Levi Lusko - Your Presence is Requested
We're glad to have you here with us as we begin this brand new collection, a brand new season in our church that we're calling The Table. And we're going to be talking about how God wants to use a spirit of hospitality to expand the kingdom to bless your life and your family and to change the world. That's the series. You made it. Thanks for being here. It's going to be incredible. And we're going to start in second Samuel chapter 9 if you have a Bible or a way to get there. And I'm going to bring to you a message today that I'm calling Your Presence is Requested. Your Presence is Requested.
The gospel is best understood in the context of an invitation being accepted to come to a meal, to come to sit at a table. To be invited to anywhere should be an honor. It doesn't always feel that way. Jennie got an invitation to be on the jury duty pool this year. Her presence has been requested. It didn't quite strike the same feeling as being thought of when someone's having a wedding or someone's having a birthday party. To be invited in, though, to have your presence requested is language that is gospel through and through. I've had some strange invitations to appear in some odd groups. I got invited once to come and speak to all the Christian psychologists in the country coming together.
And I thought to myself, that's exactly how many psychologists it would take to sort out the problems going on in my life. I can't miss the chance to be in a room with 3,000 psychologists. I got invited one time to give a chapel before a professional boxing match in Las Vegas. Manny Pacquiao had heard me preach at a church and he wanted, before going into the ring to fight, to have a Bible study as he would often do before fighting. And so he said, would you come? And what was so weird about the timing of it all. I mean, it was a huge honor and I did it and it was awesome. And then to watch him fight was amazing, but it was during our yearly fast where we were setting aside food. I don't know if you know what it's like to walk through the casinos of Las Vegas looking for carrot sticks.
There are not a lot of Daniel diet approved menu items in Las Vegas. And it was like being in the midst of the belly of the whale of all temptation. Is there an Impossible Burger anywhere in this city? But the gospel is all about being invited about being welcomed in. And you've probably heard me say before as we come to this Old Testament text, second Samuel chapter 9, that Augustine was the one who said that the Old Testament is a fully furnished room. It's just dimly lit. That everything we know and love in the New Testament when we understand grace, and mercy, and the church, and Jesus's return, all of these things that have been revealed to us. Now, they were already there. It was just dimly lit.
And so what we're going to do today is we're going to step into the dining room. We're going to look at the table. The table, the invitation to the table that is the gospel message. And it's going to be really incredible and honestly profound through the weeks of this series to look at some of the poignant moments in scripture that have to do with a meal that have to do with sitting as we are here in this moment at a table. It's been said that if you take away all of the meals and the mountains from scripture, you'll have almost nothing left. And that's because so much of the narrative so much of the teaching is communicated through meals, and on top of mountains. And there are indeed meals that take place on top of mountains.
And so we're going to look at one of them that is among the most powerful, the most informed at communicating the gospel. The gospel feast, the invitation to the banquet through a story that took place in the life of Jesus's ancestor, and that is David. One of Jesus's nicknames was the son of David or is the son of David. He literally was related to this great shepherd King. They were both, they had a lot in common. Both born in Bethlehem. Shepherds were involved in both of their stories in interesting ways. And one very powerful episode that communicates the gospel perhaps clearer than anywhere else in the Bible, Old and New Testament alike, takes place in the second Samuel chapter 9. This is about 10 years or so. It's hard to pin down exactly because there are not chronological clues given in the text, but David has been King for over 10 years and things are going very well. They have peace from their enemies. They've advanced the kingdom.
So they're doing well economically and militarily, but they're also doing really well spiritually as they've taken the great city Jerusalem, and David has brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Jerusalem to establish at the heart of the people of God this worship of who He is. His presence was involved in bringing the Ark into the city. They were saying to God your presence is requested. And this is, of course, laying the groundwork for the temple that would be built by his son Solomon, and of course, the glory of God like it did in Moses day in the Tabernacle would show up. It would be so thick with God's presence and God's glory. The priest couldn't even continue working. It was clear that God's invitation that they had given to him to come to be in the city was accepted.
As we know, in Jesus, the invitation is accepted when we ask him to come into our hearts. He is willing to come in as well. That's what we're saying when we pray that prayer asking God to come into our lives. We're saying, God, in my life, your presence is requested. And the Bible says that God draws near to those who draw near to Him. God has never once turned down an invitation. God will never ghost you when you ask him to come into your heart, into your life, into your family. So let's look now at what a King does when everything is going really well. What a King does when he's being blessed on virtually every single front. It says, Now David said, "is there still anyone who is left of the House of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake".
And there was a servant of the House of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the King said to him, "are you Ziba"? He said, "at your service". Then the King said, "is there not still someone of the House of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God". And Ziba said to the King, "there is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet". So the King said to him, "Where is he"? And Ziba said to the King, "Indeed he is in the House of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar". Then King David sent and brought him out of the House of Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar. Now in Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David. He fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, "Mephibosheth"? And he answered, "Here's your servant"! So David said to him, "Do not fear".
