Dining with Mephibosheth

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Who?

Mephibosheth.

Looking at 2 Sam. 9:1-13 you’ll find that Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson. Jonathan, Saul’s son, was David’s best friend with whom he had a Godly soul tie.

Mephibosheth was lame in both feet from being dropped as a 5-year-old child, as his family fled one of the intra-tribal wars in Israel. As a result, he was crippled in his feet and had to be carried his entire life (no wheelchairs back then). Because of this shame was his prevailing emotion, which was caused by his humiliation.

As you may recall from biblical history, Saul, who was filled with jealousy and rage toward David because of his prowess as a skilled military leader, beginning with his defeat of Goliath, tried to kill David on many occasions. Jonathan loved David and tried to hide him from Saul, risking his own life in the process.

Back to Mephibosheth. After Saul was killed in battle, David desired to show kindness and compassion to his former enemy’s family by extending blessing and not cursing to them (as king he could have had them all killed). Not comprehending this love, all of them feared for their lives, including Mephibotheth, who was invited to the King David’s palace to forever sit at David’s table and eat with him.

Shame-based living

Mephibosheth’s response to King David was typical of our often shame-based living. “And [the cripple] bowed himself and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am?’” (2 Sam. 9:8).

We can be living like a “dead dog” instead of reigning with King Jesus on a daily basis!

“For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ” (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (Rom. 5:17 Amp).

Mephibosheth, whose name means “destroying shame,” is a beautiful example of how Father God wants to remove our shame and bring us with full benefits to eat at His table. Until this happens, we may be reluctant to receive all God has for us. The truth of the matter is, without Jesus, we are all lame in both feet, poor, blind and naked:

“For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

This scripture wasn’t written to people who didn’t know God, even though it’s been used as an evangelical tool. It was written to Christians who had forgotten their former state and who had become proud of their religiosity, wealth and who felt no real need for intimacy with Jesus. What a rebuke to all who find solace in their “success”! Like King David, Jesus’ response was to say He was knocking at the doors of their hearts to come and dine with Him! The passage isn’t speaking so much about food but intimacy and fellowship with the Son of God.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

The Shame-Fear-Control Stronghold

Every sin we experience goes back to the garden where Adam and Eve gave into temptation to become “God-like” by eating off the wrong tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 3). As a result, our focus may remain on our sinful and narcissistic self rather than the One who died for us.

Our first defining experience is often shame. A parent’s admonition for our failure to do as we should have, a teacher’s shaming us in front a class for giving a “dumb” answer, and the worst case scenario, being molested by a family member or someone we were supposed to be able to trust. The latter shatters a child’s innocence and sense of respect, opening to door to oppression and massive shame. Satan’s game plan includes causing every one of God’s people to live with an often subtle or not so subtle sense of shame.

The usual human response, prompted by demonic strategy, is to hide it out of fear and control our sense of shame. Enter the spirits of fear and control. As we grow older, our pride and shame may cause an even greater need to hide it out of fear and to maintain control until we have a full-fledged stronghold that binds us from experiencing God’s richest love and blessing. He’s banging on the door, calling to us to come and dine, but we’re so bound by this stronghold that real enjoyable Christian living has become beyond our reach—or at least we think so.

The House of Abandonment

I was plagued with this mess my whole life until God showed me via a dream that even though He had redeemed me and called me His son, I was living in the “house of abandonment”! You see the stronghold is predicated on abandonment, which isn’t necessarily physical abandonment (it could be) but emotional abandonment through neglect or a perception that we have been. In the house of abandonment are the rooms of guilt (false or true), shame, fear, anger, judgment, a critical spirit, rejection and the list goes on.

