Choosing the Beggar

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The New Mentality

“So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.” 2 Samuel 9:13

The often used saying, “Beggars cannot be choosers”, found its way into the colloquialisms of the European culture through a book of proverbs compiled by John Heywood in 1546.  This expression, when it first appeared in Heywood’s book, was recorded as “Beggars should be no choosers.”

This axiom made its way into the American culture as “Beggars can’t be choosers.” The intent of this proverb is clear. You do not have the privilege of demanding anything you cannot achieve yourself. This well-known proverb has an addendum that has been added to reflect the base human nature.

Many people have created a lifestyle of entitlement and often demand others provide, free of charge, what they choose to have. This new entitlement mentality held by many has made this update to Heywood’s proverb. “Beggars can’t be choosers but often are.”

Indeed Mephibosheth was a beggar. The culture of the time in history this event occurred was not focused on “human rights.” Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and grandson of Israel’s King Saul. He was made lame when his nurse fell on him as they fled upon hearing both his father Jonathan and his grandfather King Saul had been killed in battle.

In this culture, it was common that the ascending king would kill all of the deposed leader’s children to stop any challenge to the new administration. Mephibosheth's nurse, fearing for the life of the child, did indeed save his life but left him physically disabled. Jonathan was the child of a prince and grandson of a king but lived a life of despair and poverty.

God’s grace is demonstrated in the words, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table.” How did a “beggar” spend the rest of his life in the favor of the King who he feared? One word— grace!

The scripture records that soon after, the new king of Israel established his power and was reflecting on the events that had changed not only his life but had ended the life of his dear friend Jonathan. Recalling his promise to Jonathan, “not cut off thy kindness from my house forever” (1Sa 20:15) David questioned:

“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” (2 Sa 9:1)

It was brought to the Kings attention that the son of his dear friend was alive and crippled so David ordered that Mephibosheth be brought to him. When the son of his friend arrived he was in fear and bowed before the king. Upon learning how the King was going to bless him he said:

“And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (2 Sa 9:8)

This beggar was not a chooser. He was chosen. This is a wonderful example of how God’s grace is directed to His creation. Mephibosheth was blessed, not for his own life, but because of the death of Jonathan. We are blessed not because of our value.  We like Mephibosheth are, “dead dogs” and are undeserving beggars. Like Mephibosheth, we were beggars who were chosen by God because of the death of Jesus. We now have a place at the King’s table for eternity.

Are you a beggar who wants to be a chooser? Do you demand to be in the favor of God because of how you are? Do you want the privileges of the King’s table without the commitment to God? The gospel of Jesus is the story of a loving God reaching out to sinful beggars with the offer of redemption and restoration.

Have you called on the name of Jesus in repentance? If not, today can be your day of salvation and granted a seat at the King’s table.


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy Mckean says:

    In the fifth paragraph I think you meant to write Mephibosheth not Jonathan …was the child of a prince…

    1. Buck Keely says:

      Thanks!

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