One of the most powerful and realistic stories in the entire bible is the story of the life
of David. You talk about someone who was peculiar and seemingly a Clark Kent, David fit the bill. The youngest of a house
full of brothers, he was the one who was lost in the crowd, overlooked or discounted. His brothers were off to war, serving
in the military of Israel and David was off tending sheep and singing songs under the trees or running errands. It was the
wisdom of God that allowed David to remain obscure and seemingly unattached to the hustle and bustle of maintaining close
friendships with his brothers or even a neighborhood friend.
His obscurity fostered a heart that welcomed the solitude of the fields. Alone and unhindered,
he focused on being faithful to what was before him. In this solitude, a heart of worship for the God of his fathers and maker
of the heavens and the earth became his delight. The fields and meadows became David’s sanctuary and his cathedral.
Tending and leading sheep was the training to lead a nation. Killing the lion and the bear was the training to slay a giant
named Goliath, taking David from obscurity to center stage as God was glorified while the men of his day scoffed in disbelief.
couldn’t believe that a boy could be his slayer. Do you think it was accidental that David hit Goliath between the eyes
with that stone from his sling? Many believe God divinely directed that stone to its target. Let’s not be as skeptical
about David’s abilities and let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. A shepherd has to eat, does he
not? What do you think David used to kill game and feed himself with in the field? David had no idea that using a sling on
a daily basis was going to be the tool that defeated an army and raised him to his destiny. He was just faithful with what
God put in his hands and made it available to God when called upon.
Moses likewise, only had a staff in his hand used to tend his sheep. When he obeyed God and threw it
down, it became something that could have taken his life in the form of a venomous serpent. As it slithered and hissed, God
commanded Moses to pick it up by its tail. If bitten, he could have lost his life. But, Moses trusted and feared God. The
Father’s ability to take the ordinariness of his familiar staff and make it into something spectacular and powerful
that contained the will of God, inspired Moses to obey. It was no longer an ordinary stick of wood. That staff became the
rod of God that freed a nation and conquered a Pharaoh. Moses as well, waited for his obscurity to end. He too as David, wanted
God to show up in his life in a powerful way. It took all those years of obscurity
in tending sheep and raising a family for Moses to arrive at the point of being empty enough in himself, for God to have room
to be glorified in his life. God has a way of allowing a man to come to the end of himself so he can find the grace and will
of God for his life. It was in obscurity that David developed a heart that sang like a symphony of worship.
Psalm 42 sings, As a hart (a deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee oh God.
My soul thirsts for God. For the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? (When will my obscurity end and when shall I see God’s salvation) My
tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is thy God?
David was not moved by the opinions of others. He knew his God. He remained “God aware”
in his obscurity. David had no shame in himself or the seemingly novice position everyone else believed him to be in. He considered
not his youth and inexperience as a boy, unskilled in the art of war when it came time to face Goliath.
In 1st Samuel 17:33 Saul told David,
You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth,
and he is a man of war from his youth.
But, David had a history, a past that was connected to the power of God in his life. In
verse 37 he declares, moreover, the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He
will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.
No wonder that later, as David grew in the grace and favor of the Lord, Saul was enraged
when he heard, “Saul has killed his thousands but David has killed his ten thousands” Comparison was taking place
in the heart of Saul. He still only viewed David as a boy in the flesh, young and inexperienced. Saul was in error. Saul did
not have a heart for God the way David did. Saul lived a life moved by the temporal and external. He had a big ego. David
lived a life motivated from within, by the eternal. His strength was in God. Both of these men are a type and shadow of the body of Christ of today. It is at this stage of David’s life that Jonathan, the son of Saul recognizes what
his own father could not see, the anointing and favor of God on David’s life. As a moth to a flame, he is drawn to David
and David is likewise drawn to him. In the natural, royalty flows in Jonathans veins. Royalty as well, flows in David’s,
but in the realm and anointing of the Spirit of God. They represent those who are religious, relying on the arm of the flesh,
and those who are spiritually free, sons of God who rely on Christ as their righteousness. The natural must always submit
to the spiritual. The natural was created by the spiritual.
Hebrews 11:3 declares, through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, *(the
spiritual) so that *(the natural), things which are seen, were not made of *(or by) things which do appear, *(Or seen) *emphasis
A bond of love, unbreakable in the spirit was made between David and Jonathan, a covenant
born of the love of God. So much so, God considered it as his own covenant. A covenant He honored and instituted in like fashion
with His own Son for us. This love for Jonathan, David would one day take to his grave. When David was anointed king in Judah
and in all Israel, Saul and Jonathan were already dead.
In 2nd Samuel 3:1 it declares, now there was a long war between the house
of Saul and the house of David: but David grew stronger and stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
Those left of the house of Saul fled for their lives. It was common in that day, for a new
hostile king who took power; to kill the rest of the family of the conquered king. As in the movie The Godfather, any offspring
that were left alive could one day take revenge. Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth. When he was 5 years old, the woman
who tended him, gathered him up in her arms and fled. As she was running, she fell and Mephibosheth’s legs were broken
and crippled from that day forward. David never knew this.
