The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, there is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet.” 2 Samuel 9:3
David had claimed the throne from Saul and was now actively ruling over Israel:
David reigned over all Israel and administered justice and righteousness for all his people (2 Samuel 8:15).
It may be of value to note a couple key moments in this narrative. The ark was finally returned to its rightful place after some misfortunate misfires (2 Samuel 6). God promised to establish David’s kingdom by guaranteeing a descendant to reign on his throne (2 Samuel 7). David conquers the remaining land and defeated the other kings in the surrounding country. But when we come to chapter nine David pauses from all this and wants to extend some kindness to the house of Saul, his past enemy, for the sake of his friendship with Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1). This is the story of Mephibosheth – David restores all of Saul’s land and property to Mephibosheth and David insists that Mephibosheth has a permanent seat at his dining table for the rest of his life (2 Samuel 9:7). As you know Mephibosheth was crippled in both his feet so that was one obstacle that made this act of kindness even more special.
David probably could have used the conflict with Saul as a convenient excuse not to do anything for Saul’s household. Saul had spent considerable time and effort trying to kill David and put him out of his own misery. But God interfered and kept that from happening. But this shows you something very powerful. Even though David tried to serve Saul, it seemed to be pointless in terms of overcoming Saul’s jealousy and rage toward David
The Hebrew word for kindness is chesed, which literally means loyal love or lovingkindness. It is the same term used to describe God’s covenant love towards His people Israel. Most will be reminded that this is a defining mark of God towards His people:
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and 1truth; 7 who keepslovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6).
Exodus 34:6 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, in other places in the Bible. This is how God describes Himself when He revealed Himself to Moses. It begins with compassionate and gracious (not our first thought when most people think of God in the Old Testament) abounding in lovingkindness and truth. Then notice God forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. These first six characteristics are all the “positive” perfections that describes the God of the Old Testament. But while God is eager and willing to forgive all sorts of broken bad choices from human beings He is also righteous and just and will not ignore those indiscretions, He is committed to dealing with sin truthfully and justly.
Obviously David’s friendship with Jonathan was a powerful bond where these two were best of friends, had gone through a number of family fires together and their loyalty towards one another is remarkable. But because of their friendship they were completely loyal to each other and this is David’s way of honoring that friendship in spite of Saul. Here are a few thoughts regarding kindness:
1. There is a way to express kindness to others in spite of bad behavior that surrounds them.
2. The bad behavior of someone’s family members should not deter us to showing kindness to others who are connected with them.
3. Showing kindness is an expression of love towards others.
4. We should not allow the bad behavior of some to smother our efforts to encourage and show kindness to others. It is easy to withhold kindness, encouragement and support because we are afraid of condoning the bad behavior along with the good.
5. In a world where sometimes we are surrounded by people who treat us badly, we have to guard ourselves to not use their bad behavior as an excuse for our own bad behavior. Don’t allow your heart to become hard and skeptical because of how others treat you.
6. Simple kindness expressed as generosity can change a person’s life.
7. Loyal love (kindness) does reflect the character and love that God has demonstrated towards us.
8. There are several other critical characteristics that surround kindness like compassion, grace, truth and forgiveness. Kindness (loyal love) operates in great company when it comes to relationships with others.
Sincerely in Christ