Psychologists call abandonment the “primal wound,” which simply means it’s the first sense of feeling alone and left to fend for ourselves. Abandonment opens wide the door to the shame-fear-control stronghold. Unfortunately, most go on living with this thing the rest of their lives, thinking that God isn’t really interested in their difficulties and that they are “fatally flawed” with no one to help. They may even feel abandoned by God Himself and living like a “dead dog” instead of “sitting in heavenly places” (Eph. 2:1-2) with the One who loves them so much that He paid it all so they come draw near to Him and their true Father.

The symptoms: (The following is taken directly from the work of Chester and Betsy Kylstra, founders and overseers of Proclaiming His Word Ministries, based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Their book, Restoring the Foundations (RTF), explores emotional healing as an integrated approach to ministry. They oversee the Network of Healing Houses, a safe place where leaders can come for ministry and training.) The ministry I work with, Transformation Ministries – http://www.transformationranch.org, is currently using RTF as part of our training literature. Our grateful appreciation for the Kylstras for their wonderful revelation of the Shame-Fear-Control Stronghold.)

“Do you have an endless refrain that ‘plays’ in your thoughts? Are you continually thinking thoughts like, I am different, I am defective, I am embarrassed, I am guilty, I am inadequate?” If so, shame has become a part of your identity? But the presence of shame is only the beginning. Shame is often allied with fear.

 Ask yourself, “Is fear included in my frequent mental refrain? Am I afraid of being exposed, or abandoned, or rejected? Do fears like these dominate my thinking so that they have become my continual companions, deeply embedded within my personality as “normally abnormal” parts of my identity?”

Strategy For Freedom

The first step in defeating any enemy, even a demonic stronghold, is to understand his weak points, in this case, shame. Shame can be easily destroyed if the SFC victim will make a paradigm shift and treat this stronghold as his enemy rather than as part of himself. He must move from a defensive posture to an offensive one, from hiding to active warfare against shame.

Next, he must make the decision to battle the SFC Stronghold until the victory is total, no matter how long it takes. This is a battle unto death. In the past, shame killed its victim. Now, the demonic stronghold must be destroyed and eliminated.

If the person infected with shame then identifies one by one the places where he has been ashamed, he can then disassemble the stronghold by confessing its presence and its underlying sins. He can then demolish the stronghold by replacing it with believing what God says about him and can achieve victory in a short time. Making fast progress here depends on the victim’s willingness to continually submit to the process as it did with the Israelites as they took possession of the Promised Land. “Little by little I will drive them (your enemies) out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” (Exodus 23:30 NIV)

God has great things for us, as we appropriate His promises like the one in Isaiah 61:7 (NIV). “Instead of their shame My people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.” If we really let Jesus heal us, we will “never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6 NIV)

Chester and Betsy Kylstra, founders and overseers of Proclaiming His Word Ministries

Would you like to sit next to Mephibosheth?

The Great King Jesus has spread a massive buffet. He’s invited all those who will come:

“7 Now He told a parable to those who were invited, [when] He noticed how they were selecting the places of honor, saying to them, 8 When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, do not recline on the chief seat [in the place of honor], lest a more distinguished person than you has been invited by him, 9 And he who invited both of you will come to you and say, Let this man have the place [you have taken]. Then, with humiliation and a guilty sense of impropriety, you will begin to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when your host comes in, he may say to you, Friend, go up higher! Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit [at table] with you.11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled (ranked below others who are honored or rewarded), and he who humbles himself (keeps a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly) will be exalted (elevated in rank). 12 Jesus also said to the man who had invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid back. 13 But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and [c]to be envied), because they have no way of repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (upright). 15 When one of those who reclined [at the table] with Him heard this, he said to Him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and [d]to be envied) is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:7-15, Amp).

Jesus like King David has invited all of us Mephibosheths to join Him at the table. Will you allow shame or pride to keep you from the greatest banquet of all? You don’t have to.

Revelation 19:9

Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.

If you’ve already accepted the invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, are you enjoying the daily joy of knowing He loves you and has removed your shame through His death on the cross and the shedding of His precious Blood? You can!

 

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