In other translations, it's do not be afraid. One of 360 plus times in scripture that, by the way, is used. One for every single day of the week. Do not fear, which is constantly a choice. You have to choose to not live in fear. The Bible never says, don't feel afraid. But the Bible does say that we get to choose to not be afraid. Continue in fear. Give our lives over to fear. Let's not live afraid. "For I will surely show you", this is a really powerful word. "Kindness. I want to show you kindness". I have power. I want to show that power to you. Express it to you through, not military might, but kindness. "For Jonathan your father's sake. And I will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather, and you shall eat bread at my table continually. Then he bowed himself and said", notice this, "What is your servant that you should look upon such a dead dog as I"?
This is how Mephibosheth sees himself. "And the King called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, 'I have given to your master's son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest that your master's son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread at my table always.' Now Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants. Then Ziba said to the King, 'according to all that my Lord the King has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.' 'As for Mephibosheth,' said the King, 'he shall eat at my table...'" this is so special, "...Like one of the King's sons".
Mephibosheth had a young son also whose name was Micha or Micha. I don't even know how to pronounce that. And all who dwell in the House of Ziba were now servants of Mephibosheth. And that dude rolled with an entourage. He had so many sons and servants, 20 servants 15 sons. It's way too many kids, all right. But now they all work for Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwell in Jerusalem, don't miss this. For he ate continually at the King's table. You heard of the chef's tables. The Kings table, y'all. And notice the story ends how it began with an information, with a piece of information that we don't think we need because we've already been given it. Notice he was lame in both his feet. We will pick that up and talk about why that is significant in a moment, but first, would you pray with me?
God, thank you for this moment. Thank you that we get to sit here studying your scripture aware of your presence. Having sung to you at all of our locations and through the Pando app. God behind bars into prisons. Your word can't be chained as it goes out into homes, and to gyms, and cars, into ears through AirPods all across the country and world. And we're just aware of your great love for us. You have no beginning. You have no end. And so as we sit here on whatever moment we are in as you speak to us, you who are outside of time saw exactly this moment. Before you even sculpted the world, you saw this moment and you knew how you wanted to convey your love to us.
And so I just pray that we would have ears to hear what you're saying to us. And I thank you, God, that this is not an ordinary time. This is an extraordinary moment that you want to use us to do great things. But these things first have to take root inside of us before they can flow out of us. And so, God, we've come to receive from you by giving our attention and our adoration to you. And we pray your blessings on every single person listening, every single person participating. And we ask this in Jesus' name, Amen. Throughout the series, and we do hope you come back and not miss a single one of the moments as we move through this series. It really is built to be one message strewn out over multiple weeks. But we're going to be talking about how God wants to use your table, your table in your home.
I don't care if you live in the tiniest studio apartment and your table is a turned over milk crate with two tiny little pillows you sit on. That's your table. And it can be sanctified, and it can be blessed, and it can be used. I have a strong conviction that a table is the heart of the home. And I want to talk about the power of your table in your house, both to bless your family and to bless yourself, but also to bless and to touch the world. We're going to be talking about how the church is meant to be seen like a table. The church at its best is like a table. And this is all over the Ministry of Jesus. But we need to start by just understanding and appreciating what powers at all, and that is the fact that grace, and grace is the only way anybody can be saved.
By grace, you have been saved through faith. Not of yourselves, lest anyone should boast. It is the gift of God. How grace is like an invitation to a table. And that is exactly what we see here. Your presence is, well, we could say requested. But it's the King saying it. So it's more like, your presence is required. And that would have been a scary thing. Now, let me just quickly say inserting in here a way that we want to make this series take on a whole new life and this season in the life of our church just be more delicious, and that is something that we can all do that will help and bless and enhance all of our lives.
So what I want to ask is every single person, if you'll do me a favor. Every single person, grab your phone. If you're watching at home if you're watching on the podcast later, grab your phone and take a picture of this QR code. And of course, as you do so, it'll give you a little prompt of what's the link is. If you hold your camera over it, you're going to get the link here. And if you do that, grabbing that link, what's that going to do? That's going to take you to a portal where you can share a recipe. We just want you to think in your life of your favorite recipe. It could be a nostalgic recipe. It could be a stolen recipe. Yeah, I'm looking at you Nestle Toll House. This doesn't have to be original to you. You didn't have to have figured it out yourself. This could just be a meaningful meal for you. Biscuits, or cinnamon rolls, or stews, or a roast. It could be a dessert. It could be a salad.
