise up to oppose him). Little Mephibosheth was only 5 years old that day. As his nurse was trying to flee with him, she dropped him, probably breaking his ankles or feet. In the chaos, there was no time to properly set the broken bones, so Mephibosheth was crippled for the rest of his life.

This is a great picture of each of us. We are spiritually crippled by sin, unable to do anything about our situation. The Bible calls us “slaves to sin.” 

After David ascended to the throne, he began asking himself if there was anyone left from Saul’s household, not so he could slaughter them, but so he could show kindness to them. (David had previously promised both Saul in I Sam. 24:20, 21 and Jonathan in I Sam. 20:14, 15 that he would show kindness to their family). An old servant tells David that the only one left is Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. David finds Mephibosheth and brings him to the palace. Of course, Mephibosheth is terrified, knowing the custom of the day. But, David assures him that his only purpose is to show him kindness. Just sparing Mephibosheth’s life would have been kindness enough, but David goes above and beyond. He gives to Mephibosheth all of his grandfather’s land, so he would have a way to make money. He provides a workforce of about 35 people to work the land, knowing that Mephibosheth couldn’t do the work himself. And, on top of that, David invites Mephibosheth to eat at his table every day, basically treating Mephibosheth as one of his own sons. How did Mephibosheth respond? He said, “Yes,” of course! David gained nothing from this act; in fact, you could argue that David lost land and food and other expenses. David gave sacrificially to bless Mephibosheth.

This mirrors what God does for us. He comes looking for each of us to show us kindness, kindness we don’t deserve. Through Jesus, He rescues us from our bondage to sin and provides for us by offering us the opportunity to become part of His family. But each of us must respond to this offer. Have you ever told Jesus, “Yes, I accept your incredible gift. Thank you for looking for me and finding me”? 

God’s offer comes at incredible personal expense; it cost Him His Son. What a kindness! What a Savior! How great is our God! How shall we respond to this incredible gift? I can think of at least 2 responses. 1 – Say yes to God and accept His gift of kindness and love. It’s the most important decision you will make in your life. 2 – Show kindness to others for Jesus’ sake. Jesus tells us that “whatever you have done for the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did for Me” – Matt. 25:40. 

Activity – Make Kindness Coupons – brainstorm with kids things they can do to show kindness to people in their lives: Mom, Dad, grandparents, siblings, friends, neighbors. Here are some ideas. These should be things that are extra, not their regular chores. Challenge them to give out these coupons this week just to show people Jesus’ love. This coupon is good for:

  • Emptying the dishwasher
  • Setting the table
  • Cleaning the garage
  • Sweeping the porch
  • Sharing my favorite toy
  • Letting you choose what we watch on TV
  • Making brownies for you
  • Feeding the dog
  • Weeding the garden

As kids work, discuss how belonging to Jesus fills our hearts with kindness and love for people that we may not normally feel for. It’s easy to love people who are nice to us but much harder to show love to people who can’t do anything for us and who are downright “unlovely.” When we belong to Jesus, He can fill our hearts with love for even people who are hard to love because He loves everyone.

Additional questions:

What did you like about this story? What didn’t you like?

What did you learn about God/Jesus?

  • God loves to bless people by giving to us lavishly. He gives us more than we expect and He gives us what we could never earn.
  • God comes searching for us so that He can bless us.
  • Jesus died for our sins, so when we trust Him, we don’t have to be afraid of God.
  • God wants to live near us.
  • When we trust in Jesus, God begins treating us like one of His children.

What did you learn about people?

  • People are slaves to sin; it’s like we’re crippled and can’t help ourselves at all.
  • People are loved by God even though we’re horribly sinful.
  • People have been offered an incredible gift by God; trust Jesus to pay for your sins and God will exchange your sins for Jesus’ goodness. Then, you will be part of God’s family forever.
  • People can show their love for God by extending kindness to others.

What did you learn about yourself?

  • I want to sit at God’s table every day and get fed by Him.
  • I want to show others the same kindness God showed me.