David’s Kindness

Open Your Bible

2 Samuel 8:1-18, 2 Samuel 9:1-13, 2 Samuel 10:1-19, Acts 4:24-28

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 8:1-18, 2 Samuel 9:1-13, 2 Samuel 10:1-19, Acts 4:24-28

When I was 20 years old, I spent a semester by myself in Chile. I was an intern there—not part of a full study abroad program with tons of other college students. I lived with a host family and worked with other Americans, but there was no one else there in the same position. I found myself pretty much alone.

One day, my Spanish teacher invited me to an “asado” at her house. A Chilean asado is a backyard barbecue on steroids: hours and hours of food, drink, laughter, stories, and family. It’s a feast for the stomach and the heart. I didn’t have much going on during the weekends, so I went. I’ll never forget the feeling of overwhelming acceptance washing over me that day. I felt known and welcomed there. For one afternoon, I was completely enveloped into their family.

I’ve never been in David’s shoes—a newly-crowned king looking to gain and maintain power. But I have been in Mephibosheth’s, feeling like the lonely outcast. Mephibosheth was the crippled grandson of the fallen king; all tradition and expectation would have been for David to ignore him at best, and kill him at worst.

But the victorious and powerful King David, remembering his promise to Jonathan and Saul, instead seeks Mephibosheth out and honors him. He restores the family land to Mephibosheth, and invites him to feast at his table. Even Mephibosheth can’t believe it. “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:8).

David’s kindness is not spur of the moment, either. He seeks out Mephibosheth to offer him “hesed,” the Hebrew word for lovingkindness. This word is found all over the Old Testament, used to describe God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to His people. In Exodus 34, God Himself uses hesed to describe His own character: The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” (v.6).

What we see David give to Mephibosheth is the same lovingkindness that God offers us through His Son. David invited Mephibosheth to be “like one of the king’s sons.”

It’s impossible to read this story and not see myself—crippled in spirit, with nothing to give, and yet completely welcomed into Christ’s family because of God’s lovingkindness to me. I am Mephibosheth, Joseph’s brothers, Job, and the prodigal son all rolled into one. And God seeks me out, the way David seeks out Mephibosheth.

Jesus invites us to a feast far greater than King David’s, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). May we answer His invitation with thankful hearts, filled with the unsurpassed joy that comes from knowing our Father loves us with perfect, steadfast love.  


Melanie Rainer is the director of content for JellyTelly, where she writes and edits family spiritual formation resources. She is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, a passionate home baker, and makes her always-messy home with her husband, Price, and their delightful daughter, Ellie, near historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee.

(58) Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

58 thoughts on "David’s Kindness"

  1. Kristen Clegs says:

    The hesed in this chapter is a “searching-out love.” I think it’s this aspect of God’s love that most awes me – that He searched me out, yes, even when I was crippled and unprofitable, and He found me and claimed me.
    Hesed: God hunting me down with His love. That’s how much God wanted me, wanted to use me to demonstrate the quality of His love to the world.

  2. Beth says:

    I love the SRT perspectices that help me pick up on new themes and ideas in the passages… But as I’m reading this (and knowing Bathshebas story is to come) I’m wondering if anyone has good ideas/resources to understand the brutal, violent parts of this story (2 Sam. 8:2, for instance). It doesn’t seem to make sense in the context of a ‘good’ man of God or fair and kind God. Thanks!

    1. Valerie says:

      I had a similar question as I read this…why take the lives of so many people? My answer is incomplete, but I believe that in part, it was the process of establishing David’s kingdom and further setting Israel apart as God’s “chosen people.”

  3. Lori says:

    Thank you for this precious reminder of our Father’s hesed towards me. It is His loving kindness that leads to repentance.

  4. Kari says:

    What an amazing comparison Melanie! Something I would have never seen. Thank you so much for this!!

    1. Melanie says:

      So this is silly, but I see your comments often and when it’s a response to Melanie the guest writer, I feel like it’s a comment to me from my sister who is also a Kari (same spelling!) and it makes me smile and miss her. Sorry if that’s weird to share :P

  5. Karen From Virginia says:

    Reading the responses makes me so thankful to be apart of SRT. I’ve enjoyed today’s devotional. It reminded me that no matter how “lame” I am, I’ve been given the place of honor and grace. Welcomed because of Jesus and that will never change. Being accepted and wanted has been a lifelong fear or sensitivity. I’ve been afraid too often of being unwanted that it’s hindered me. I’m learning to live in the truth of accepted in the Beloved and trust God to protect and care for me in life’s adventures.

  6. Allison Joy says:

    It’s interesting to me that David first asks if there’s anyone left in Saul’s household, so that he can honor Jonathan, his friend. Yet when he actually asks the person who would know, he leaves Jonathan’s name out, and simply asks about Saul’s family. And it “just happens” to be Jonathan’s son that is mentioned. It’s almost like David is rewarded for focusing on Saul, who he did not get along with, instead of Jonathan, by letting him meet and serve his best friend’s son. Just an interesting thing I noticed.d

    1. Chelsea says:

      Love that!!