2 Samuel 9:1-13
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?…
I. THE FIRST, AND, PERHAPS, ONE OF THE MOST OBVIOUS LESSONS IS THE MUTABLENESS OF ALL HUMAN AFFAIRS.
1. David is on the throne, and none of Saul's family is left but a lame grandson, who is living in such obscurity, that except to a few faithful and generous adherents, his existence appears to be unknown.
2. And, then, what an illustration of the changefulness of human life we have in the fact that "David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Another illustration of our changeful life is Jonathan. David wishes to show kindness to Saul's house for Jonathan's sake. And then, there is Mephibosheth, the obscure orphan, whom David's affectionate remembrance of his departed friend has brought to light: who was only five years old at the time of his father's death, and has been ever since dependant on charity. Do we not witness the same change in men's lives? Monarchs are cast down from their high places, their thrones are overturned, and they are compelled to flee in disguise from their native land. Other men, born in humble circumstances, rise from one position to another till they reach the highest places of power. Some sink from .wealth to pauperism; other rise from pauperism to wealth. So rapid is the fall of some, that when you hear of it the words of the poet spring to your lips —
"Ships, wealth, general confidence: all were his;
He counted them at break of day;
And when the sun set, where were they?"
With the same rapidity others rise. We see the good and true die, as the basehearted die; one event happeneth alike to all — to the righteous and to the wicked. The dearest friendships are dissolved; death puts the most close friends far apart. Children that come into the world amid the most auspicious circumstances are oftentimes early deprived of earthly love and care, misfortunes befall them, and while their life is but young and tender, it is nipped in the bud. In all these respects we witness the same mutation as men have witnessed in all former times. The providence of God is uniform in successive ages. "That which hath been is new; and that which is to be hath already been; and God recalleth that which is past."
II. A SECOND LESSON THIS NARRATIVE TEACHES US IS, THE BEAUTY AND EXCELLENCY OF FAITHFUL FRIENDSHIP. "Is there," said David, "yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" David has been concerned in the establishment of his throne, and the cares and duties of his kingdom. He has had little leisure from State business and war, to attend to matters of a more private nature. But now he remembers the ancient covenant made between him and his friend long dead. "Friendship," says Jean Paul, "requires action." Well, here is a befitting action. What strength of expression David employs! He desires to show to the house of Saul, for Jonathan's sake, "the kindness of God." In that tender, solemn hour, when the two friends covenanted in the open field, and swore eternal love and faithfulness, Jonathan said to David, "And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not, but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever." And David sware he would not. The kindness of the Lord! The expression is strong; but it carries with it its own exposition and defence. It was kindness, the covenant of which God was called to witness, and it was kindness cherished in God's sight and fear, and for His glory. Friendships change. Friends die. But there is one friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Jesus Christ will not neglect nor despise you because you are unfortunate and poor. Your adversities and distresses awaken his tenderest sympathies and compassion, lie knows where you dwell. He sees that there is a "need be" for your present trials. He liveth for evermore.
III. THAT THIS CHAPTER TEACHES US GOD'S CARE FOR THE FATHERLESS, ESPECIALLY THE SEED OF HIS SERVANTS. Mephibosheth was only five years old when his father was slain, His nurse, in her anxiety to escape with him, let him fall, so that he was lame for life. See how God cared for him. Machir, the son of Ammiel, of Lodebar, the same man who in after years joined with Shobi and Barzillai in supplying David and his people with beds and food at Mahanaim, clearly a large-souled, benevolent man, took him into his house and brought him up in his family. Now, as the result of David's inquiry, the lame, orphan youth is raised to sit at the king's table. In every age God has shown Himself the Father of the fatherless. Especially does God care for the children of those who love Him; He remembers them for their fathers' sake. He suffers not all the pains taken to be unrewarded — all the tears shed un-noticed — all the prayers offered unheard. "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children."
IV. This chapter illustrates the truth that even IN THIS WORLD VICE BRINGS ITS OWN PUNISHMENT AND VIRTUE ITS OWN REWARD,
1. See from this chapter, how He punishes sin! Saul was proud and disobedient; and God makes that saying good, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall;" and that other saying, addressed to the guilty monarch personally, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry."
2. Now mark how God rewards piety on earth! No man serves Him for nought. Follow the career of David. He begins life in the fear of God. Some of his most devout and beautiful psalms appear to have been composed while he was yet a youth. He took care to cleanse his way by a diligent use of God's word. He loved the exercise of Divine worship. He endeavoured to acquit himself well in all stations. In his father's house, among his flocks, at court, as Saul's armour-bearer and companion; in banishment, leading a roving life; on the throne of Israel — everywhere he sought to please God. There is a lesson here conveyed to all. Whatever your position may be, however humble and obscure, discharge its duties in the fear of God. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." May that blessedness be yours and mine! Amen!
Parallel VersesKJV: And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?