The unusual name was the least of Mephibosheth’s problems. His bigger problem was that he was permanently disabled in a childhood accident and was something of an outcast.
Life started out so well for Mephibosheth and yet turned out so wrong. He was only five years old when news arrived that his grandfather, King Saul, and father, Jonathan, were killed in battle. In a panic, the nurse picked up Mephibosheth thinking she would carry him to safety. In her haste she dropped the young child, crippling him for life.
With the downfall of the royal family, Mephibosheth was forced to live in exile in a place called Lo Debar. Located east of the Jordan River, the name Lo Debar means no pasture, no word, no communication. It’s been said that Lo Debar was a forgotten place full of forgotten people. If the town lived up to its name, Mephibosheth must have had a miserable and meager existence.
But everything changed when King David entered Mephibosheth’s life (2 Samuel 9). Hearing about his plight, David brought the exiled prince back to Jerusalem. He gave him a permanent place at the king’s table and restored the privileges that had been lost. David did this not because of anything Mephibosheth had done, but for Jonathan’s sake (v7). This refers to a covenant established between Jonathan and David.
This allegory of grace is an Old Testament picture of what God has done for us. Like Mephibosheth, we were crippled by a fall. Hosea 14:1 states the truth, “You have stumbled because of your iniquity.” Sin brought down the entire human race. As a result, we were forced to live in exile from the King. What a miserable existence that was.
But God remembered the covenant of grace established by Jesus’ death on the cross. He rescued us from our personal Lo Debar and brought us back into the presence of the King. Just as Mephibosheth became the object of David’s grace because of his relationship to Jonathan, we are the recipients of God’s grace because of our relationship with Jesus. By God’s grace we are restored and live not just as servants of the King, but as sons and daughters (v11).
One of these days we are going to meet Mephibosheth in Heaven. If you are wondering how you will recognize him just look for the guy softly singing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!”
Pastor Todd Weston