Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Eating like Mephibosheth

This morning I came to the place in my Bible study in 2nd Samuel where King David says, "Is there anyone left from the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness?" Reading it, you can almost feel the grief so raw from Jonathan's death, though it's been many years, that David can't quite get himself to utter that name without crying. I picture him asking in desperation a question he doesn't expect an answer to. "Is there anyone at all, still living after all these wars, that I could show my love to like I would if Jonathan were still alive?"

A servant says to him, "There is Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, but he's crippled in both feet." As a young child, he was dropped by his nurse, a fall that injured him for life.

"There is someone?" David's heart fills with excitement, "Bring him to me." Mephibosheth at comes at once and bows down to pay homage. I imagine it took quite some effort. I am not crippled, but both my feet always hurt and once I'm down, it's painful to get back up. So I empathize with Mephibosheth. At times pain is downright humiliating. When I want to be smooth and graceful, instead I hobble and limp. My old golden retriever and I move much the same way by the end of the day. At times I feel like a dead dog. That's the expression Mephibosheth used: "What would you want with a dead dog like me?" I deal often with a sense of shame because of my looks and the way I walk. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I use humor to cope at times, but it's a real deep longing to feel like I measure up.

Anyway, back to Mephibosheth: to his great surprise, the crippled son of Jonathan hears these words, "Please, sit at my table. Eat with me." The scripture says he was treated like a king's son. Not like a hired hand, a son! He was eating with the king, not bringing food to the table for the king.

I read on in my Beth Moore book. The name Mephibosheth means "shame destroyer. " God was starting to speak to me as I put the book aside and meditated. Whenever I've pondered this story of grace in the past, I have been overcome by identifying with Mephibosheth and only him. But today, not only did I feel crippled from the fall of sin, I also had trouble picturing myself seated at the table of the Lord. Instead I saw myself carrying food from the kitchen and saying to those seated, "Here you go, this is good stuff. Try some." In my mind I was simply delivering what smelled good and what little I might have sampled in the kitchen, hoping there might be leftovers.

God was saying, "No, you're not a hired servant. You're my daughter. Sit down and eat and enjoy everything I've prepared for you. I don't want you to live your life just giving out bites to other people."

I realized it's been a while since I really feasted at the Lord's table. It's probably why I spend so much effort trying to fill myself with physical food and activities and conversation and hobbies. Sure, I am faithful to read my Bible almost every day , and I certainly get something out of it almost all the time. And I've been offered rich food in the form of great sermons at church, but lately haven't really appreciated it for myself. It's been more like filling service trays to deliver to others at the next "occasion" rather than sitting down with the King Himself for a full course meal. I am praying that God gives me grace to see myself as one who belongs at the table, not just near it waiting for crumbs.


Steve said...

Interesting, I was just reading in 2nd Samuel in my devotions today as well.

By this point, David has already lamented the death of Saul, and has executed Joab (I think) for killing Saul (even though Saul's tried to kill David, David still considered him the Lord's anoinnted). Joab thought he'd gain David's appreciation by destroying his enemy. Instead, David was deeply grieved. Now, soon before this encounter with Mephibosheth, another of David's servants has killed Ish-Bosheth (Saul's son and heir to the throne), also to try to gain favor with David. He thought he'd so do by killing Ish-Bosheth and moving David into kingship. David also has this man executed. So David is grieving the death of Jonathan, Saul (yes, he grived for his greatest enemy) and his son, and hoping desperately to show compassion to someone from Saul's family.

What an example David is. Rather than rejoicing that he no longer has to run in fear of death from Saul, and celebrating the fact that he's gained kingship, David tears his clothes in grief and searches for someone from Saul's family to show favor to. Powerful stuff.

"Wounded and forsaken
I was shattered by the fall
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master’s courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms

I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord

Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed."
-Leeland, Carried to the Table

Laurie Lynn said...

Ummm. Good perspective.
Oh, that Christ prepares us a place and makes us acceptable at the table. And we come as Mephibosheth, (we were sought by God!) to sup with our King and Lord! I love this beautiful, rich, descriptive, humbling picture. What joy for praise and thanksgiving!

"In His blood and in His body,
in this bread and in this wine...peace to you.
Peace of Christ to you."