A king without a kingdom is an imposter. So is a King without enemies. Though our modern sensibilities take offence at enemies, battle and bloodshed, they were facts of life in Bible times, and certainly for King David. David faces them, because he is the king, and he is successful. North, south, east and west, the King’s enemies are defeated (vv.1-6), because “the Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (v.6). His statement of Psalm 118.43-45 is especially true of this period of his life: “You have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me. As soon as they hear of me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.”
This wise king is also merciful. “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake”, he inquires (2 Sam. 9.1). David has no war with Saul’s line, but has been showing Saul’s house forgiveness and welcome since his death. Now he meets Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. And he graces him. Reconciliation, land, fellowship, all shown to a man undeserving of David’s favour and, due to his disability, unable to work to look after himself (vv.7-13).
This is the Gospel, and the King of the Gospel. The undeserving are brought to the King’s house, not to find judgment but mercy, and the riches of shared love. King Jesus gives His love to the helpless and undeserved, and welcomes us into His Kingdom, His home and His heart. Our King delights to show mercy. This is the wonder of the Cross.
“Bless and do not curse” (Ro. 12.14) is the grace of the Gospel, and it is the way of David’s discipleship, and of ours.
A Prayer to Pray
Lord, teach me to be a disciple, brave to fight battles as I should, braver still to live in forgiveness and friendship. Teach me to live as Jesus did. Amen.