They fled to Lo debar and that is where Mephibosheth was raised. He lived in the house
of Machir who was the son of Ammiel or “My kinsmen is God.” The root word for the meaning of the name Machir is
Makar, which means to sell, make, and offer for sale or merchandise. It describes them as merchants. They sold goods. Why is this important? How
many of us have ever met a real good salesman? Any good salesman surely knows how to talk. If he is a good salesman, he will
have an answer for anything you can throw at him. Always composed, confident and never without an opinion on his point of
it helps if we take a few steps back and look at some of the stories in the bible and read between the lines. These were real
people. They experienced the same things we all experience. This story is the biography of the human condition we all find
ourselves in. Thank God for the revelation of His love that shines upon us through this story. Mephibosheth grew up in a house
that was always full of opinion. He grew up listening to everyone else’s opinion of his condition. Let me paraphrase
the conversation that he probably heard from others and what rolled around in his head.
David is a thief! He stole the throne of your fathers! That shepherd boy hasn’t got any business
in the palace! He was not a prince! That rotten goat herder! Your father Jonathan took him in and treated him as a brother.
Saul, your grandfather, treated him as a son. If he knew where you were at this very moment, he’d cut your throat just
for spite. David loves to spill blood and he is oh so good at it! Because of him, you’re a cripple Mephibosheth! Did
you know that? It’s David’s fault. If he truly loved your father he would have honored the succession of the family
line. You would be King!
Instead, look at us. Look at yourself for God’s sake!!
We are robbed of our destiny and it is all David’s fault! That murderer is living in a palace and we are living in a
dump, hiding for our lives. David has possession of all your vineyards and flocks and houses and money and you are but a dog
compared to him! Curse him, may he die!
How did I do? I think I’ve quite nailed it, don’t you think? This was the
reality of what was happening in Mephibosheth’s life. The marketplace of life is full of so much ignorant opinion it
is almost overwhelming to a sane mind. Just listen to the news on your TV or radio; it can be enough to make you want to slit
your wrists. It was the same in David’s day. Mankind has not changed one bit. It is still skeptical, selfish, coated
with self pity, and brutally ignorant. It is staggering how much Mephibosheth suffered in his ignorance. Lo debar was a land of hardship. In
Hebrew, the name literally means: “pasture less or no pasture land” The beginning of the word Lo, has some interesting
definitions: impotent, incapable, ignorant, refused, unclean, unreliable, unavoidable, ungodly, unsown, worthless, unwilling,
refused, ruthless, injustice, disregarded, and unanswered. A place that was dry, rough and hard. The sweat of the brow was
the price you paid to remain within its borders. A sense of disappointment, fear and dread was always boiling below the emotional
surface of its residents.
The mentality of a victim was spilling over in every conversation when the topic of those
who lived in better circumstances was mentioned. No matter how hard one worked, everything seemed to grow incrementally at
a snail’s pace if at all, and what did grow was never enough to satisfy, never enough peace, never enough happiness,
never enough justice, never enough friendship or love. Always wanting and never filled, hopeless and forsaken, prayers gone
unanswered and the unavoidable ruthlessness of the flesh, keeping the heart of its residents hard and unwilling to repent.
This is broken humanity, ignorant and alienated from a heart connection to God, void of the presence of God weaving His spirit
We have all lived in Lo debar at one time or another, emotionally, financially, physically,
or spiritually. The covenant people of God are not entitled, to live in such a barren and desolate place. To remain within
its borders is to dishonor the bond and sacrifices made to establish the benefits of the covenant made in the blood of Christ.
Especially since the covenant is based upon love, not only needs.
David is on the other side of this story. While Mephibosheth is in Lo debar, David is
in the palace as king. He loves God. Even when Saul sought David’s life, David still exhibited mercy and grace because
he would not impugn, nor hurt the Lord’s anointed king. For the most part of his life, he has lived with an attitude
of heart that said to God; “Lord, search my heart, and see if there are any wicked ways hiding in me. I need you!! I don’t ever want
to offend you. I need you too badly to be numbed by my ignorance or sin!” What an attitude! No wonder he was the giant
killer. He was learning to overcome the giant within himself, even though he was still susceptible to corruption. We would
do well to learn from David on this matter of the heart. Remember, out of the heart, flows all the issues of life.
He was in touch with his own propensity for moral weakness and failure. David has been king for most
of his adult life. He has experienced all the highs and lows of power, fame, and personal weakness to an extreme level. There
was a time in his life where he saw Bathsheba and desired her for himself, despite the fact she was married to his loyal servant
Uriah the Hittite. His desire displays how a man’s wicked human heart can easily scheme to do evil when it does not
stay in fellowship with God.
In 2nd Samuel chapter 11, David ordered the murder of Uriah by withdrawing
all help from him on the front lines of battle. Uriah is slain on the battle field. David is publicly the hero champion of the people.
