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June 7, Day #159 – Extending God’s Kindness

At the end of 2 Samuel 8, we read that king David was “reigning over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people” (verse 15). What a wonderful evaluation! Today, we come to 2 Samuel 9-10, and initially we see the beauty of David’s character: “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (verse 1). Saul’s household servant, Ziba, is called to appear before the king, and he asks a second time, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” (verse 3). Notice the difference? Here we have – in David, the sovereign of Israel - a picture of our sovereign God and His extension of lovingkindness to all mankind. Mephibosheth – a son of Jonathan – “is crippled in both feet” (verse 3). We saw earlier that Mephibosheth “became crippled from a fall at five years of age” (cf., June 4, Day #156 - 2 Samuel 4:4). Mephibosheth is the consummate picture of every sinner’s position after the fall – totally dependent, disabled, helpless, worthless, and ruined. We are in need of God’s kindness, and He extends it to us in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. In chapter 9, Mephibosheth receives David’s kindness – to eat always at his table. God invites us to join Him forever at His table. In chapter 10, however, we see that David wishes to show sympathetic kindness to Hanun over the death of his father, Nahash, who, apparently, showed kindness earlier to David. Here, however, we see Hanun rejects David’s kindness. Hanun’s advisors believe that David’s delegation has evil intentions, and they advise Hanun to retaliate against David’s men. Hanun is the picture of those who reject God’s offer of salvation in Christ, and his men are representative of Satan’s negative influences on those who reject Christ.

Psalm 70:5 says, “Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” This verse characterizes us all – just like Mephibosheth, we are all desperately poor and in need of God’s deliverance from our sad predicament. At times, I am ashamed to realize my own humanity - for which the simplest definition is, “a sinner.” No other creatures - save the fallen angels of eternity past – commit sins. In his journals, Jim Elliot wrote about an awful day when he awoke and realized the impact of his own sins. He felt the weight of his sin and its effect on all the rest of creation (cf., Romans 8:18-25). He wrote that man “owes an apology to the rest of creation for making its existence so miserable – thanks to our sin.”

This condition is again evident in Acts 3. Here, we see a crippled beggar who had to be carried every day to the Beautiful gate to beg “for money” (verse 3). He asked Peter and John for money, but they had none to give. However, at the Beautiful gate, they did have something more beautiful to give him. They “took him by the hand, helped him up, and in the name of Jesus Christ, they commanded him to walk” (verses 6-7). They introduced Him to the Lord, and the result? “He began walking, jumping, and praising God” (verse 8). Like David, Peter and John extended God’s kindness. Like Mephibosheth, the beggar received it and was made whole. How beautiful is that? Peter continues to explain that it was the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Who made this man walk” (verses 12-13). In each of our readings today, we see in Mephibosheth, Hanun, and the lame beggar illustrations of the effects of man’s sin against a loving, kind, and sovereign Creator who placed us in an ideal setting – which we have ruined by our sin. May each of these biblical narratives today remind us of our own indirect participation in the fall, and may we ever praise God for His extension of mercy and lovingkindness to us!

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