Chapter 14 - Facing Your Giants
David’s life could not be better. He is no king, he’s through running from Saul and the ark is finally in its place. David is reflecting on his past when he remembers a promise: Is there still anyone in the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2 Samuel 9
Why should David care because is there is no one to remind him of his promise but his conscience causes him to remember the promise and the circumstances. When Saul was chasing David to kill him, Jonathan saved David and he made this request of David: If I make it through this alive, continue to be my covenant friend. And if I die, keep the covenant friendship with my family forever.
I Samuel 20:14-15 MSG
Jonathan does die, and David has many reasons to forget the covenant. Max writes: “The two were young and idealistic. Who keeps the promises of youth? Saul was cruel and relentless. Who honors the children of a nemesis? 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.”
“Promises. We never escape their shadow. David, it seems, didn’t attempt to.”
He has integrity!!
David’s search for a member Jonathan’s family was not an easy task. A servant of Saul’s, Ziba, knows that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth is alive. There is, however, a complication, the boy is a cripple. After Saul and Jonathan are killed, members of the household flee the Philistines. Mephibosheth is five years old as his nurse grabs him and runs. She drops him breaking both of his ankles leaving him incurably lame. Jonathan’s family hides in fear of the Philistines as well as David.
Max continues: “Collect the sad details of Mephibosheth’s life: born rightful heir to the throne, victimized by a fall, left with halting feet in a foreign land where he lived under the threat of death. Victimized. Ostracized. Disabled. Uncultured.”
David orders the boy to be brought to his palace. Max goes on: “The boy assumes the worst. He enters the presence of David with the enthusiasm of a death-row inmate entering the lethal injection room. The boy bows low and asks, Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me? David told Ziba: Everything that belonged to Saul and his family, I’ve handed over to your master’s grandson… from now on he will take all his meals at my table. II Samuel 9:8-10 MSG
Max’s comment: “A promise prompted by David. The king is kind, not because the boy is deserving, but because the promise is enduring.” Much like God’s promise to us through the sacrifice of Jesus.
The story continues fifteen years later with the rebellion of Absalom against David. David flees Jerusalem with a few friends including Ziba but not Mephibosheth. Ziba claims Mephibosheth has sided with the enemy. Upon David’s return to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth tells him that he had not turned against him but that Ziba refused to put him on a horse, so he could flee with David. David does not investigate which one is lying but remains loyal to Mephibosheth. He does not break his promise.
Max compares David’s loyalty to God’s: “God makes and never breaks his promise. The Hebrew word for covenant, beriyth, means a solemn agreement with binding force.’ God has made covenants throughout the Bible: He made a covenant with Noah to never destroy the world again through a flood; God promised Abraham to give his descendants the land and God’s covenant with us to provide Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins, so we can have eternal life in Heaven.
God, who never lies, promised this eternal life before the world began. Titus 1:2 God’s Word
Max asks: “Shouldn’t God’s promise-keeping inspire you? Heaven knows you could use some inspiration. People can exhaust you. And there are times when all we can do is not enough. You’re tired. You’re angry. You’re disappointed.”
Keep on loving these people. Max tells why: “So you can understand the depth of God’s love. When you love the unloving, you get a glimpse of what God does for you. When you do what is right even though you have been done wrong when you love the weak and the sick, you do what God does every single moment. Covenant-keeping enrolls you in the post-graduate school of God’s love.”
“When you love liars, cheaters, heartbreakers, are you not doing what God has done for us? Pay attention to and take notes on your struggles. God invites you to understand his love.”
Max ends this chapter with a challenge for you: “Embrace God’s love. Who knows? Someone may tell your story of loyalty to illustrate the loyalty of God.”
Facing Your Giants – Max Lucado – 2006 – Thomas Nelson Publishing – Used by Permission