Portraits of Kingdom Living – Lesson Seven
Mephibosheth: A Place at the Table
I. DAY ONE
A. Focus: Use the passages under each Focus Section this week to focus your mind and heart on the greatness of our God! Begin with II Samuel 22:1-4.
B. Feed: Have you ever heard of Mephibosheth? Don’t worry, most people haven’t. His story is short, but full of meaning for us. As you read his story, ask the Lord what He would want you to learn from him and his relationship with David. At the end of I Samuel 1, we read that Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle along with two of Saul’s other sons. At this time, David was still estranged from Israel due to Saul’s hatred and endless pursuit to kill him. However, when David hears of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, he mourns greatly. Read his lament from II Samuel 1:17-27.
1. Does it appear that David holds a grudge against Saul? (Refer back to Lesson Two, if necessary, to remember what was going on with Saul and David.)
a. What does he say about Saul and Jonathan?
b. Why does he say the daughters of Israel should weep for Saul?
c. How did he feel about Jonathan?
2. We can understand David grieving for Jonathan, but Saul? What do you learn about David from this account? Remember he was called “a man after God’s own heart.” How did David’s response honor God’s Kingdom?
At this time the people of Israel were divided into two households: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. After the death of Saul and Jonathan, David was anointed king over the house of Judah; Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, was made king over Israel.
3. What does II Samuel 3:1 say about this dissension?
4. We first hear about Mephibosheth in II Samuel 4. Read II Samuel 4:4. Who is Mephibosheth and what do you know about him from this verse? How old was he when his father was killed?
5. Read II Samuel 5:1-4. David is now anointed king over Israel as well. How old was he, and how long was his rule?
6. In the next few chapters, David gains a lot of victories over the enemies of the Israelites, and he has the ark of God brought to Jerusalem. II Samuel 8:14 says, “the Lord gave David victory wherever he went.” What does verse 15 say?
a. Look up the word “integrity” in a dictionary. What is the definition?
b. How does the way David responded to the death of Saul show integrity?
c. Do you think people are watching the way we respond to difficult people?
d. How is integrity involved?
e. David responded according to truth, and not emotion, when it came to dealing with Saul. (Saul was the king of Israel, anointed by God.) By the time of Saul’s death, it appears that David’s emotions matched the truth. He seems to truly be sad for Saul. At first, to respond with integrity may seem hard, or unfair, but by observing David’s life, what benefits do you see?
C. Fill: Are you a person of integrity? Are you honest and sincere? To seek first God’s Kingdom involves waiting with integrity. Talk to God about integrity. Ask Him to point out to you if there are any areas in your life where you need more.
D. Follow: Begin memorizing Psalm 63:5.
II. DAY TWO
A. Focus: II Samuel 22:17-18
B. Feed: Read the story of David and Mephibosheth from II Samuel 9:1-13.
1. What question does David ask? (v.1)
2. And the answer?
3. When did Mephibosheth become crippled? (See II Samuel 4:4.)
4. This is a story that drums up questions for when we get to heaven, isn’t it? Was Jonathan a good father? Or, was he off at war all the time? Did Mephibosheth know his dad well? Did the crippling of his feet have deeper meaning than a physical handicap for Mephibosheth? Why is it pointed out three times in Scripture that he was crippled in both feet? What are some of your thoughts about Mephibosheth up to this point? (II Samuel 4:4; 9:1-5)
5. When Mephibosheth saw David, what did he do?
Note: Mephibosheth probably feared the worst from David. David had the right to kill him because he was of Saul’s family.
6. What did David say to him?
7. How did Mephibosheth respond?
8. What instructions are given to Ziba?
9. Where was Mephibosheth to eat from now on?
10. The Bible says that David showed him kindness. Look up “kind(ness)” in the dictionary. How is it defined?
11. Did Mephibosheth have anything to offer David? The Bible has a lot to say about kindness. What do the following verses say?
a. Romans 15:1-2
b. Galatians 6:10
c. Ephesians 4:32
d. Colossians 3:12
e. I John 3:17
f. Matthew 5:7
12 We are naturally drawn to be kind to those who show us kindness in return, or those who can repay us in some way. Is that true biblical kindness? Write down your thoughts.
C. Fill: When was the last time you did something kind for someone who needed it, without expecting anything in return (not even a “thank you”)? It’s not easy, is it! We need the Spirit of God to empower us for this — but the rewards are sure! Ask God to show you ways you can be kind this week, according to the definitions from question 11.
III. DAY THREE
A. Focus: II Samuel 22:26-30
B. Feed: Jesus epitomizes kindness, doesn’t He? We see him showing kindness all throughout the gospels. When someone receives kindness that doesn’t deserve it, it is called grace. To seek first His Kingdom means to live as Jesus did and to seek His counsel through His Word on how we should live today.
1. Read the story about the woman caught in adultery from John 8:1-11. What was going on when Jesus showed up in the temple courts? How did Jesus show this woman kindness?
