The Kindness of God being extended from the King of Zion
Have you ever wondered why God did not send His Son into the world immediately following the fall of Adam and Eve? Why wasn’t Eve’s first child the Messiah? Why didn’t Christ come in Genesis 4 right after the fall immediately following that first promise by God of the coming Messiah in Genesis 3:15? I suppose God could have chosen to bring about His salvation in this way but this was not His plan for redemption. God had a much more intricate and elaborate plan through which He would redeem His people. God was committed to providing His people with thousands of years of preparatory theology and doctrine through Gospel pictures, aka types, shadows, as well as Scriptural prophesies. God’s intention was that He would gradually and progressively reveal the glorious details and truths behind His Son’s coming over a long period of time for a particular reason. God patiently instructed His people through all of the types and shadows of the Old Testament Scriptures so that through all of those preparatory pictures His people might be able to fully understand and grasp the greatness and complexity off all that Jesus Christ would actually come and accomplish in His coming, dying, and rising again.
If Jesus would have come and laid down His life in Genesis 4, I don’t think His death would have been fully understood.
I don’t think the people of God would have grasped the full significance of God’s only Son being sacrificed without first having been given the picture of Abraham nearly killing Isaac his only son on Mt. Moriah which built the anticipation for the greater only Son to be sacrificed.
I don’t think the people of God would have fully understood the theology of substitutionary atonement without the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law with its Passover lambs and scapegoats depicting the reality of expiation.
I don’t think we would have appreciated the grace and mercy of God that we have received as Gentiles without first having seen God’s repeated judgments and wrath being poured out on nation upon nation thorough out the Old Testament Scriptures while God continued to limit His revelation to this small nation of Israel alone.
And it’s these attributes of God, His grace and mercy in particular that I want us to consider today from an Old Covenant perspective, through a typological perspective, a preparatory perspective.
There is one man from the Old Covenant Scriptures who exceptionally typifies for us our gracious King and Savior.
This Old Covenant type of our merciful King Jesus for our consideration today is the man King David, the King of Jerusalem, the King of Zion.
Now any time you are looking into the Old Testament and noticing what appears to be typological accounts of what the Lord Jesus would eventually come and accomplish there should be a proceeding made with careful trepidation. A trepidation about drawing connections and conclusions from the Old Covenant that may not necessarily be God intended connections to the coming Lord Jesus. This rightful caution should especially be employed if there are no direct links made by the New Testament authors to the Old Testament passage you are studying. In other words, there is the possibility of wondering off into simply imagined or allegorical interpretations.
Now as we set out to consider King David, we can proceed with a little more boldness. This is because the New Testament authors themselves affirm the role that King David played as a preparatory type of the King of Zion who was to come. For example, as we have seen in the book of Hebrews that Melchizedek was set forth as a clear type of Christ’s role as a Priest for His people and likewise throughout all of the New Testament we see King David being set forth as a type of Christ in his role as King over God’s people.
One of the favorite examples of this connection being made between David and Jesus Christ by the New Testament authors is their use of Psalm 2:6–12
6“But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”10Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
This pronouncement of God’s installation and approval of His anointed King over Jerusalem was a declaration that could have been spoken over each successive King that took the throne over God’s people just as King David did. And in Psalm 2 God gives His king a very interesting and significant title in verses 7 & 12, He calls this King His Son. Why did God use this word, Son, to refer to His King? The New Testament authors tell us. In Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 the pastor tells us that this statement in Psalm 2:7 where God says “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”, was being spoken to Jesus Christ, obviously prophetically. Originally God pronounces this Kingly Sonship over King David as He ascends the throne of Jerusalem but Paul in Acts 13:32-34 says this Kingly Sonship is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s ascension from the dead.
32“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ 34“As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’
You see how David played this significant and important role as a preparatory type of the ultimate King who was to come and not simply ascend to the throne of Zion in Jerusalem but to the throne of what Hebrews 12:22 refers to as the “Mount Zion that is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem”.
Let us now dive into our text in 2 Samuel chapter 9 and peer into a very interesting account of what I believe to be an obviously typological description of the amazing grace and mercy that is extended from the King of Zion to his undeserving helpless enemies, a typological grace and mercy that is fulfilled in every one of you who have received the grace and mercy of the King of the heavenly Mount Zion.
Let us consider the historical setting:
2 Samuel 1- King Saul as well as some of his sons including Jonathan have just been killed in a battle against the Philistines. King Saul’s death leads to David’s then becoming King over Judah in chapter 2 and eventually King over Israel as well in chapter 5. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13 God made this prophetic utterance to King David
12“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13“He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
And so what we will see right off the bat as God is establishing king David over His people is a promise of a greater King to come, a seed of David who’s kingdom will be established forever.
But that is who is to come; historically in 2 Samuel we have King David presently ascending to the throne and with His ascension comes an unexpected and amazing extension of mercy to some of his enemies.
As we examine this mercy from the King we will see that the King’s mercy is a…….
