Come Out of Lodebar
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2 Samuel 9:1-9:13 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Sermon Series: Surviving the Times
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1Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “At your service!”
3Then the king said, “Is there not still someone 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 lame in his feet.”
4So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”
5Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.
6Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”
7So David said to him, “So not fear for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.
8Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
9And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given to your master’s son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house.
10”You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master’s son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s son shall eat brad at my table always.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.” “As for Mephibosheth”, said the king, “he shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons.”
The text today focuses on two main characters: David and Mephibosheth the grandson of Saul and son of Jonathan. It is a story about the distress that is experienced that is caused by change. It is a story about an invitation that was accepted. It is a story about friendship, promises, grace, love, compassion, forgiveness, hope.
So seldom in the profile that is readily available about David do we see such kindness. David is generally thought of as the little shepherd who slew the giant, or committing adultery with Bathseba or running from Saul. We remember him for being a man after God’s own heart, relocating the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, his many wives, the incest in his family between his sons and daughters and his friendship with Jonathan, the son of Saul. It is this friendship with Jonathan that brings us to this story today.
Earlier in Samuel we see a very beautiful friendship between Jonathan and David. We know that they were close because the scripture gives us to know that they loved each other as if it were their own souls. David and Jonathan had bonded together and were very loyal to one another in spite of how Saul felt about David. David and Jonathan had made a covenant of friendship to each other promising that whoever survived or outlived each other would look after each others families. This incident certainly stands as a challenge to us as to how we operate with our friends and what kinds of promises have we made, kept and/or broken. It is also a challenge to honor the promises that we made to our own parents, grandparents and descendants and to do so reflects how we also keep our promises to God.
We are certainly living in a time where all relationships are suspect and challenged. If you have a friend it just seems like everyone is wondering what is going on between them as if there is no such thing as pure friendship. It is equally a concern when friends are friends irregardless of the problems and perceptions of others. You know how it is, people want you to be mad at your friend because they are and they do not seem to understand it when you say, but that doesn’t have anything to do with me. People want you to be mad at a whole family because they had problems with one member of the family. We just can’t seem to separate and deal with the issues.
At any rate, this is a time of much turmoil. Saul had failed as the first king and David is now king. At the time, Jonathan and Saul die in the same battle on Mount Gilboa, Mephibosheth is only five years old at the time. It was chaotic, the king is dead, the prince is dead now what will happen to us? The nurse picks up the child and While running for their lives, drops the Mephibosheth. While she saves his natural life, he is now crippled for life. Mephibosheth belonged to the royal line and thus lived in exile and fear from King David. He was subject to persecution and slander but was rescued due to a promise that was made to his father that he probably never even heard about.
Mephibosheth would still be in trouble if David kept promises like we keep them today. We have trouble keeping our promises to each other in each others face, but David is faced with the challenge of keeping his promise now that his friend is dead. Most kings in the time of David tried to completely destroy the families of their rivals in order to prevent any of the descendants from trying to regain the throne. David did not do that, he actively sought out descendants of his friend. He was told that Jonathan had a son but the son was alive but lame.
His search landed his servants down in Lodebar, a city east of the Jordan River. A city that was characterized by its barrenness, waste lands and devastation. His search took his servants to Lodebar, the city in the midst of the wilderness. Lodebar the place of no pasture. No greenery. It was desolate in Lodebar. Down in Lodebar, Mephibosheth lost his rank, lost his prestige, lost his respectability, lost his reputation, lost his superiority, lost his self-will. Down in Lodebar, Mephibosheth went from living in the palace to hiding out with a family friend. Mephibosheth went from the prince to servant. Mephibosheth went from powerful to afraid.
Now in Lodebar, the orphan Mephibosheth is found and afraid for his life. David did not want to take his life but save it and by restoring to him all that had been taken from him. Mephibosheth was going to have to trust David. Mephibosheth is summoned to the palace and received because of David’s deep love for his father. I remember when Richard and Ryan first arrived here in Atlanta. When Richard was at school everyday, the lady in the cafeteria would look at him and smile and give him extras. He would come home and say, I don’t know why the lady is so nice to me, I don’t ask her for anything and she even says no to the children who ask. I went up to the school to see who this was and Richard pointed her out to me but I didn’t know her. I went up to her and inquired do you know me. She said no I don’t but I know you are Mother Hinsley’s granddaughter and she never let me and my children go without anything. I just wanted to be nice to someone in her family. You never know where your blessing is coming from that’s why you better be kind to everybody.