If it means something to you, I want you to share. But I'm going to also ask, and you're going to be told as a part of it, as you give the steps, and as you give the ingredients list, and as you give any pro tips, and as you give, sort of like when I say a pinch, I mean, just a pinch. And the salt has to roll down your elbow on the way, whatever it is, OK. What I want you to do is to tell a little bit of the story of why this means something to you. Take me back, Ratatouille. Take me with you into the childhood bowels of your imagination, and when this first meant something to you and why. And when it happens what has to be on in the background, like if you can't make this meal without It's a Wonderful Life playing with the volume off. Whatever it is, here's what we're going to do. For every single person who's willing to share a recipe, we're going to send you the rest of the recipe.
So you're going to get, only if you share, everybody else's as well. And what Jennie and I are going to be doing throughout this series is we're going to be trying to cook as many of these as possible. I plan to put on so much weight through The Table Series. And so isn't this amazing? Won't this be so beautiful? And you'll get to know the Myers family in Saint Louis makes ribs this way and you'll get to try it out, and we'll all get to have something happen all across the holidays that will just be a blessing. Amen. It's going to be awesome. So you got to do that. All right, so we want to start with why is Grace like a table, and what do we need to really feel the impact of this story that would make it so significant in the scope and survey of scripture?
Well, first of all, we have to understand this begins with animosity. That's the first word I need you to write down. Six words move us through this text and help us to understand its power and weight. And you cannot properly understand this without understanding the deep-seated animosity between these two houses. This is old-school Game of Thrones, baby. OK, or House of the Dragon or whatever you want to describe The Game of Thrones, basically, it's Dungeons and Dragons with pornography. But here's, a rose by any other name still smells like crap. All right. So in this text, we find the descendant of the now deceased King Saul being summoned by the competing family, royal family David.
You see, Saul was the first King in Israel and he was just this person who wanted to hold on to the throne with just the iron grasp with his dying breath. All he wanted was to retain power. He didn't start out like that, but he stopped being small in his own eyes. And in God's kingdom, when you're too big to serve, you're too small to lead. And David lost that tender loving servant feel, or Saul rather lost that tender loving feeling of being a servant of being small in his own eyes. He started out small, but then as God began to use him he began to think God was using him because of him and not in spite of him. All right. And so he had warning after warning and then he basically lost his mind, and his story ends very badly. But in the middle of it is a massive spirit of jealousy. This jealousy. He began to be suspicious of David.
This man that all he ever wanted to do was help Saul. He helped Saul with his tantrums. He helped Saul with his bad moods. If Saul had a giant problem... Yo, David solved it. Check out the hook. When DJ revolves it. Ice, ice David. That's his story. He takes care of Goliath. He becomes an amazing son-in-law to Saul. And in battle after battle, he proves himself that if there's a situation that needs to be taken care of, David will take care of it and he'll do it for Saul. And so people began to sing a song that really grated under Saul's skin. It was Saul has slain his thousands. Saul liked that part. That was his jam. Play that part again. Saul has slain his thousands. But then the remix was but David has slain tens of thousands. Uh-oh. Saul didn't like that part. And this became a number one hit, right?
It was all people were singing. And then there was like the techno remix, and then finally what really I think spelled doom for David was the country Western version, which was Saul shot a rabbit but David got himself a buck. Saul drives a hybrid but David got himself a truck. And when that one got onto the radio, Saul lost his mind and he began to try and throw sharp pointy things at David and he tried to kill, he got so crazy about it that his own son Jonathan one day said, dad, why are you trying to kill David? All he's ever done is look out for you. And Saul said you have no idea. As long as he lives, you won't be King. And Jonathan said he wants to serve you. And so then Saul threw a spear his own son who he wanted to be King.
Now, I am not a smart man, Jennie. But if Jonathan's dead, how can he be King? Which is what supposedly Saul is doing this for. And he illustrates this very important theological truth. Are you ready for it? Sin makes you stupid. I'm in my all-consuming quest to provide for my family. And so I'm never there to help and be with my family. And so in the end, I lose the very thing that supposedly I was seeking to get in the first place. Sin makes you stupid. And so really truly his story ends in madness. And David becomes King after both Saul and Jonathan perish on the same day on the battlefield. Saul doesn't anyhow end well. And with it, his line is stamped out. No more will a Benjamite sit on the throne. No more will a descendant of Saul sit on the throne in Israel. And instead, God says, I have given your throne to another.
Someone better than you. Someone who will start out small and hopefully remain small. He chose a man after God's own heart. Not someone tall and buff and charismatic. That was all David's older brothers. David was sort of the runt of the litter. He wasn't even invited to the King picking party. He was out taking care of the sheep writing worship songs. He had his eyes on God. And so David's dynasty begins. David's throne is established. And God promises, God covenants with David that your lineage, your throne will never end. And of course, he's speaking through that about the fact that one day Jesus will come, the son of David, of the same tribe, the lion of the tribe of Judah. And He will literally reign forever on the earth. Amen, somebody. That's called the Book of Revelation. That's called God keeping his promises to David, an everlasting reign of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.
