He barely remembered the event but he was painfully aware of the incident. He was young – maybe only around 5 years old – when the harrowing news came. His grandfather, the nation’s renowned leader, had been killed in battle with the Philistines. Fearful that the grandson of the defeated and dethroned king would be killed, the governess swept the small boy into her arms and attempted to flee. She stumbled. She fell. She dropped the child, and the fall resulted in the crippling of both of the lad’s feet.
Regret did not change the reality. Sorry did not reverse the result. Mephibosheth was crippled. Although he had little memory of the fall; he had unrelenting consciousness of the effect. His father Jonathan was dead; his grandfather Saul was slain. His home and the life he had enjoyed as a member of royalty had been crippled. Through circumstances entirely beyond his control, his fate, his future, and his person were unmitigatedly marred.
Although he survived the accident and the commandeering of the monarchy, Mephibosheth had been relegated to a life in LoDebar, life without family, and life without inheritance – life impaired at every level. Who chooses that? What child dreams of that? From all appearances, he was condemned to live with brokenness.
Days passed; years passed; and opportunity passed up the young man. Those around him viewed him as handicapped; he viewed himself as a burden. Although Mephibosheth was aware that David had become king and he also knew that pre-king David had been a close friend to his father Jonathan, the crippled boy lived with the dread that someday he might be discovered and, perhaps, executed as part of the lineage of the dethroned family. Fear of another disaster further disabled his life.
Then one day, King David’s men arrived in LoDebar. They had been dispensed by the King to seek and find the son of Jonathan, who David had recently discovered to be the only living heir in Jonathan’s lineage. Once again Mephibosheth was picked up and whisked away – both times by those in the king’s service. The first time he was removed from the capital; the second time he was being returned to the capital. He prepared himself for another fall thinking that the first was unto misfortune but the second would be unto destruction?
Mephibosheth landed – not on the ground but in the palace of the King. David welcomed the son of his friend, this descendent of his comrade. David had pledged love and loyalty to Jonathan, and the King was committed to keeping his promise. David had prepared a seat at His table where the young man was invited to feast.Ornately carved wood upon which was spread an elaborately woven tablecloth afforded not only a platform for the banquet but also a covering which hid Mephibosheth’s broken feet from view. From LoDebar – the land of no pasture from which to feed or thrive – unto Zion – the city of the great king – the hurting and needy man found himself offered the abundance of kingly provision.
David had also reclaimed the lands that belonged to Saul and Jonathan and reassigned the inheritance back to Mephibosheth. David even appointed servants to work the lands and bring the increase to Mephibosheth. In every way, the King arranged to repair and restore the broken life of the one disabled by a fall.
Life changes when love is extended. Past brokenness can be transformed when grace is offered. Damages from the past can cease to cripple the present when kindness is given. Each of us is a Mephibosheth who has been dropped and disabled by some event in our past.And each of us has the opportunity to have our broken feet covered under the table of another King from the lineage of David – King Jesus invites all to his banqueting table.
(This story may be found in the Bible in I Samuel, chapters 4 and 9.)