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.”’
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.