When Mephibosheth, now 20 years old whose name means “He scatters shame”, or destroying shame, came face to face with David, he fell flat on the floor in an act of submission. He referred to himself as a dead dog meaning he felt like he had no worth or value. Dogs then were not held in such high regard as they are now. Dogs didn’t have their own houses, clothes, doctors, food and the like. That was when a dog was a dog. Dogs were actually disliked and held in contempt. He was comparing himself to something very low and helpless.
He really didn’t know how things were going to work out. All he knew is that Kings had a way of destroying the remnants of the families. But he humbled himself, fell on his face, reverenced the king, confessed his unworthiness. David quickly put Mephibosheth at ease, offered forgiveness and invited him to dine at the kings table and be cared for the rest of his natural life. He was accepted and adopted into the royal family. David took him anyway to the throne and gave back everything that had been taken.
This story of David and Mephibosheth does not end hear. Mephibosheth is really a picture of you and me before God. Until we become God’s children by being born again into his family, we are enemies of God and exiled in Lodebar. God’s enemies are any persons who displease God and break His commandments. Mephibosheth was a member of the enemy family but God had a special invitation waiting for him.
This story is placed here to show us a type of salvation that is available to us through Christ Jesus. Like David, Our Lord searches for us until he finds us. Like David did, Once Jesus finds us, he tries to have a little talk with us. Then if we are willing and ready, our Lord Jesus redeems us. Jesus restores and returns us to our Father’s table in peace. We too are heirs to our heavenly Father’s kingdom but somebody dropped us while we were running for our lives.
David’s love was exemplary of the love of God. It came out of a merciful heart. He didn’t have to find Jonathan’s son, nobody else was there when he made the covenant, nobody knew but David what he had promised, nobody would have even cared. After the way Saul had tried to kill David 23 times, he could have said forget the whole thing. Let them make it the best way that they can. But David was gracious and sought out the undeserving and gave all that could have been his. Only God can touch man and make him do this kind of deed. Mephibosheth was lifted from poverty to plenty through the grace of the king.
Everyday God shows us kindness and mercy.
We are undeserving but He keeps on blessing us anyway.
We are undeserving but He keeps on keeping us.
We are undeserving He keeps only striving with us.
We are undeserving He keeps on forgiving us.
We are undeserving He keeps on loving us. He keeps on coming where we are to bless us and lift us up. God in his lovingkindness offers us everlasting life in His family and to dine at this royal table for the rest of our lives. The choice is ours. We have fallen and are also crippled but we don’t have to stay there.
We are lame from our falls. WE were running for our lives. WE got so busy running till we tripped and fell.
We have fallen into trouble.
We have fallen into confusion.
We have fallen out of the will of God.
We have fallen into sin.
We have fallen into yokes and burdens.
We have fallen our own ways instead of God’s way.
We have fallen into curses.
We have fallen into selfishness.
We have fallen into pride.
You may have even been carried and dropped
dropped by someone who was trying to save you
dropped by someone else’s fall;
dropped by someone else’s sins.
dropped into a place where you didn’t belong.
Now we can’t walk straight.
Everytime you try to get on your feet, you fall down.
Everytime you try to walk, you fall down.
Everytime you make a vow to the Lord you find yourself having to take it back or
Everytime you promise the Lord, I won’t do that no more, you fall down.
Everytime you endeavored to do the right thing, wrong kicked you all over and laughed in your face.
You may be content in Lodebar because you are alive. But Get up.
I know you are crippled by despair
I know you are crippled by death of loved ones
I know you are crippled by disease
I know you are crippled by things from your past,
I know you are crippled by desires that won’t turn you loose,
I know you are in pain
I know you are locked in alcoholism, defeatism.
I implore you today
I invite you today
I entreat you today to come on out of Lo deBar. You can come out!
Come on, you can come on out.
I know that you feel like you are nothing.
I know that you feel like you are nobody.
I know that you’ve been walked on
I know that you have been down so long that you don’t even know which way is up.
But come on, come on, come on, you can come out of Lodebar today.
You don’t belong there. You belong in the kings palace of grace and mercy and you can come back.
Come out of Lodebar, there’s nothing but death for you there.
Come out of Lodebar, there’s only defeat for you there.
Come out of Lodebar, where there is wasted land there.
Come out of Lodebar, there is no pasture there. Even in the valley, there are green pastures.
Come out of Lodebar, to a pure relationship with God.
Come out of Lodebar, to victory over Satan.
Come out of Lodebar, to victory in Jesus.
Satan wants you to think that you won’t make it outside of Lodebar. But come on out, you can make it.
God has something better for you.
God has a way out for you.
You don’t have to die in sin.
God has prepared a way of escape for you, just walk in it. Just walk, waddle, crawl, but go through the door of repentance. Repent, Repent, Repent.
God has a place for you in his palace.
** This message is included in the book entitled Surviving the Times" by Dr. Lytia Howard