And so as we jump into second Samuel chapter 9, Saul and Jonathan have been dead for nearly a decade. It would seem maybe even longer. David's on the throne. He's doing a really great job at being King. And one day, he wakes up and goes I wonder if there's anyone alive in Saul's family. Now, this would be a completely normal thing for kings to ask themselves in that day only for very, very different reasons. Why? Wakanda. Hello? You don't want Michael B. Jordan showing up one day. Knock-knock-knock, I should be King as well. You don't want that happening.
So what do you have to do? In the ancient world, the moment you took the throne the search was immediate and swift, and the retribution was fiery and final. For anybody who potentially one day could amass a contest of the throne, you would consolidate your power and wipe out. This is even in the animal kingdom. They do this. The apex predators will wipe out the competing bloodlines. They only want their bloodline to continue. And so you better be sure that when Mephibosheth gets the summons to the palace he thinks this is for one thing so that I can be executed. David wants to have you over for dinner. Uh-huh. Right. Because that throne, man, and the head of that table, this royal table.
This is where David sits. And from where he sits, the power of life and death. He says off with his head, well, guess what? Mephibosheth is not long for this earth. So it is with terror that Mephibosheth presents himself at your service expecting to die. So this animosity, we have to understand this to properly let this text sink in. The second thing we need to understand is that Mephibosheth has been dealing with grave poverty. Second word. What do you mean? I mean, he lives in a place Lo Debar. Do you know what debar means? Pasture or food. A place to let your animals eat so that you can live. Do you know what Lo means in Hebrew? It means no, yo. No Debar. He literally moved to a place and is living in a place called no food. No pasture.
Some say it could also be translated no communication, meaning there's not mail coming and going. There's not like, oh yeah, let's all go to Lo Debar. It's like Needles, California. I don't know if you ever been there. There's nothing. There's no one. Nothing will grow there. There's no life there. This is a place with its best days behind it. This is where he ends up, it's the middle of nowhere. And not only living in poverty but living in poverty, which was such a contrast to his upbringing. If you're the grandson to the grandiose King Saul, oh, man, as he grew up, Mephibosheth has memories of feasts that went on into the night. Course after course after course. And what would his life have been like being raised to be the future King? He would have had a servants. He would have had tutors. I imagine one of them being British. I know logistically and historically that's impossible, but that's how I imagine it. So you do your own Bible reading, right?
So his tutor comes in. Young master, it's time to waken. You must have archery and then get on your horse. And you know, yes, Alfred. It's like, because he's going to be King one day. He's the young Bruce Wayne. And after Jonathan's King, it's fallen on Mephibosheth. So his entire life there's the knowledge of what's coming for him to sit at that table at the head seat and to be the head honcho. So he's sleeping on the finest sheets. He's eating the finest foods. But then one day dad dies. Now I'm an orphan. Now one day the King dies. Now my grandpa's not the King. No one's afraid of Mephibosheth anymore. No one wants anything from him. No one is greasing him up. No one wants to be his friend. It's like the Prodigal Son when the famine hit and everybody was super excited because he had been buying drinks for the whole room, right? And crystal was flowing like wine, right? And now everyone wants to be on the Prodigal Son train.
Now no one wants it. No one gave him anything. That's how life was for Mephibosheth. And so now he's in grinding poverty. And much worse than that, there's the third word, there's also incapacity, which only fueled the second one. Incapacity, what does that mean? It means the text says he was lame in both feet. He was physically disabled. He could not walk, which only further enhance the incapacity, the poverty because he couldn't work. How could he work? Some say it's possible he had spinal fractures so that made his moving of his feet impossible, or that he had such broken bones, multiple, maybe a spiral fracture of his legs that was never set properly.
I remember when I broke my femur they put me in traction, which is a fancy way of saying they took a 50-pound weight, tied it to a rope, and hung it from the back of the bed, the foot of the bed hanging on to my heel. And it kept the two bones of my femur apart so they weren't grinding into each other. And so they weren't going to heal improperly until they could put a titanium rod in the middle of them. And then finally, lying there in traction, which was, it felt exactly like you would think it would feel. I just look at this weight hanging off the bed, and they'd be like, OK, now it's time for surgery. We're going to wheel you into surgery. I'm like, oh my gosh, because the traction did not feel great. It felt awful. And the moment they whisked me into the surgical unit, they did a u-turn and took me right out because right as I was going in they said someone needed it more than me.
Apparently, someone had been skiing and they had been sitting right at the base of a jump. There's a bad place to sit. You should be very careful on a ski hill. If you're going to hang out, do it on the side of the ski hill out of the way. So this person did a jump and then sat there. And the next person who came along put their skis right into the person's shoulders. They impaled them literally like a shish kebab. And so this person needed that surgical room more than me. And so they left me in traction all night long with the weight hanging on my foot to keep the bones apart until they could properly mend them. Well, no such medical treatment was available in this time. No knowledge of it existed. No ability to drill out a femur and put a titanium rod, they hadn't discovered titanium yet.