His battle exploits are legendary, as is his zeal for God. Secretly though, David acts the part of a coward. He can’t
even bring himself to do the deed face to face and orders his murder while sleeping with his wife. Short of killing babies,
this was probably one of the lowest things a man had done in the scriptures. Death is certain. The man caught in this escapade is
assured by the law, death. Nathan, the prophet of God confronts David and declares in chapter 12 “You are the man!”
(More on this story in chapter eleven) David immediately knows he faces death. David confesses his guilt and throws himself on
the mercy of God; there is no sacrifice that God has demanded that can exonerate him. God ultimately pardons and forgives
David. But now, David will experience the pain and anguish of a broken and dysfunctional family because of his seeds of disobedience
David has destroyed a family and now the seed will reproduce after its own kind. Years have gone by, death and abuse
has done its work within the house of David and now here he is, in the winter of his life. Facing ones mortality and realizing
that there are more years behind us than there are in front of us, has the powerful ability to make us reflect on our deeds
and opportunities, whether we’ve engaged them or missed them. David is now the aged hero. His battles, though, are now
within the walls of his own kingdom and within his own heart.
I picture David as one morning walking through the halls of the palace. His heart and
thoughts are drawn back to the days of when it all started. In his mind’s eye, he sees Goliath fall; he remembers how
God brought to him all the men at the cave of Adullam, who would become his mighty men, and many other memories of God’s
faithfulness. He now remembers Jonathan, and the covenant with his friend who was a brother bonded in love. It’s almost as if they were joined
at the hip, they were so close. And now, Jonathan is dead. David is so tired of the administration of his kingdom and the
pain of bloodshed that he longs for former days with friends who truly love one another. David remembers the covenant. The
oath he swore to uphold at Jonathan’s terms.
1 Sam. 20:14-17 declares, while I am still alive you shall not only show me the loving-kindness
of the Lord, so that I die not, but also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever! No, not even when the
Lord has cut off every enemy of David from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying,
and the Lord will require that this covenant be kept at the hands of David’s enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear
again by his love for him, for Jonathan loved him as he loved his own life.
As David remembers Jonathan’s love towards him and the friendship they shared, his heart is overwhelmed;
the tears begin to flow; his heart begins to break. The love of God overtakes him as he remembers the forgiveness and love
that God has directed towards him all the days of his rule as king, even as a shepherd boy. The favor and anointing of God
on his life and the grace given him in his disobedience to God in committing adultery and planning the murder of Uriah overtakes
his emotions. Every time he sees his son Solomon, he is reminded of the goodness of God! The goodness of God in His loving
kindness strikes David to the core.
He cries out in 2nd Samuel 9:1, Is there not anyone left of the house of Saul,
that I may show the unfailing, unsought, unlimited and exceeding mercy and kindness of God, for Jonathans sake?
It is only when the love of God is a reality within us, that we are empowered to love God’s way. God’s
way of loving is to restore that which is broken or discarded. To heal the broken hearted. It is the anointing of Jesus.
Luke 4:18 declares, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to
preach the Good News to the poor; He has sent me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to
send forth as delivered those who are oppressed who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity and to
proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord. “The day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound”
That day is TODAY! When the body of Christ begins to preach and exercise this message,
then we will in action, not words, love as Jesus loved. His love never fails! It produces the manifestations of His anointing
in power, not lip service, flattery or hype. This is the love that mankind is searching for. This is the love that was in
David’s heart as he thought of Jonathan. This is the love that was available to Mephibosheth all his days and he never
knew it. All
those years of anger and bitterness and self pity in Lodebar spent believing the worst, were for nothing. A deception, a smokescreen,
a mirage fueled by bitter opinion and ignorance. Believe it or not, born again believers all over the world are living in Lodebar believing
the worst about God. Not even aware that He too, like David, desires to show profuse love and covenant kindness for Jesus
sake. Christians have been bewitched and believe works of service to Him, mixed with Christ’s obedient good deeds
and faithfulness makes a man righteous. But, it is on Christ ALONE and His atoning work that gains us access to the
Father. Why? So we can never boast in our accomplishments.
So by grace, we can be received as sons.
Empowered to say it, and empowered to live it!
When he wasn’t even seeking it, Mephibosheth had restored to him all the rights and privileges of royalty as
a son, even though he thought of himself as a dog at David’s feet. David considered not what he was hearing, as Mephibosheth
described himself as a dead dog before the king. He only heard the sound of Jonathan’s voice within his spirit’s
ear and the sound of his own voice within his own soul as he remembered his pledge of love, to show the loving kindness of
the Lord to Jonathan’s house forever. Is David greater than God? Does he have a greater ability to love than God? NO!
But we act like it when we go down to the altar every Sunday and recommit our lives to the Lord as if His love and grace has
no keeping power. There is certainly nothing wrong with being committed. In fact, it is essential to any endeavor we involve
ourselves with. However, for the most part, shame is the catalyst that drives people to the altar to regain what they believe
they lost during the week. In doing so, we continue to foster a sin consciousness and are always confessing sin without ever
professing our righteousness.......
Continued in The Bruised Reed