2. What happened to the man in Jerusalem from John 5:1-15? How did Jesus show him kindness?
3. How did Jesus show kindness to Zaccheus from Luke 19:1-10?
4. None of these people did anything to deserve the kindness of Jesus, just as Mephibosheth did nothing to deserve kindness from David. Four words–kindness, mercy, compassion and grace–are difficult to separate definitively. They all work together to describe the unconditional love of God. Look up “compassion” in the dictionary; how is it defined?
5. What do the following verses say about the compassion of God through Jesus Christ?
a. Isaiah 42:3
b. Matthew 9:36
c. Mark 1:41
d. Mark 6:34
e. Luke 7:13
f. II Corinthians 8:9
g. Isaiah 40:11
h. Isaiah 49:15
i. Psalm 103:8-10
j. Psalm 86:15
C. Fill: God is full of compassion. His heart breaks over the needs of mankind. He is moved by the hurting and needy. His heart is soft toward the abandoned and oppressed. Is yours? We hear about so much heartache and suffering in the world today, it’s easy to let it just roll off of us. Although we can’t take care of every need, like Jesus did, we need to show compassion to those God gives us the opportunity to. What is your response when you see a truly needy or hurting person? Do you care? Do you take time from your agenda to reach out with compassion? Ask God to open your eyes to opportunities around you where you could extend compassion in order to honor His Kingdom.
D. Follow: Keep memorizing Psalm 63:5.
IV. DAY FOUR
A. Focus: II Samuel 22:31-37
B. Feed: Think about Mephibosheth. He did not deserve to sit at the king’s table; however, he was treated just like a son of the king. It is the same for us because of God’s grace. We will finish this week studying “grace”. One day we will feast with the King of Kings, and share the table with all of His adopted sons and daughters. Can you imagine? Who will you sit next to? Abraham? Paul? David? Esther? Perhaps it will be Mephibosheth. Like him we will feel like we don’t deserve the blessing, and the truth is we don’t. . . that’s grace. As we define it with God’s own words, meditate on the fact that this is what God has extended to you through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ (see Titus 2:11).
1. According to I Timothy 1:14, how is God’s grace given?
2. What is the psalmist’s testimony concerning grace from Psalm 94:17-19?
3. God’s grace helps us when we are tempted to sin. What does I Corinthians 10:13 say?
4. God’s grace is completed in us by God. What does Philippians 1:6 say?
5. How did this grace become ours according to Romans 5:6-6? What does II Timothy 1:9 say?
6. God’s grace is continuous. What does I Peter 5:10 say? Does this encourage you? How?
7. I Peter 5:5 says that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Peter then gives some instructions to us in response to this gift. Carefully read I Peter 5:6- 9.
a. Thinking about verse 6, in what ways do you humble yourself before God? How does understanding God’s grace motivate you to humble yourself before Him?
b. What does verse 7 tell us to do?
c. Look up the word “cast” in the dictionary. What does it say? Do you do this with your anxieties?
d. Why do we need to be self-controlled and alert (v. 8)
e. How do we resist him?
f. Can others relate to what we are going through?
g. Again from verse 10, what is our hope? How do you respond to that hope?
C. Fill: Where would we be without the grace of God? We would have no way of reaching God, or receiving His love and promise of eternal life. Are you thankful? Have you told Him lately? Are you applying the commands of I Peter 5 (question 7)? Does God’s grace humble you? Do you trust Him with your cares and anxieties? Have you cast them on Him? Are you aware that the enemy wants to destroy your relationship with Christ? Be aware! Be self-controlled and alert! We have the power to resist Him (remember the armor?). God will restore us and make us strong and steadfast as we exercise faith in Him. Talk to God about His grace to you. Express your thanks to Him.
D. Follow: Write your definitions from this week in your journal. Ask God to transform you into one who demonstrates these characteristics (Romans 12:1-2). Keep memorizing Psalm 63:5.
V. DAY FIVE
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.
II Samuel 22:31
Jesus said that we build a strong foundation as we put His word into practice (Matthew 7:24). This part of the lesson is a little more abstract than days 1-4. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal of this day is to solidify in your mind and heart what you are learning from God’s word.
1. Look back over your lesson for this week. For each day’s lesson, write one or two key points:
2. What verses seem to stand out to you from your study?
3. Why did you pick these verses?
4. What is one lesson or principle you want to remember from your study?
5. How will you apply this lesson to your everyday life?
B. Summary: Mephibosheth’s Portrait of Kingdom Living
- What did Mephibosheth’s life teach you about living with the Kingdom of God as your primary concern?
- Conclude this lesson by discussing what you’ve written above with your Father.
- Write out your memory verse(s) below:
The Lord Lives! Praise to be my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock,
my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who puts the
nations under me, who set me free from my enemies.
II Samuel 22:47-48
About the author
I've been a Bible Study teacher for years! I LOVE God's word and am thrilled when others fall in love with it too. However, I've noticed that too many of us stop at the 'information' part of study and don't take the time for the 'transformational' power of lingering with the Living Word. I hope you will journey with me as we listen to what the Spirit in us longs to teach us as we pay attention to His Voice. May God richly bless you with deep roots in Him.View all articles by: Grace Cabalka
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