So Mephibosheth doesn't get treated, doesn't get healed, doesn't have a wheelchair, doesn't have modern aluminum crutches, and does not live in a world with ADA laws. Does not live in a world where there has to be the gradation from off the sidewalk onto the handicapped parking spot, which is a requirement to leave available. Does not have the ability to go in a wheelchair up and down. We should be very thankful for the kindness of the world that we live in this day and not take for granted such a wonderful idea and thought, which is foreign to a world before the God of the Bible. It's foreign. All of this idea of charity and compassion was introduced by Christianity to this world.
Look into the annals of history. Please tell me in what Assyrian, Babylonian, any society you want to, placed a high value on caring for the poor on caring for the sick on caring for the infirm. It just did not exist. These notions were foreign to a world without the idea of everyone being created in the image of God and having worth and having value regardless of their physical disabilities that they face. And so this idea of caring for the sick didn't exist. So what does that mean? That means Mephibosheth not only has no ability to help people so no one's currying him for favor, but he also can't even work. So literally load of our poverty in capacity. And in this reality which he's facing, which is bleak where he essentially just assumes I'm just going to die here in Lo Debar out of sight, out of mind.
He experiences the generosity of a King that he can never expect. Because as David calls for him as David sits there at his royal seat, and Mephibosheth is called for and they announce. Mephibosheth is here. Yes, yes, yes! Great. I'm so excited about this. Mephibosheth comes in shaking in his boots. Lying pathetically before him. Prostrating himself before him. Literally calling himself a dog thinking he's about to be executed. And David says, no, you're not going to die. Come on. Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up. I want to show kindness to you. Everything your grandfather ever owned, it's yours now. You're wealthy beyond imagination.
Every servant, and by the way, Ziba is super sketchy. This guy is shady because he managed to continue in power and be living so large having all these servants. He had found a way to exploit Saul's death and parlay it for himself into this enormous, he's as corrupt as the day is long. He should not be trusted. OK, but he says now Ziba works for you. You had nothing. You lived in Lo Debar. No pasture. No communication. Now you've got to do with 20 servants who's at your beck and call, and all his servants are too, and all his children. You have extensive land holdings. That's all yours. He hands this stock portfolio. You're one of the wealthiest men.
Can you even compute what Mephibosheth is feeling here? And he says, but not only that, bro. You're rich beyond your wildest imagination, but I just want you to know for the rest of your life, would you do me the honor of whenever I'm sitting at my table having a meal with all of my family and all of my cabinet, I want you to know I have a perpetual seat. You are on the permanent guest list for every single meal at the King's table. What generosity. What generosity. What extravagant generosity is this? This, ladies and gentlemen, is no normal generosity. This is nothing if it's not the kindness of God. This is what the kindness of God looks like.
In Exodus 34, Moses said, God, who are you? Show me your glory. And God hid Moses behind a rock because if he fully saw who God is it would be like Indiana Jones when the Ark gets opened and multi-faith syndrome. So he said I can't let you see me in my full glory, but what I can do is hide you and you'll just get to see it. And so imagine, it's like the Seahawks opening game when they did the flyby with the F-16. Did you see that? That supersonic flyby they do at the Super Bowl. That's what it was like. Moses is hiding behind a rock and this thing comes by. And then the aftershock and everyone's shaking. It's unbelievable. And God, as he went by, proclaimed who he was. I am the Lord. And he went on who his name is. And one of the things he says is he said I'm abounding in love. I'm abounding in love.
That word love or abounding in love or overflowing in love is a tricky word to pin down. It's the Hebrew word hesed. Hesed. Everyone say hesed. And every time it's translated into English, you'll find it kind of slightly different. Where it's loyal in love, unfailing in love, abounding in covenant loyalty, or abounding in covenant loyalty love. It's always a little bit different and it's the exact word that David said when he woke up and said is there anyone alive from Saul's family I can show hesed to. It's translated as kindness as we read it. And one of the reasons it changes so often as you read across the Bible one theologian postulated is because this word, hesed, actually bundles up all of the positive attributes of God into one, and then says I'm abounding in all these things.
So everything you know about me and just overflow it like the cup at the feast that just keeps running over like David said in Psalm 23. I am all of those things and not just a little of them. I am all those things and I am a lot of those things. I am abounding in hesed. And David says I want to show generosity and hesed to Mephibosheth. But not for Mephibosheth's sake. He said I want to do so by proxy. That's the next word I want you to jot down. Animosity, poverty, incapacity, and then this is the idea of proxy. Proxy is where someone acts on behalf of someone else. Where if I give you power of attorney, you can actually act in my stead. You're not me, but you can act as though you are me. That's proxy. This all that's happening here, Mephibosheth is singing to himself.
