Transformation Garden - July 28, 2010

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"The king said, ‘Is there not still someone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the unfailing, unsought, unlimited mercy and kindness of God?'" 
II Samuel 9: 3, Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION     

Exceptional Mercy

"Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice." 
Miguel de Cervantes

What does it mean to me to show "exceptional mercy?"

Who are the individuals in my life who could benefit from the gift of mercy being showered upon them?

How has my own life been blessed by God's mercy?

"Mercy, also, is a good thing, for it makes (us) perfect, in that it imitates the perfect Father. Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy." 
St. Ambrose

INSPIRATION

"Teach me to feel another's woe, to hide the fault I see; that mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me." 
Alexander Pope 
Poet

He was a man who was exceptionally blessed by heaven with a strength that conquered nations and a generosity that returned to God all the gifts that were bestowed upon him. But David's exceptional qualities were not limited to blessing and giving. In addition, he ruled with a keen sense of justice and righteousness. True and faithful to his God, David stood "right" before the Lord.

However, to add to this list of heavenly traits, we find, in a very personal example, exactly how David's behavior in his daily life, reflected the words of Moses and the prophet Micah, for he did what God required by doing "justly, and having loving kindness and mercy, and humbling himself and walking humbly with His God." (Micah 6: 8, Deuteronomy 10: 12, 13).

Nowhere do we see the quality of mercy so beautifully displayed in the life of David than in an experience recorded in II Samuel 9: 1-13.

In fact, all of Chapter 9 in II Samuel is dedicated to the story of David and Mephibosheth, Jonathon's crippled son.

As we have learned, David and Jonathon, King Saul's son, were the closest of friends. They declared a pact with one another, not only to protect each other, but to take care of each other's family. However, at the time of Jonathon's death in battle, as often happened during those bloody days, relatives of former rulers were killed off so they would not try to lead an uprising later and challenge a new king. Evidently, a day came when the thoughts of times past filled David's mind and he decided to inquire if there were any family members living who belonged to the house of Saul.  On behalf of his friendship with Jonathon, David wanted to show them kindness and mercy (I Samuel 20: 14-17.)

A servant from Saul's house, named Ziba, was brought to David with information that Jonathon still had a son who was alive and who was "lame in the feet" (II Samuel 9: 3). Apparently, as a young child, in her haste to protect Jonathon's son, the child's nurse had dropped him or he had fallen and it was likely some type of fractures made it difficult for the child to walk.

As soon as David found out about Mephibosheth, he sent for him and returned to Jonathon's son all the land and possessions that belonged to his family. Then in an act of exceptional mercy and kindness, David asked Mephibosheth to continually sit at the king's table for all his meals - a place that was designated for the family of the king.

But there's even one more note I want to point out in this story. II Samuel 9:13 says, "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king's table, even though he was lame in both feet.

Not only was it common for kings to wipe out all the relatives of those who might threaten their rulership, but in addition, even the book of Leviticus notes that those who were blind and lame were considered, "blemished." This really touches my heart in a very sensitive spot as I daily have to look at my deformed left foot as well as the broken feet and ankles of my husband, Jim.  Injuries like ours in specific times in history would have made us undesirable, outcasts. We would be considered blemished and unfit to sit at the king's table. However, as the word mercy so beautifully means, "kindness in excess of what may be expected," David didn't use his power to push Mephibosheth down but to lift him up. He didn't shove the blemished young man away, he drew him close to himself - David brought Mephibosheth into his family. And this exceptional act of merciful kindness reminds me of a story Jesus told in Luke 14 where He informed His followers that He would welcome to his table the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. For as Jesus instructed, this mercy shown to others on earth, is the mercy that heaven showers in return on each of us or as J. P. Lange so aptly penned: "The merciful fall into the arms of mercy."

I just love this story for it exhibits the loving-kindness of David to one who was considered a blemished outcast and who could rightly have fallen under the power of David's ruling hand, yet instead, this outcast was touched by exceptional mercy which drew the broken son to the table of the king.

The words of noted theologian Karl Barth represent to me, the way you and I, imperfect and flawed as we may be, can and should respond to the exceptional mercy bestowed upon us by our own heavenly King: "When once the day comes when I have to appear before my Lord, then I will not come with my deeds, with the volumes of my "Dogmatics" on my back. All the angels there would have to laugh. But then I shall also not say, ‘I have always meant well; I had good faith.' No, then I will only say one thing, ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a poor sinner!'"

"God's ways are always truth and justice and mercy." 
Yves Congar

AFFIRMATION

A Prayer of Mercy

"View me, Lord, a work of Thine: 
Shall I then lie drowned in might? 
Might Thy grace in me but shine, 
I should seem made all of light. 
But my soul still surfeits so 
On the poisoned baits of sin, 
That I strange and ugly grow, 
All is dark and foul within. 
Cleanse me, Lord, that I may kneel 
At Thine altar, pure and white; 
They that once Thy mercies feel, 
Gaze no more on earth's delight. 
Worldly joys like shadows fade, 
When the heavenly light appears; 
But the covenants Thou hast made, 
Endless, know nor days, nor years. 
In Thy word, Lord, is my trust, 
To Thy mercies fast I fly; 
Though I am but clay and dust, 
Yet Thy grace can life me high." 
Thomas Campion

Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@Transformationgarden.com

P.S.  My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com   You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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