Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“The Table of Grace"

"The Table of Grace"  

     Might a visitor to King David's table have been surprised by the presence of one who seemingly should not have been there?

    "And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth" (II Samuel 4:4).
    "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet" (II Samuel 9:13).

    You likely know the story.  Jonathan, David's dearest friend, was killed in battle with his father Saul, David's most strident enemy.  After assuming leadership over Israel, David sought to bless his departed friend's progeny to fulfill a covenant of love and devotion made between the two men before Jonathan's death (I Samuel 20:15).  "And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (II Samuel 9:1).  Informed about Mephibosheth, the king called him to his table.  "And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually" (II Samuel 9:7).

    Such grace would likely not have been understood by all who ate with the king.  During those days, the Jews viewed lame people as accursed of God, even as Mephibosheth considered himself: "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?" (II Samuel 9:8).  We might imagine a particularly pious guest of David looking in disgust at the "dead dog" seated with others more fortunate.  "What is he doing here?" the guest might think to himself, or if so bold, perhaps he might even raise the question verbally.  "Why, I must admit to surprise that this fellow dines with us today!"  If Mephibosheth had heard the comment, he might well have agreed.  "You're right, of course.  I shouldn't be here.  And I wouldn't be were it not for the king's grace and his love for my father and his promise to him!"

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ… He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:3; 6).

    Left to ourselves, we are lower than dead dogs.  Our lameness is a chosen spiritual and moral paralysis caused by headlong flight from God.  "All we like sheep are gone astray, we have every one turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).  God nevertheless calls us to His table, His table of grace.  His love for and covenant with our Jonathan, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ, moves the Father to bestow the most lavish salvation and sustenance to all related to His dear Son and our dear Savior.  "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).  Of course, no sneering guest will ever question our place at the Heavenly table.  However, if a such a thing were possible, we could only say with the most heartfelt gratitude and honor directed toward the Savior, "I am here because of Him, and only because of Him!"  Our Jonathan makes such access to the table of grace possible and actual as we remember the love and the covenant between God the Father and God the Son that all will be blessed who are related by grace to the Lord Jesus.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
(Ephesians 2:4-9)
"We have access by faith into this grace."
(Romans 5:2)

Weekly Memory Verse 
    Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
(Psalm 90:2)

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