I mean, you keep seeing him in your mind's eye on the ground. He gets dragged in, by the way, because he can't walk. And he's lying there thinking this is the last day of his life and he's told you're a wealthy landowner. You own all this. You'll never need to worry about money again the rest of your life. Oh, and by the way, until you die, you're going to be sitting at this royal table as the guest of the King. And you'll do so just with lavish love that I continue to pour upon you. That's hesed. That's grace. That's God's grace. And he's thinking himself, I don't, what did I do to deserve this? No, no, no. It's not anything you did to deserve it because if it was based on what you could do to earn it, you could potentially one day do something that would jeopardize it because you could lose it. It's not based on you.
I'm doing this for your dad's sake. I'm doing this for Jonathan's sake. Here's what David said. Is there anyone alive from the house of my enemy that I can show kindness to because of proxy, Jonathan. Because of what Jonathan did, I want to show kindness to you. Do you see the gospel on display? God doesn't invite you to the banqueting table of grace and salvation and wholeness based on what you did as though you kept enough of the ten Commandments and memorized enough Bible verses and cleaned your life enough where God and heaven was finally like, OK, they're good enough barely. They can come in. No, God saw Jesus struggling to breathe on the cross. And because of what he did then, God says I'm going to show kindness to you for Jesus sake.
In second Corinthians 521, God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. That we might become the righteousness of God in him. It's the great exchange. The most damaging and damning thing you could do was try, would be to do what comes so naturally to us in America, maybe even more so in Montana, and that is to stand on our own two feet. And I think we can stand before God on the basis of what we do. But let me help you see all of your good deeds through God's eyes. Isaiah 64 verse 6. It's not flattering. All of our good righteous deeds are like filthy rags before him. They can add no value. And that's because like Mephibosheth, we have all fallen. Fallen, that's how he got hurt by the way.
In fact, if you just turn back a couple of chapters to chapter 4 of second Samuel you're going to see it. You go, how did Mephibosheth end up like this? Oh, notice second Samuel 4:4. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. And his nurse took him up and fled, and it happened as she made haste to flee that he fell. He was in poverty and incapacity because of a fall. He had fallen. His nurse had been carrying him at five. He fell and became lame. His name, this is the first time this word shows up in the Bible. His name was Mephibosheth. It means destroyer of shame, by the way. Beautiful name. But Mephibosheth ended up in shame because of a fall. And added to that is the fact that someone he trusted in let him down.
And I can't preach that without first just pausing to acknowledge that all of us have been let down by other people. Other people have been involved in our falling. We are the way we are. We are wounded. We are damaged. We are broken. We are incapable of moving forward into all that we are destined for at times because other people have dropped us. The one person in his life who should have taken care of him, his nurse, his nanny, his babysitter. This person who was in charge of her him was so consumed with fear for herself that she would be taken out by implication of relation to Mephibosheth that in her haste she dropped him. And how bad do you have to let a child fall that he ends up permanently lame in both of his feet.
The one person who should have been there for him let him down. And I'm fully aware of the fact that I preach to people who look back to others who have been involved in them ending up and you ending up the way that you are. The uncle that you should have trusted who, after the drinks that he had, slipped into your bedroom at night and took advantage of you sexually when you were young. The spouse he promised they would be faithful to you till death do you part who actually meant until they found someone better looking, younger, who could offer them more. The company you worked for decades, faithfully serving them. In the passing of time, you ended up receiving promotion and receiving a better benefits package. And they are willing to cut their losses on you because someone younger who is cheaper has come along.
All of us have been dropped. All of us know what it feels like to be betrayed, to be abandoned, to be burned, and to be discarded. And Mephibosheth, which was her meal ticket for the first five years of his life. In one fell swoop, he became a liability. And so she cut her losses and dropped him as she ran to save her own skin. Betraying him and putting herself ahead of him. And that is what it's like to live on this broken planet. Not only have all of us sinned, scripture says, and fallen short of the glory of God. We've also been on the receiving end of the brokenness of humanity and suffered not for our own sins only and solely, but also by and through the sins of other people. Not least of which the figurehead of all humanity, our original father Adam and Eve. And it was through, don't miss it.
A meal that innocence was lost. It was through a meal that God was betrayed. It was through a meal that the first idol was erected of making ourselves something great. Making ourselves like Saul looking out for our own kingdom. God doesn't want your best. He is keeping back from you. You could really be like God if you ate this food. Sit at my table Satan said. And so the years pass and all of us have both fallen because of our sinful choices, but we've also both been hurt and wounded and made infirm through the sins of others. Sinners by nature and also sinners by choice, all of us now liable for those sins and brought in before a King who in everything that is right and fair could simply dismiss us forever and say off with their heads. And yet, instead, he chooses to send his son Jesus Christ to this world to pay for our sins. The wages of which is death by dying in our place on the cross.