- Natural outflow of his very nature
- Covenantal mercy
- Unconditional: There is nothing in the recipients of his grace that merit the mercy
THIS KING OF ISRAEL’S EXTENSION OF MERCY IS A NATURAL OUTFLOW FROM HIS NATURE
Where do I get this idea from, that grace and mercy are innate characteristics of the king’s nature? Let us notice the significance of timing of this gracious act of King David upon ascending to the throne.
In chapter 8 David has finally established His kingdom by bringing peace to His people by defeating and suppressing all of their surrounding enemies, including the great enemy of Israel who had just previously killed King Saul, the Philistines. It’s right on the heels of King David establishing himself as the rightful and powerful ruler of God’s people Israel that we find him not overwhelmingly bloodthirsty but merciful.
2 Samuel 9 1Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul [that I may wipe them out as well? No….], that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?”
Now, there are several interesting things about King David at this point deciding to show the very kindness of God to the house of Saul, the man who had previously attempted to not only ruin David’s life but actually end it. The first thing to consider about this is the amazing reality that King David even had this idea in his mind to show kindness and mercy to the house of Saul. Try and put yourself in King David’s shoes, King Saul had been persecuting David since 1 Samuel 18:8
Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.
Saul attempted to pin David to the wall on more than one occasion 1 Sam 18:11
Saul sent David out to fight against the Philistines with the hopes that they would kill him v. 17
Saul gave David his daughter Michal with the hopes that she would stumble him by her worship of idols 1 Sam 19:13
Saul sent assassins to David’s house to kill him and David was forced to flee out a window to escape as a fugitive outside of the city eventually having to dwell amongst the very Philistines themselves.
Can you imagine the hatred and bitterness that could have developed in the heart of David for anyone who even shared the family name of King Saul? How rare is the grace and mercy of this King of Israel!
Consider how uncommon this kind of grace actually was historically.
David had just obtained the kingdom from King Saul and it was far from customary to leave a remnant of the previous dynasty alive, let alone show them the kindness of God.
Note the words of Dale Ralph Davis in his comments upon this merciful move of the King.
“When a new regime or dynasty came to power, the name of the game was purge. You needn’t go wandering into the ancient Near East to confirm this. You can stay within the pages of biblical history and watch Baasha (1Ki 15:27-30) or Zimri (1Ki 16:8-13) or Jehu (2Ki 10:1- 11) to find out what happens to the remnants of a previous regime. [I read all of these accounts by the way and I can tell you the kindness that David decided to show is certainly to be considered an acception to the rule] The new king always needed to solidify his position. It was conventional political policy: solidification by liquidation. Everybody knew it; everybody believed it; everybody practiced it. (Ralph Davis, D. Focus on the Bible: 1 Samuel)”
The safest thing King David could have sought out to do was to wipe out every trace of King Saul’s lineage to prevent any descendents of Saul from attempting to regain the throne. But this is not what we find King David doing. Instead he has a heart to extend mercy.
Did not God Himself say in 1 Sam 13:14 that David was a man after His own heart?
Like God, David does not only have a nature that meets out a just wrath, a wrath which David certainly displayed against the surrounding enemies such as the Philistines, but he also has a nature that desires to extend grace and mercy. And thank God that grace and mercy are attributes of His nature! And so King David like King Jesus has a heart, a very nature that desires to extend mercy to those who are rightly His enemies.
This is an attribute of our King that we should be very thankful for!
THE COVENENTAL NATURE OF THE KING’S MERCY
Now there is also another reason that this King of Zion has chosen to show mercy to those who should be his enemies. And this reason is that he had previously entered willfully into a covenant. “A Sacred Bond” as Pastor Emilio so helpfully describes it.
Now there are a couple of indications here in our text that this mercy that King David desires to extend to the house of Saul is in fact a covenantal mercy. And although 2 Samuel 9 is actually lacking the Hebrew word “berit” which is the most common word used in the OT to denote a covenant, there is another Hebrew word used in verses 1, 3, & 7 translated “kindness” that gives us the first clue that the King’s grace is covenantal.
2 Samuel 9:1 Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”…….. 3The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?”
This word translated as kindness is the Hebrew word “hesed”. And “hesed” is so commonly associated with the term ‘covenant’ that it can be seen and even translated as a covenantal faithfulness/covenantal kindness. (Robert D. Bergen, NAC Commentary 1 & 2 Samuel).
But not only does the prophet Samuel here hint at the notion of covenant but he explicitly records for us David’s having entered into a covenant previously with the house of Saul.
(Early commitment in the life of David, immediately following his victory over Goliath)
1 Samuel 17:57–58 So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 1 Samuel 18:1–4 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.
Turn over now to 1 Samuel 20:13–17 to see how this covenantal relationship develops between King Saul’s son Jonathan and David
13“If it please my father to do you harm, may the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. 14“If I am still alive, will you not show me thelovingkindness of the LORD, that I may not die? 15“You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.
