In Light of the King


I think King David is such a kooky character. By that I mean he’ll do something so admirable one minute, and something I totally disagree with the next. Case in point:

In 2 Sam.9 we read about how David takes Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, and basically adopts him. David gives him everything that belonged to Saul as well as a permanent spot at his dinner table along with his other sons.

Fast forward a few years and David is on the run from his son Absalom. While he’s leaving his kingdom, Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, tells David that Mephibosheth has joined Absalom. In light of this act of betrayal, David gives Ziba all of Mephibosheth’s possessions.

The Bible keeps us in suspense until Absalom and his army are defeated and David returns. He is met by Mephibosheth, who tells him that Ziba lied. In fact, Mephibosheth hasn’t shaved or washed since David left and is beyond overjoyed to have the king home again.

So here’s the kooky bit: David’s response to this news is to say, “You and Ziba divide the land.”

This would have flat out ticked me off. “Sorry, your Majesty, perhaps you didn’t understand me. Ziba betrayed me, lied about me, and stole all I own. I think what you meant to say was ‘To the dungeon with him!’ not ‘Reward his betrayal by giving him half your stuff.’ I mean, what’s up with that?!”

I don’t know why David did this. Some speculate that he was testing Mephibosheth’s heart. I’m sure he had his reasons. But what I really is love Mephibosheth’s response:

‘Then Mephibosheth said to the king, “Rather, let him take it all, inasmuch as my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house.”’

2 Sam.19:30

There are two things that hit me about this.

First, when someone wrongs us, our first inclination is typically to seek justice. Some of us have kept quarrels alive for years, trying to get a little of our own back. Right is right, we’ll say as we try to justify our actions and prove that we were wronged.

But that’s not what happens here. Here, the focus isn’t on settling the score, the focus is on the king. Rather than pursuing a quarrel, Mephibosheth readily forgives Ziba, testifying to the fact that the king’s return is the only thing that matters to him.

This one hits me right between the eyes. I’ve always had trouble letting go if grudges. I want my vindication and I want it right away. But how much does getting even really matter in the presence of the King?

Second, Mephibosheth also makes it abundantly clear that he is loyal to David because he loves him as his king and adopted father, not because David gave him Saul’s land. He loves the giver, not the gift.

I tend to turn my gifts into idols. In fact, there are some gifts God’s given me that, should He take them back, I would miss enough to be angry with Him. Actually, this happens to me all the time.

When things don’t go according to plan, or when unexpected expenses arise, basically, when my comfortable world is rocked at all, I grumble and complain. I’m more attached to my gifts than I am to the Giver. And I spend far too much of my free time trying to protect what I have or amass more.

I love what the name Mephibosheth means: ‘exterminator of idols.’ How appropriate. The man who gave him everything takes it away and his response is to love him even more. His heart wasn’t in the things of this world, it was in serving the king.

I want to surrender the idols in my life, and I want to give up on petty disputes that mean nothing when compared to all that God has forgiven me.

In light of the King, nothing else matters. It’s all about Him.


About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

18 responses to “In Light of the King

  • Denine Taylor

    love this!

  • writefury

    cool study! and, just have to say, WOW. That is an amazing picture

  • Susan Irene Fox

    What a great lesson: to be thankful for the Giver instead of the gifts. Our willingness to surrender all to be a part of His family. Well said, Leah.

  • Steve Keller

    Great Post. I would occasionally wonder how I respond if some of my greatest gifts that I have been given are taken away…spouse, children, employment, my health. If we can focus on the giver -it makes the loss a bit easier to go through. We may never understand why it happened but knowing the giver makes the journey so much valuable. Thanks for the post!

    • Leah Ness

      Very true. Viewing God as our greatest gift – not to mention the only gift we can never lose – is key to managing the trials of life. Thanks so much for reading and for your encouraging feedback =)

  • Cyndi Gates

    Wonderful insight, beautifully said. 😀

  • my2ndnature Linda Samaritoni

    This is the third message to come my way in 24 hours about surrender of some sort!
    As much as I have studied the life of David, I never noticed the seeming injustice of his decision regarding Mephibosheth and his property, nor Mephibosheth’s reaction. I can see that God has used you to drive home the message to me about something else that I need to surrender to Him.
    Thank you for being an obedient servant.

    • Leah Ness

      I’m so pleased to hear that God used this message as confirmation for you! Though I certainly know how difficult the call to surrender can be. I’ll be praying that the surrender comes as naturally and joyfully for you as it did for Mephibosheth =)

  • Sue C.

    “I’m more attached to the gifts than the giver.” The Lord blessed me with a motor home and that was my “freedom.” I’d go to a lake and camp by the water. I absolutely loved my motor home and felt safe out by myself camping. Suddenly the Lord tells me to sell it, “You don’t need it any more.” Oh woman was I upset! I was mad at Him for 2 years. But you know what? He took my motor home and gave me a lake! God is so awesome!!!!

    • Leah Ness

      Wow, cool testimony! I love to travel and have even tried to convince my husband that we should buy a motor home and live like gypsies (only half kidding). I can only imagine how hard it would be to give that up. But I love it how God always has something better for us around the next corner, and how He always gives it to us at the best possible time =)

  • Nate

    The thing that struck me most about this is that Jesus takes up this very idea with ‘Bless those who love you’. Jesus knew his old testament well and his teaching is very much from there. It is a shame that many can’t see that and see a big division between the two.

    • Leah Ness

      A very good point. And I agree with you that it’s a shame when people try to separate the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is intended to be taken as a whole and so many lessons are missed when it gets divided. Thanks for reading and for sharing that insight =)

  • Natasha Metzler

    Loved this.


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