And while he hung there on that cross to allow and say yes, God put all of their sins on me. Treat me like they deserve to be treated. So that you can treat them like I deserve to be treated. This is Grace. And the generosity of a King to someone who does not deserve it. Is the gospel message. It was by proxy God saved us. And now we've been entered into, we've been given this beautiful gift of community. This gift of community because yes we have a King, and yes we have a seat. But we also have others to sit beside. We have others to sit alongside. We have each other. And what a wonderful thing it is to sit at a table together. What a wonderful thing it is to share in each other's pains and pray for each other in our prayer requests to worship God together to be alongside each other.
This is the church. God sets the solitary in families. And to say I'm hurting and to be able to pray and be able to encourage each other. To have one of them. Mephibosheth got to sit at the table with all of the King's kids. And to know that he had in common what they did because he was adopted into this family. That David loved him so much that for Jonathan's sake he brought him in. And we get to sit with each other. Not measuring up. How do I stack up. Knowing we're all at this table for Jesus sake. That God chose his hesed, his kindness to us for Jesus to sake. There's a community to life at the table. And in the coming weeks, we'll talk about how powerful and life changing that is. But we have to end here.
Well, I got two more. OK, you good with it? Identity. This interaction changed everything about Mephibosheth's identity. What do you mean? His identity stemmed from the fact that on the worst day of his life he had been dropped, he had fallen, and he had become lame. And that's why when the King said is there anyone left of Saul's house I can show kindness to Ziba said, yeah, there is someone. He's lame. He's lame. You wouldn't want to show kindness to him, but let's talk about me. Ziba's favorite subject. Let's talk about me. Smarmy this guy. He would have he would have fit in Washington DC. He's sleazy. He's super political. Just a guy, you know, like, let's make a deal. Hey. That's Ziba. You can't trust this dude. All right. You got to always keep an eye on him.
I think David kind of can tell. But he says he's lame. And the word he used is significant. You might have noticed that at the beginning of the text and the very end of the text says Mephibosheth was lame and assumed it was just sort of one of those envelope things. Beginning how we end, but it's not that at all. In fact, it is very different because the first time the word lame is used it means lame in body, meaning your feet don't work. But also battered in spirit because you've been through it. It's a word that describes someone who's lame on the inside and on the outside. And by the very end, the word is nekeh. N-E-K-E-H like "nakey". He's like nekeh. He's lame inside, lame outside.
But the very last verse of the passage, second Samuel chapter 9 verse 13, it's different because it also says Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem. He ate continually at the King's table. And he was lame in both feet. It's not the word nekeh anymore. It's pisseach. You know that word means? Just lame. Just feet don't work. Because that fact hadn't changed. The details of his story weren't different. But you need to see this. Check it out. He realized when he was invited to sit at the King's table having been battered having a victim mentality, my nanny left me. She didn't take care of me. My dad's gone. My grandfather, he betrayed me. All of this pain, it had battered him on the inside and left him damaged on the outside. But God, through the lavishness of grace, had dealt with those things.
So now as he sat down at the table, guess what? His feet still didn't work, but he was at the King's table. So that was his new identity. His identity wasn't based on what had been taken from him, but now it was based on what had been given to him. Who's Mephibosheth? Well, his legs don't work, but guess what? He's the one who sits continually at the King's table. Can that be our identity now? Not what we've been through and how my parents got divorced. That's not my identity. My identity is not how these people betrayed me and I was abandoned and I was molested. My identity is I'm sitting at the Kings' table. Yeah, those things are still true and they are still there. But guess what? There's grace at the table that covers those things because every time Mephibosheth sat down and got tucked in by Ziba, guess what? The table covered over what was wrong with him. The table covered over what was different about him.
And he was the same as every other person there at the table because the table has grace that covers over our brokenness. And when we sit together at the table, we're all covered equally by grace because the table covers. And so his relationship to the King now was his identity. So the only question is the question of frequency. Last word. Frequency. His Carte Blanche was given. You're always welcome every single meal. So here's my question, how often would your punch card get punched if you're Mephibosheth? We've been given everything. The Ephesians says we've been seated in heavenly places. Your prayers are accepted in heaven 24/7, 365.
So why is it, friends, that so often for me and for you, we are content to lie in the dust of Lo Debar? Standing on our own two feet. You identify by our pain. But you don't understand. But you don't understand, just consumed with this victim mentality. Consumed with our wound focused on how other people have been given more ending up like the House of Saul instead of being willing to sit there at the House of David. Come on, somebody. We got to get better at going back to the table. We got to go in our mind's eye back to the table. And the best way I know to honor our new identity as son and daughter of the King welcome at his table as often as we like is to imitate our King's example. To imitate our King's example.
