Undeserving Compassion

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“What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” 2 Samuel 9:8

This statement was not an attempt of self-deprecation but a statement of fact. Life has dealt this man what would be considered a terrible past and a worse future. Mephibosheth was only 5 years old when he fell victim to the actions taken by a corrupt political leader. Saul, King of Israel had sinned against God and was soon to be deposed from his position.

King Saul’s arrogance was demonstrated in his capricious approach to the ways of God. Saul, in his impudence, had offered priestly sacrifices seeking to gain God’s favor in the ensuing battle. Saul grew weary waiting on the prophet and intervened. Saul made the sacrifice himself to advance the timeline for his attack on his enemies. God’s response to Saul's sin came through the prophet when he said:

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Sa 15:23)  

Saul’s disobedience not only would end his rule of Israel but would lead to the death of his son Jonathan and the exile and crippling of his grandson Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth would live a life as not only a cripple but in exile fearing for his life every day.

In the culture during the time Mephibosheth lived, compassion was a rare commodity and his life was lived out in desperation and poverty. In Mephibosheth’s own words he lived a life of a “dead dog.” There was no reason for the new king to grant any compassion to this “dead dog” but he did.

In fact, the new king had many reasons why he should end the life of Mephibosheth. History of kings and kingdoms are filled with many attempts at coups by descendants of the previous king and it was a common practice for the new reigning king to secure his position by tracking down and killing any potential challenger to his throne.

Why did Mephibosheth find favor and compassion from the new king? Compassion, not because he deserved it but because it was granted by David the new king. This compassion was directed to this self-proclaimed “dead dog” because of the sacrifice of Jonathan.

Jonathan, following the will of God, knew that David would depose his father Saul and become the new King of Israel. Jonathan, willing to follow God’s will, approached David with this understanding  and a covenant was made between David and Jonathan that would be executed when David would become king:

“Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul.” (1 Sa 18:3)

This covenant was a promise from David when he would become king and would redeem Jonathan’s family.

David, out of love for his friend Jonathan, reached out and sought out Mephibosheth. This act of compassion transformed a “dead dog” into a living soul that was full and completely restored.  This covenant between David and Jonathan was a blood covenant. It was the death of Jonathan that was the power behind the compassion and favor David directed towards Mephibosheth.

God loves you and has made a covenant with you. Jesus said:

“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luk 22:20)

You, like Mephibosheth, are being sought out by God. His love for you is not based on your value but the value He places on Jesus.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beverly Bradley says:

    In your first line, “This statement was not an attempt of self-deprivation…” you meant, self-deprecation.

    1. Buck Keely says:

      Thanks! got to love auto correct…


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