God’s Kingdom Is For The Crippled (2Samuel 9)



The concept of kingdom is vague for us to understand, especially as U.S. citizens. The best or likely place we relate to kingdom is those our nation broke independence in Great Britain with its monarchy. Today the media is still fascinated with Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles with Camilla, and previously the late Princess Diana; and Charles & Diana’s two sons Prince William with marriage to Catherine (Kate) Middleton, and Prince Harry. William & Kate have born little George Alexander and little Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

However, as Americans, we may be nostalgic with English monarchy but we ain’t having it in our country or crib. We shall not be ruled or controlled by any king, we are our own master and boss in life.

This series in 1 & 2 Samuel helps us to identify with the people in this setting who rejected God’s rule and reign in their life. “In the biblical story, our primal problem is kinglessness, a kinglessness that has enslaved us to a tyranny we can’t even see.”[1] Yet, we also see glimpses of people uniting under God and His kingdom values. Likewise, today the church is a preview and picture of God’s coming kingdom.


–        God’s Kingdom is for Unity (2Samuel 1-5)

–        God’s Kingdom is for Legacy (2Samuel 6-10)

–        God’s Kingdom is for the Crippled (2Samuel 9)



The word “grace” means many things to many people: prayer at meals, beautiful coordination, style & sophistication. The band U2 says, “Grace, It’s a name for a girl. It’s also a thought that Changed the world.” As Christians, we believe that God’s grace has changed the world through Jesus Christ. God’s grace shows up all through the pages of Scripture, but specific passages radiate and reveal grace emphatically. Today’s passage in 2Samuel 9 does such.

God’s kingdom extends unfathomable and immeasurable grace to the crippled.

David has grown to be king of a united Israel with peace and prosperity (2Sam 7:1). Further, David is being blessed by God with covenant promises for David’s future offspring to be on the throne and reign forever (2Sam 7:12-16). David dreams for ways to expand God’s kingdom and exhibit God’s gracious character.

2Sam 9:1 “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

Kindness = ke·se (steadfast love, mercy, grace, goodness, faithfulness).

–        3x in 2Samuel 9:1, 3, 7

–        Khesed related to khasaidah (word for the animal, stork)

–        In ancient times, people devoid of video games and other thumbing devices took time to observe animal behavior. Ideas such as “sly as a fox,” “wise as an owl,” “regal as a lion,” and “stupid as a donkey” were shared impressions of people in many cultures. And of all the animals that the Hebrews observed, none was believed to be as constant in care for their young as were storks… Therefore, storks have come to be associated with babies/children. That is how God loves His children, like a hovering, faithful presence with unfailing provision and devotion  – hesed.[2]

Kindness from a leader or person of authority often appears as being soft or weak. Americans like their leaders boldly opinionated, strong in command, fearless, and tough on ineffectiveness. Yet, we must realize the role of character and compassion in our leaders. Grace and kindness are appreciated and admirable attributes in leadership. Kindness in leadership is not weak but wise. Leaders w/o grace contaminate & cripple society.

David’s question displays a profound picture of God’s heart for His enemies and for sinners.

◊      Romans 5:6-8 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Grace is initiated from loyalty.

–        David was being faithful to his promise with Jonathan (1Samuel 20:15-17, 42).

–        The common custom of national armies was to remove and eliminate all rivals to the throne.[3]

–        David’s servants discovered a prominent servant of Saul, whose name was Ziba (cf. 2Sam 9:10).


◊      One of the traits for God’s kingdom and godly leaders is loyalty and trustworthiness. David was loyal to Saul, even not wanting to hurt the Lord’s anointed (1Sam 24:6, 10; 26:16, 23; 2Sam 1:14-16; 3:39). David was loyal to Jonathan and fulfilled his promise through this request. No amount of education, experience, or excellence can outweigh a leaders trustworthiness.


◊      God’s loyalty to His own covenant is the model and motivation for David. David initiates loyalty out of response to God’s gracious blessings of establishing his kingdom and legacy (2Sam 7). Likewise, our actions of faith and obedience are best sustained when in response to grace and not duty.

o   Consider a husband who says to wife, “It’s my duty to say ILY this morning” VS “Good morning sweetie, I’m so grateful to wake up with you, ILY”.

o   Consider child who is repeatedly told to obey and follow house rules and on occasion does but begrudgingly VS the child who is loved lavishly and affectionately by parents and obeys because they trust parents have best intentions for them.


è Is your loyalty Christ-like?

o   in your marriage?

  • Grace: giving, other-centered.
  • Faithful: Secret lusts and not secret with God.

o   at home?

  • Grace: investing energy and time relationally & experientially
  • Faithful: Spending energy and priority outside of where it’s most needed.

o   to parents?

  • Grace: Listening, learning, loving with parents.
  • Faithful: Disobeying God’s authority and provision as a child.


◊      David’s loyalty to Saul’s house was uncharacteristic of worldly values; counter-cultural loyalty.