King David, I didn't get to read it to you. But this is second Samuel nine. Second Samuel eight, second Samuel Samuel, six is just win, win, win. All he does is win. He's winning this battle. Winning that battle. Successful here, successful there. He's just like a win factory just producing win. I'm bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem. I'm honoring God. I'm crushing here. I'm crushing it there. My wife doesn't think I should... He's dancing before the Lord. He's halal, right. He's just, David crushing it. So second Samuel nine winning everywhere, his example with his wins as to wake up and say, how can I bless other people with my win? How can I bless other people? God's hesed to me. Pick me up from the sheepfold. Smelling like dung at my anointing. Let me do all this.
How can I bless others? Who can I show kindness to? How can I turn an enemy into a friend? Not get rid of my enemies by wiping them out, get rid of my enemies by turning them into a brother. So how do we honor God? How do we thank a God who's done all this for us? We stay mindful of his grace and we try and pattern ourselves after his example. We participate by being willing to imitate. We take that grace we try and show it to other people. So in the weeks of the series, we'll talk about what that means to try and get other people into the table so they can have some of that delicious grace that has changed our lives. And what do we hope that they experience when the taste His Grace? Hope. I can't help but Close with the story of an invitation that changed my life in so many ways. It was such a powerful reminder of God saying I see you.
December 20, 2012, Lenya, our second born daughter, she had an asthma attack and went home to be with Jesus. It wouldn't be until the next morning that I would open my email up and see in my email account an invitation. Your presence is requested to come to Billy Graham's house in North Carolina, and for Jennie and I to sit down at his table. That he wanted to meet with us. He wanted to meet us. We had never met him before, but he had been a lifelong hero of mine. He's preached the gospel perhaps to more people than anyone in history, a million people at one time in Korea. They had to use an airport runway just to house the people so he could preach the gospel. I literally as I grew up as a young preacher would just listen to him, and then go steal his sermons and God will forgive me later.
And the morning after the worst night of our lives, our Lo Debar, to open up the email and just to get your presence is requested, Billy Graham would like to spend a few moments with you, I don't know how to articulate that to you except to say it just felt to me like God saying I see you. You're not alone. You're being welcomed to a table with one of my servants. And he would go home to be with Jesus five years later and it would be such an honor for Jennie and I to sit down there at the table with him for just a few moments. He let us help him pick out between one of two of his new book covers. And we held hands and had a prayer together. He talked about how much the Resurrection meant to him together. He encouraged us. And it just, that invitation communicated hope.
And that to me is what we have the power of as God's children of using our invitations to sit at our tables, to sit at his church and have a seat for a service which is to be viewed by us as a table, a table propped up by a cross. We have the chance because people are hurting. People are in Lo Debar. People are feeling no pastor. People are feeling like no point. And God has sent us into people's lives not ever knowing what that invitation will mean to them. What that kindness will mean to them as we, so overwhelmed by the hesed by the goodness by the abounding and loveliness of God. Care about and see the people in this world that we rub shoulders with enough to say, hey, would you sit with me at the table?
And so, Father, we are overwhelmed. It's amazing that you would call us from Lo Debar to sit at your feast.
If you're here and there are some part of this that has touched you, you feel like there's some sense in which you needed this today you needed to have your eyes reopened to grace, can I just ask that you would just raise up a hand? You're saying there's still some Lo Debar in me even though I'm not in Lo Debar. God, I asked for your kindness to touch these hearts these lives those of you online, God sees you. If you could right there in the chat put an emoji up with your hand up so we could pray for you.
God would your never-ceasing, never-ending, never-changing love just right now just explode into a firework of joy inside of our hearts as we respond to you. May we keep that first love so fresh. Never let it get old. Never let it get stale. But continue to honor you by imitating you. But may we, God, never miss a moment as a day begins as a week begins. And all the time through practicing your presence, take our seat at your table. Not miss those moments.
You can put your hands down. I want to now invite anybody who today has not accepted Jesus into your heart. You have never received that grace. If you pray to God and say, God, your presence is requested in my heart, he will never leave you hanging. He'll never ghost you. He'll never check yes on the RSVP but then no show. If you ask him to come and the Bible says, draw near to Him, he will draw near to you. Confess your sins. He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. As we conclude this service with an invitation for you to trust Him as Savior, just know if you call out to Him he will be found by you. And the fact to you I'm describing every location, church online family, say this to him and He'll hear you. Church, say this with us. Praying with those making this decision to give their heart to Christ or rededicate their life to God today. Pray this.
Dear God, I'm broken. I'm lost. I can't do anything to change my soul because the wages of sin is death. But thank you for sending Jesus to die in my place to rise from the dead, to be my friend, to invite me to the table. Please come in my heart. Make it your home. Give me the courage to live for you following in your footsteps as long as I live. In Jesus' name.