There is a story in the Bible that has always spoken to me about this idea of being known. It is found in 2 Samuel chapter 9 and it follows a man named Mephebosheth who is described as being lame in both feet. David (the little shepherd who killed Goliath) has now become king and wants to honor the remaining family of his long-time childhood friend Jonathan who happened to also be the son of David’s predecessor, King Saul.
Now, I won’t go into the whole thing cause it’s a sermon for sure and you have to book me to get those (hint hint) but there’s a moment where David calls for Mephebosheth to come to him and when he arrives he lays prostrate before David in fear and refers to himself as a dead dog when David explains the blessing he wants to bestow upon him. David in this story is a picture of God the father and Mephebosheth is a picture of us, or at least, of me.
There is a moment in my life where I felt like God had invited me to the palace and told me I was welcome to be with him, to hang out with him, to know him. It wasn’t a voice from the clouds or a burning bush, although that would have been awesome. It was one morning as I was reading through Isaiah 61 where it talks about how Jesus would be sent to set free the captives, bind the broken hearted and trade us beauty for our ashes.
I remember thinking upon my infirmities and they were far worse than Mephebosheth’s cripple feet. I was a pervert, a user, a pornography addict, a liar, a person who had abused an animal for his own sick pleasure, a selfish drug and alcohol-abusing hypocrite. So when God approached me I wasn’t just a dead dog, I was a filthy, rotten, deviant, who deserved hell from every angle. I didn’t deserve to even exist within the farthest reaches of his infinite knowledge much less be known by Him. And yet, as clear as your own voice in your own words reading this in your own head, he invited me to know him.
One of my favorite parts of the story is how when Mephebosheth responds to David with negative self-condemnation (calls himself a dead dog), King David doesn’t even respond to him, he simply turns to his servant and explains the blessings again. David had every right to highlight his generosity by saying, “Yes, you are a worthless piece of crap, but because I am such a good and generous king, I am going to give it to you anyway!” but he didn’t. He just blesses him all over again. And you know what, God does the same thing. He doesn’t list off my faults, He draws me in and begins to work on them lovingly and patiently.
Now, David gives a lot of stuff to Mephebosheth, but the best gift of all is highlighted over and over again by the text which is the invitation to eat at his table, David is inviting this crippled nobody to fellowship with him, with his family, with visiting kings and royal advisors, with generals and giants. He could have just blessed him and sent him back home and no one would think him any less generous but he doesn’t just want Mephobosheth to have stuff, he wants him to have himself. And so it is with God the Father.
So many people are out to get something from God. I know I was. This so-called “prosperity gospel” is not very prosperous at all. It is devoid of the greatest gift of all, which is knowing and being known by God. Now, let’s be clear, God knows you. He knit you in your mother’s womb, he knew you before the foundation of the earth, he knows your heart, your passions, and your thoughts. But there is an invitation awaiting you. The God of the universe, the creator, the infinite, sovereign, immeasurable God is reaching into your crippled state and inviting you to be in relationship with him; a relationship in which you will know him and get to know yourself; a relationship of mutual love and sharing where you both are blessed.
And here’s the clincher, when Mephebosheth sat at the table of grace that was provided for him, his infirmity was covered. His crippled feet dangled from his chair hidden by the table that he scooted up to. Now it’s of interest to us that this story ends with “he always ate at the king’s table, now he was lame in both feet.”
David didn’t heal Mephebosheth and often times God doesn’t heal us. Our crippled state requires that we remain close to him, dependent on him, and known by him. I’ll be honest though; I like to jump up from the table every once in a while to see if I can do it without him. It’s never very long before I find myself on the floor somewhere discouraged and ashamed. But just like the very first time I heard him call out to me and invite me back into his loving fellowship I gotta say, it feels good to be invited.