Do you read or write a blog? I enjoy reading blogs every once in a while…and writing them too.
I have recently seen a blog on Yahoo.com; it talks about people like Kelly Osborne, Nicole Richie and other famous and not so famous people.
What all these people have in common is not just the fact that they are celebrities, and it is not talent or accomplishments but the fact that they are the offspring of VERY, VERY accomplished individuals.
In most cases, when I read the blog I thought…”hey I did not know that John Lennon or Frank Sinatra had a son who sings too…(this might be news for you too)….
The person who writes the blog makes very harsh judgments on the talent of those people who have attempted to follow in the footsteps of their famous parents, but have fallen short of people’s expectations.…
As weird as it sounds, I enjoyed reading the blog, but my favorite part was not the blog itself, but the comments that people wrote in response…
One lady wrote that she thought that none of these ‘celebrities’ would have been there in the first place if they did not belong to the ‘family’. What family is she referring to?
Obviously the family of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and all those legendary figures of entertainment and music…basically she’s saying that anybody who has such powerful connections has an opportunity, and edge, an advantage that not very many “common” people have…regardless of talent.
Mephiboseth Ben Jonathan
The bible narrates a similar case of the son of someone famous and talented…we find the story of Mephiboseth in the 1st and 2nd book of Samuel. Mephiboseth was a prince; he was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. Let’s read the story in the bible…
2 Samuel 9
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
1 One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2 He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked.
“Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied.
3 The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.”
Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
2nd Samuel 4:4 (New Living Translation)
4 (Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth,[b] who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled.
4 “Where is he?” the king asked.
“In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.”
5 So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. 6 His name was Mephibosheth[a]; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”
8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household.[b] But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
Ziba replied, 11 “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table,[c] like one of the king’s own sons.
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants.
13 And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.
Mephiboseth’s story would’ve fit perfectly the “infamous-celebrity-children-who-fall-short-of-their-parents-legacy” blog titled “tarnishing the family name”. Mephiboseth was a prince, however he was not living in a palace and he did not live up to the fame or talents of his father or grandfather who had been warriors and prominent people (at that time royalty was the closest thing to a celebrity).
The bible says that when David asked about Mephiboseth’s whereabouts, the answer was that he was living in a place called “lo-debar” which means “place of nought” (not means nothing by the way…I had to look it up 😉 )…so basically Mephiboseth was living in insignificance…coming from a family of kings, that is falling very short of the legacy of his predecessors who had lived in palaces and held the most powerful positions in their country at that time.
Unlike the blog titled “tarnishing the family name”, Mephiboseth’s story does not end on a negative note… The bible tells us that one day, the most important person in the nation of Israel; King David, asked an unusual question, he asked “Is there anyone still alive from Saul’s family, if so I want to show kindness to him”…This is a very unusual and almost unnatural question for a new king to ask about a previous King’s family….
In that time, whenever a new ruler (such as David) came to the power, what usually happened was that the new ruler would kill all the descendants and family of the previous ruler so as to assure that no one would try to come and take the back power. However David acted contrary to what would’ve been expected in this case….instead of pursuing Mephiboseth’s demise, he brought him to the palace and he ate at the kings table regularly says the bible.
How did this happen? If we look back at the story of David, we see that he was best friends with Jonathan…and they made a covenant, or in today’s words; a deal.
Jonathan and David
Jonathan and David’s friendship is remarkable….The loyalty that these two men promised each other goes against any common sense at that time…David and Jonathan would’ve been natural rivals…Jonathan was the natural successor of Saul for the throne of Israel, but David was the “anointed” successor for that same throne…Jonathan recognized God’s will and he did not fight it, as a matter of fact, he saved David’s life and helps him escape his father Saul putting his own life at risk….(you can read the story in 1st Samuel 20).
Years later, by helping Mephiboseth, David does the same thing for Jonathan (even after Jonathan is already dead). .
I want to draw a comparison between Mephiboseth and us, and how the fact that God is our father through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross can make our lives different for the better beyond what we could aspire or hope on our own natural resources & abilities.
First of all, the bible says that Mephiboseth circumstances crippled Mephiboseth, and his life became insignificant…
Mephiboseth was disabled, he had lost everything and because of a tragic event in his past he could not move freely, he was bound to a place, and the name of the place was lo-debar a place of nought (nothingness, zero, insignificance).
Nowadays we can find many people who are disabled, and I do not mean only people who are physically handicapped but people who might be crippled in their emotions or in their thinking. Maybe because of some loss or tragic experience in their past, they do not feel free…
To illustrate this I would like to quote the tale of the experiment with five monkeys…
It started with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, the scientist hung a banana on a string and placed a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey went to the stairs and started to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touched the stair, all the monkeys were sprayed with ice cold water. After a while, another monkey made an attempt with the same result-all the monkeys were sprayed with ice cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tried to climb the stairs, the other monkeys tried to prevent it.
As a second stage of the experiment, the scientist turned off the cold water. He also removed one monkey from the cage and replaced it with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and tried to climb the stairs. To his surprise, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he knew that if he tried to climb the stairs he would be assaulted.
Next, another of the original monkeys was removed and replaced with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and was attacked. The previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Again, the scientist replaced a third monkey with a new one. The new one went to the stairs and was attacked…
After replacing the fourth and fifth monkeys with new ones, all the monkeys that had been sprayed with cold water had been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approached the stairs. Why not? Because they were bound by negative thoughts or negative emotions…just like Mephiboseth was physically crippled by a negative incident in his past….the monkeys had been crippled emotionally by a negative incident in their past.
It is no different with the rest of us, negativity in our past can cripple us from attempting greatness in our future. Negativity takes many forms, one of them is sin. Sin cripples people, the bible says that sin ensnares us and binds us the bible describes it in Prov 5:22 and Hebrews 13.
In general a person suffering from a disability cannot change their circumstances very easily and they need external help… Mephiboseth found this valuable help through David’s fulfillment of his deal with Jonathan, his father. Even before Mephiboseth was born, Jonathan made a sacrifice and a covenant requesting that Mephiboseth be treated with “faithful love” 1 Sam. 20:15….
Christ, our Jonathan
Mephiboseth’s life went from a place of insignificance to having access to the most powerful man in Israel. Through Christ, we can also have access to God, who is ALLMIGHTY. We belong to his kingdom and to his family. The bible describes in the book of Jeremiah, and in the New Testament how God, even before we were born, has opened the doors of his kingdom to us through Jesus’ sacrifice. Just like Mephiboseth ate regularly at the King’s table, Jesus invites us to enter into a daily relationship with him.
David was eager to fulfill his promise to Jonathan…this is how the passage starts. Helping Mephiboseth was David’s initiative. Similarly, God’s help to us available through a relationship with Jesus Christ …God is eager to fulfill his promises to us, to bless us and to give us access to himself.