12. Tough Promises

Scripture: 2 Samuel 9

King David’s life couldn’t be better.  Just crowned.  God’s ark indwells the tabernacle. Israel’s enemies maintain their distance.  The days of ducking Saul are a distant memory. In the midst of his new life, David remembers a promise from his old one: “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (9:1)

David has many reasons to forget the vow he made with Jonathan.  The two were young and idealistic.  Who keeps the promises of youth?  Saul was cruel and relentless.  Who honours the children of your enemy?  David has a nation to rule and an army to lead.  What king has time for small matters?  But, to David, a covenant is no small matter.

Finding a descendant of Jonathan wasn’t easy.  No one in David’s circle knew one.  Advisers summoned Ziba, a former servant of Saul.  Ziba mentions no name, just points out that the boy is lame.  The person in question is the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth.  When Mephibosheth was five years old, his father and grandfather died at the hands of the Philistines.  Mephibosheth’s nurse snatched him up and ran, then tripped and dropped the boy, breaking both his ankles, leaving him incurably lame.  Escaping servants carried him across the Jordan River to a village called Lo Debar.  Victimized.  Ostracized.  Disabled.

When identified, Mephibosheth gets promoted from Lo Debar to the king’s table.  The king is kind, not because the boy is deserving, but because the promise is enduring.  Is it hard to keep a promise you made in the past?  You’re tired.  You’re angry.  You’re disappointed.  Give it one more try.  When we love the unloving, we get a glimpse of what God does for us.

God sets the standard for covenant-keeping.  God makes and never breaks his promises. God made a promise to give us eternal life.  Our eternal life is covenant caused, covenant secured, and covenant based.  

Reference:  Facing your giants:  God still does the impossible by Max Lucado

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