Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mephibosheth's Jawbone

If you are anything like me, you might often spend time daydreaming about living the lives and having the talents and disciplines of certain other people. I can become Michael Jordan, Hank Aaron, Brett Favre, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan in an instant. In my ‘spiritual’ dreams, I become Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Peter, or Paul. Heroes all. Of course, I have never demonstrated the talents in sports or leadership that these men have exhibited. But in my more reality based dreams, I realize that I have a great deal of basic commonality with all these men. Each of us have someone that we can look to as a role model in our lives. That, of course, is the famous Biblical super-hero, Mephibosheth. Particulars of his biography can be found in 2 Samuel, chapters 4, 9, 16, 19, and 21. I know I don’t have to tell the Biblical specifics since everyone is so familiar with the details of the life of this great man of God. I will, however, convey the rendition of another.

According to Jawbone’s Shorter Biographies, "Mephibosheth was the grandson of Israel’s first king, Saul. After the deaths of King Saul and Jonathan, M’sheth’s father, in battle, the young lad Mephibosheth was hidden from danger by his nanny. In his flight Mephibosheth’s feet were accidentally crippled."

"As a direct descendant of the king, Mephibosheth had a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. His ‘disappearance’ kept him safely away from the cut-throat battle for rule of the kingdom. As he grew, he may have entertained the expectations of returning to the rule of his kingdom by means of his natural, genetic rights. Like all men, he chose to believe in his own rule over that of God’s chosen king. He could talk the talk, but, due to his crippling, he couldn’t walk the walk."

"One day, the King had Mephibosheth located and forcibly brought before him. Custom in that culture required a brutal death to all rivals to the throne. In facing his condemnation, Mephibosheth realized his fate and prepared himself for his just reward. He fell down before the King in the manner of a servant. To his surprise, the King not only comforted him and spared his life, but also restored land and possessions to him and even allowed him to be seated at the King’s own table as one of his sons. Instead of puffing up in pride, Mephibosheth asked why the King had ‘noticed a dead dog like me?’ The King stated that it was because of a promise to another. Mephibosheth was spared death by the work of another."

"While the King left his kingdom through rebellious threats, Mephibosheth was tricked into remaining behind. During his King’s absence, he suffered the loss of all things, but cared nothing for it. He did not even care for himself, but only for the safe return of his King. When it came to pass, he rejoiced. We aren’t told about his later life, but can assume he faithfully served as a son until his death."

Mephibosheth portrays an accurate picture of all of us– crippled and weak, but still foolishly seeking autonomy from God our King. By grace he was forcibly brought to his senses and reality, and was enabled to reject his own specious claims and fully accept subservience to God’s chosen King. In the King’s absence, his life was consumed with His return. Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Peter, and Paul all followed in Mephibosheth’s footsteps. I don’t know about Jordan, Favre, Aaron, Churchill, or Reagan. I can only speculate and hope.

Mephibosheth is a hero among heroes. None of the ‘greats’ ever strayed from their attitudinal kinship to him.