The baby's birth was celebrated as only the birth of a King's son can be.
Loving arms and royal affluence withheld nothing needful or desirable for the child.
His name? Mephibosheth.
A difficult name to pronounce was perhaps the first indication that an easy life was not to be for this dear child.
His loving father, however, hid a nugget of hope in the meaning of the name he bestowed upon his son -- 'dispeller of shame'.
It was the child's grandfather, Saul, that brought the shame upon his life. The child was only five years old when disaster struck the house of King Saul.
News of the deaths of Mephibosheth's father and grandfather reached the palace causing an immediate panic as everyone fled for their lives.
The young child's nurse could not bear to leave her charge behind and snatched him up in her arms to carry him with her. Somehow, an accident happened, perhaps she stumbled and dropped the boy, who at five years of age would have been heavy. His legs were injured in the fall leaving him permanently crippled.
We hear nothing more of this boy through the rest of his childhood and into his adult life until years later.
Then one day, someone came to Mephibosheth's door asking for him by name.
Not someone he recognized - it was a stranger who commanded Mephibosheth to immediately accompany him. The King was demanding that he appear before him!
Mephibosheth was terrified. He knew the stories of how wickedly his grandfather had treated David and how he had tried many times to take his life. Now David was king and obviously wanting to even the score -- take his just revenge!
Trembling, he was brought to the throne on which David sat. Not even daring to raise his eyes, he fell on his face pleading that he was a willing servant.
Imagine how his trembling fear turned to disbelief - when he heard the king kindly say ... "Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for Jonathan, your father's sake and I will restore to you all the land of Saul , your grandfather !"
That was unbelievable enough .. but then came the promise....
"YOU shall eat bread at my table continually!"
Mephibosheth, having lived with shame all his life was unable to grasp the 'dispelling' of it and questioned ... "WHY?? why would you do this, why even look at a dead dog such as I?"
But it was true... the King's blessings were poured upon Mephibosheth and he was treated as one of the King's sons, sharing the King's table for the rest of his life.
(II Sam. 4 and 9)
A beautiful story of love, is it not?
When I reread the story recently, I thought of how the story is really a picture of our own experience!
Adam and Eve stumbled in the garden of Eden and each of us fell as a result. Each of us has been crippled under the shame of sin.
We lived fearful of the judgement we deserved.
Then one day, we heard the Good News that God was calling for us ! That He had, in fact, chosen us for the sake of His Son !
We approached Him hesitantly, afraid to believe, and yet .. It was true !! God's offer of love and salvation would 'dispel the shame' we had carried all our life.
His countenance smiles upon us in love, exchanging our shame for His righteousness and joy !
He calls us sons and daughters, inviting us to eat at the King of King's table forever !!
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.." I John 3:1
".... that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom..." Luke 22:30