“He is lame in both feet” was the description of the son of Jonathan, given by Ziba, a servant of King Saul’s household, to David when he enquired “Is there anyone still left in the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? (2 Samuel 9:1). When the news about Saul and Jonathan having died in the battle at Mount Gilboa, Jonathan’s five year old son, Mephibosheth, was saved from the expected massacre of the king’s descendants by a nurse. But while she hurried to leave, the young child fell and became disabled (2 Samuel 4:4).
The nurse fled with him to Gilead and took shelter in the house of Machir in Lo-debar. The place name means ‘Without Pasture’ (Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Names) or perhaps it implies ‘No Word’, a derogatory name expressing lack of knowledge or enlightenment. In either case it means a place with no resources being located in wilderness with least outside contact. May be this is the reason for the nurse to choose the location, to save the young boy from likely assailants. The new King not only had him brought out of oblivion but restored all the lands of Saul to him and blessed him to permanently dine at his table as one of his sons. The name Mephibosheth in itself may be translated as ‘dispeller of shame’ and the young man obtained honor from King David to wipe out the shame of the treatment that Saul meted out to David and the humiliation of his physical condition having been hidden under the table of the King’s grace and mercy.
After their disobedience in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were destined to be in Lo-debar, barred from the ‘Tree of Life’ and direct fellowship with God, the provider of all enlightenment. Our Savior Lord Jesus ‘empties Himself’ of His Divine status and power to put on the sinful form of man to enable us to join Him at His table to partake of the heavenly Manna while our infirmities are hidden under the table. Thus we are not to be content with “the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table” like the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:21) but to be a guest of honor at the Lord’s Table. We may turn away from Him to squander away His choicest gifts on our ‘lusts of the flesh, but He as ever sits waiting for the Prodigal son to return back to Him. The Father in His mercy and love provides a new life (new clothes) with new authority (His ring) and restored ownership rights (sandals) to the repentant son.
King David looked for “someone from Saul’s house to show kindness” and our Lord comes Himself looking for us “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20). And He goes much beyond sharing of His mercies but is ready to give “the right to sit with Me on My throne” to the one who is victorious.
So what does He offer after the door is opened to welcome Him? The very first blessing is ‘He comes in’ and that means to empower and guide in all battles through regular fellowship and to ‘do whatsoever you ask in prayer’. God Himself comes and sets up His Divine throne in our spirit making it “the temple of God” and the Holy Spirit then leads and prays with and for us in conformity with the God’s will. Since “He Himself suffered when he was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18), as indwelling God He provides direct guidance to the chosen ones who believe in Him. Thirdly, He takes control of ‘His sheep’ and as a Good Shepherd leads us to a situation of abundance despite the ever present threat of the ‘evil one’ to cause death. The next blessing is to pour shame on our enemies and He “prepare(s) a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:1-5).
Does He expect anything from us in return for such bounties? Whatsoever we have, even this life is a gift from God and the only present we can bring to His throne is to “continually offer to God sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that openly profess His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Joseph was thrown in to the well, sold as a slave, put in prison and then finally blessed to be “next to Pharaoh” as Prime Minister. Yet when his brothers finally arrived in his presence Joseph commanded his steward “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal, they are to eat with me at noon” (Genesis 43:16). The grave offense and resultant sufferings were forgotten and the only remembrance was to praise God “because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Genesis 45:5). On offer in his tearful embrace was forgiveness, acceptance, oneness with his brothers and offer of new life full of opportunities.
In our ever doubtful minds the question always lurks to create a sense of unbelief “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?” (Psalm 78:19). We focus on our present situation more than the past blessings of God and try to belittle His mighty name. Matthew 22 relates the parable of a the kingdom of heaven as of a certain king who arranged the marriage for his son, invited many prominent people, got the banquet ready but the invitees “made light of it (the invitation) and went their ways” (verse 5). Finally others from the highways, not considered worthy by most, were invited to partake of the “wares on the table”. Indeed “Many are called, but few are chosen” (verse 14), the ‘knock on the door’ goes unanswered and the banquet enjoyed by others who heed the call.
The Divine invitation does not have any hidden strings attached to it, absolutely nothing is expected, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). His kingdom is where He is, inside of us. The twelve had deserted the Lord at the final hour, while one had led those who came to arrest and Simon Peter denied having known Him at all. Yet, the Lord was ready to bless them with “a fire of coals and fish laid on it, and bread” with the invitation “Come and eat breakfast” (John 21:9, 12). Long forgiven and forgotten was the denial and desertion but as per His loving nature, He was there to again teach them about love and new responsibilities. To the same Peter abundant blessings in the form of new responsibilities to “Feed My lambs; Tend My sheep and Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17) was given with the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the same.
The Lord did not condemn Thomas for doubting His resurrection but readily offered His hands and side for physical verification of His identity. He is ready to answer your doubts also when you answer the knock to welcome Him. Maybe someone has brought His Word to you, take that as the ‘knock’ and “seek Him”. You will certainly find Him for that is the promise of the only Living God (Matthew 7:7). His promise is sure and truthful “I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me. That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30).
The table is set and on offer is not only physical satiation during this life but kingship forever. Are you ready to open the door??