Notice as well the significance of the word ‘hesed’ here translated in v. 15 as ‘lovingkindness’. This word carries with it such covenantal thrust that the following verse 16 inserts the word covenant even thought the actual Hebrew word ‘berit’ is not even present in the text. This was my original point from back in 2 Samuel 9 where it describes King David’s desire to show kindness to the house of Saul. It’s a covenantal kindness. A kindness in 2 Samuel 9:3 called ‘the kindness of God’. Not simply the kindness of David, but the kindness of God. And so King David as with King Jesus extends a mercy and grace that is based on a previous covenantal bond. David’s covenant was made with the house of Saul. God’s covenant was made amongst Himself, amongst the 3 persons of the Trinity before time began. The Son of God agreed to show lovingkindness to some of the house of Adam, those who in time would become His very enemies. Christ Jesus based on His sacred bond with the Father and Spirit was willing to extend to us grace and mercy and not His judgment. Thank God for this.
(Other references to David’s covenantal binding to Jonathan 20:8,15-16,42, 23:18
Let’s move now into the last aspect of The King’s Mercy that we can consider in out text and this is the Unconditional nature of his mercy.
THE UNCONDITIONAL NATURE OF THE KING’S CHOICE TO EXTEND MERCY TO WHOM HE WISHES
Let us pick back up in the narrative in verse 3 so that we might consider the condition of the one who receives the King’s mercy
2 Samuel 9:3–5 The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet.” 4So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.” 5Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
Notice first this fact that is mentioned more than once in this chapter about this man. He is crippled in both feet. This is significant due to the fact that this grace which he will receive from the King will be just that grace. This man as a cripple has nothing to offer the King. He cannot work, he cannot fight, he cannot even take care of himself. Some of the more liberal scholars postulate that David was bringing this man close to himself to keep an eye on him so that he might not make a run for the throne some day but being a cripple in those days would certainly rule out any possibility that you might gain the office of King of Israel. No, the King of Israel here was showing an unconditional mercy to this man. This man was a descendant of the King’s enemy and was therefore naturally an enemy himself to the King but despite this obvious enmity King David was willing to show mercy.
Let’s notice now the response of this enemy of the King as he is called into the King’s presence
6 Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he said, “Here is your servant!” 7 David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.” 8Again he prostrated himself and said, “What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?”
Mephibosheth is right to prostrate himself before the King. He may not know if he is there for blessing or for curse. Either way the right response to being in the presence of God’s anointed King is a face first prostration, which although being crippled, Mephibosheth rightly and probably awkwardly bows before the King. And what a blessed day this turns out to be for this crippled and helpless man. King David says to him, “Do not fear”. What blessed words those would have been to this grandson of Saul who had been hiding in fear since the death of His grandfather in a far off town called Lo-debar, seemingly out of the site and notice of the new King of Israel. But amazingly what does he hear from the King? In verse 7 the King gives him a land promise, David said “and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul”. I’m sure King Saul had taken to himself the choicest land in the area, now given to Mephibosheth. Next as if it were grace upon grace, King David says to Mephibosheth, “and you shall eat at my table regularly.”
You must grasp the significance of this blessing. Who was called to sit at the King’s table? Only the most highly esteemed of the King. His family, his closest and most trusted friends and advisors but at the King of Israel’s table is a helpless and worthless fallen descendent of the King’s enemy. One who has by grace been certainly clothed in the finest and made to not just visit the table on occasion but to visit the table regularly verse 7 says, not as enemy but as verse 11 says, “as one of the king’s sons.”
What an amazing day for this man. The day in which the old things have passed away and all things had become new! And again, the response of this man to receiving the king’s grace is so fitting. The grace that he received did not puff him up and cause him to think unreasonably about himself but even at the declaration of this great grace from the king his response in verse 8 is
“8 Again he prostrated himself and said, “What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?”
Well as the text goes on to show, this extension of mercy is not some empty promise, but the king delivers on his word.
9 Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 “You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master’s grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate at the king’s table regularly. Now he was lame in both feet.
What a beautiful picture of the King’s grace and mercy to undeserving sinners. It’s a picture that paints the Gospel of Christ that we all need to partake of. We are all Mephibosheths. We have all in our sin and shame fled from the King of Zion and yet this King who could do whatever He wants with any of His enemies has decided to extend mercy. But those who receive the King’s mercy respond in the same way that Mephibosheth did. They recognize their worthlessness and confess to being a dead dog before the King. And It’s these enemies of the King who He exalts to sit at His table with Him in heaven. It’s the servants who based on His offer of mercy repent and put all of their hope and trust in the Kings power to save.
The throne of King Jesus is more glorious than that of King David’s, His Kingdom is greater than King David’s was, and His grace is greater than the grace that David extended. King Jesus has the authority not just to provide you with a comfortable life like King David provided Mephibosheth but King Jesus gives eternal life in His very presence.
For those of us who have received this grace from King Jesus we must never forget that we were and in a sense still are Mephibosheths. We are those who were far off and have been called near by His grace. I have left this reminder for myself and for my son based on verse 12. “Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica.” Hence, Canon Micah Matthews. I gave him this name because I wanted the perpetual reminder of the reality that I am but a helpless recipient of God’s grace and I wanted the reminder for my son that all of the benefits that he receives in being the son of a Christian are all based on a merciful God’s covenantal and unconditional grace.
May this truth and reality lead us all to a renewed thankfulness and appreciation for the saving grace that we have received.