è Who are you most challenged to love, pray for, and extend care? We are loyal reflections of Jesus when we spend time with people Jesus did and treat others as we would ourselves.

o   Family member

o   Co-worker

o   Ethnic group

o   Economically challenged persons

o   Socially challenged persons

  • In school academically, athletically, musically.
  • In relationships, persons who are annoying or awkward.
  • In physical features, persons who are handicap mentally or bodily.






Grace is established from identity.

–        Ziba identified a son of Jonathan, without naming the man but simply saying he is crippled in his feet and living in Lo-debar [no pasture, nowhere] (2Sam 9:3-4).
–        David values Mephibosheth not because of ability but identity;

o   9:7 “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness [khesed] for the sake of your father Jonathan…Saul”


–        Mephibosheth lacked awareness and appreciation for his identity.


◊      Mephibosheth’s description reflects our description

o   Unfit“crippled in feet” (unable to stand) by the Fall (cf. 2Samuel 4:4)

o   Unworthy“someone” unnamed, living in no-where “Lo-debar”

o   Undeserving to the king – “fell on his face and paid homage… behold, I am your servant.”

o   Unrepayable to the king – “What is your servant that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

  • dead dog: represented uncleanness physically and spiritually. Dogs were not generally pets, but were more scavengers. Mephibosheth was a man of shame and low self-esteem, perhaps even deserving of death. Yet, David the powerful has kindness for the feeble.

◊      Disability does not determine a person’s worth. Human dignity is established from being made in God’s image.
◊      The Christian’s identity is not about performance but position in Christ; it’s grace-based. Growing in grace is understanding what you have been saved from and never wanting to return. Further, God’s grace empowers us to turn from sin and trust Jesus to walk in the power of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:12-16; Colossians 3:1-17; Titus 3:11-14).


è What is the source of your identity: God’s grace or human standards?


Grace inspires generosity.

–        David blesses Mephibosheth with kindness [hesed] in

o   recognition of personhood, which is quite a statement as a crippled man living in no-where (2Sam 9:7).

o   restoration of land that would have been passed down from the kingdom line of Saul and Jonathan (2Sam 9:7, 10; 19:30).

o   relationship to the king and kingdom by eating at David’s table forever/always (2Sam 9:7, 10-13).


◊      Generosity is fueled by grace.

–        One who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47)

–        Zacchaeus received grace and reflected generosity (Luke 19:8)


è Is your generosity reflected through God’s church of whom God has called you to invest for eternal kingdom mission, and with/for your brothers and sisters with whom you will spend eternity?

o   Compassionate generosity (Acts 2:45; 2Cor 9:6-9)

o   Joyful generosity (2Cor 8:7-9; Gal 6:9-10; Php 4:10-20)

o   Visionary generosity (Matt 13:44-46, 25:29; Lk 16:10-13)

 Grace is cultivated from community/belonging.  

–        David invites Mephibosheth to his household. Mephibosheth has access to the king and kingdom, forever (2Sam 9:7, 9:10-13).


–        Mephibosheth’s life was not only transformed but so was David and the royal palace and kingdom, and Ziba with his household, because of David’s grace-filled value of a life (2Sam 9:10-13).


◊      The crippled belong in the family of God.

o   Luke 14:12-14 “Jesus said, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”


o   1Cor 12:23-26 “on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”


è Who are the crippled among our SPBC family? Among our extended community? How can we extend counter-cultural grace to these?




Are you Mephibosheth???

–        Ruined by the Fall and crippled from past circumstances

–        Running and hiding in no-where good, away from the king

–        Nothing to give but needing mercy

–        Ready to be accepted by grace

–        Longing for restoration and reconciliation – while walking with a limp


SPBC invites those who are crippled by spiritual sin or physical suffering. There are people with hard hearts, damaged emotions, crushed spirits, shattered souls, wounded bodies, and all sorts of needs that we can minister.


As church, we can make a difference by extending grace to a

–        racially charged and divided nation

–        violent and crime-infested cities & towns

–        an immoral and idolatrous culture


As a church, are we ignoring people like a ding in a car door or are we seeing people as God sees them?


SPBC envisions impacting the

–        spiritually lost through truthfully and lovingly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus with our lips and promoting the gospel of Jesus with our lives.

–        spiritually disconnected through church strengthening and church starting.

–        fragmented families through enriching marriages, equipping parents, encouraging families for relational unity and spiritual mission.

–        generationally segmented through intergenerational worship and ministry experiences

–        racially divided through a hospitable church culture and through multi-ethnic ministry and church partnerships.

–        disinterested community through tangible acts of love and service in Jesus’ name.


[1] Russell Moore, Onward, p.56.

[2] Cf. http://biblehub.com/topical/s/stork.htm; http://www.dts.edu/read/and-then-we-saw-the-storks-gods-loyal-love/

[3] John Hill Walton, Bible Background Commentary, p.336.

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