Fetching Grace

"Then king David sent, and fetched him" - 2 Samuel 9:5

    "Fetching grace!" What a splendid truth taught in God's Word! This entire chapter of 2 Samuel 9 is a glorious picture of God's "fetching grace" and His dealings with sinners. David sent and "fetched" Mephibosheth!

    King David pictures God the Father upon His throne who shows mercy to Mephibosheth, who pictures a sinner. Jonathan is the Lord Jesus, and Ziba is the Holy Spirit.  King Saul has been an enemy of David. Mephibosheth is Saul's grandson, just as Adam became an enemy of God, and you and I are his grandsons.

    The Old testament is full of pictures of God's salvation.  Let's see what we can learn from this one; we call it "fetching grace."


    Mephibosheth never made a move toward David.  In fact, he was hiding from David as his enemy (2 Sam 4:4).  Even so it was with Adam, he "hid from the presence of the Lord" (Gen 3:8).  Why?  Because sin brought guilt into his soul and broke his fellowship with his God (see Isaiah 59:2).  He now had a dread of God.  Spiritually he died; as God had threatened, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen 2:17).  So it is with all of his descendants  — we are born as guilty sinners, dead, "alienated from the life of God…dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1; Eph 4:18).

"Wherefore as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"' (Rom 5:12).

    When king Saul became David's enemy, Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, died as far as any friendship with David was concerned.  David must himself take the initiative in this story of God's grace.  Even as God took the initiative in the Garden to seek out our father Adam.  That's how it is with all of us by nature — "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6) — the Good Shepherd must seek His sheep (Luke 15:4-7; Luke 19:10; John 10:11; John 10:16).  C. H. Spurgeon said, "You once show me a lost sheep seeking the shepherd, and then I'll believe that a depraved sinner seeks God without first God finding the sinner." Sinners do find Christ, but only after they are found of the Lord (John 1:43-45).  "David sent and fetched him."


    It would seem that for David to do this, Mephibosheth must have been a friend, someone who could benefit David by promoting his cause, or defending his honour?  On the contrary!  He was an immediate descendant of David's worst enemy!  The king could gain nothing by showing kindness to a miserable cripple who was at enmity with him.

    Even so, the Bible says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom 8:7).  "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away"  (Isaiah 64:6).

    Now what possible good can a sinner do for the King of Glory?  Do we add to His glory?  Did Mephibosheth add to David's glory?  No!  But the kindness and compassion of the king was seen in Mephibosheth; even as God's mercy and grace is seen in lost sinners that He saves.  We don't add to His glory; but in our salvation, His glory is put on display for all to see.  Our God is and has always been all glorious.  When a sinner is saved, it only shows forth what has always been true "Blessed be Thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise"' (Neh 9:5).  His mercy is manifested in the miserable! His grace is displayed in the guilty!


    His name means "a shameful thing."  Shameful — nothing of which to boast, without any redeeming traits.  Shameful — nothing to do but hide his face in shame because his kinsman played the fool and revolted against God's anointed.

    To be a "sinner" is a shameful thing!  "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me..From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it: but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores" (Isaiah 1:2, Isaiah 1:6).  Modern religion will not hear of it!  But God's Word declares it.  Have you ever seen yourself as a shameful thing?  Christ said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matt 9:13).


    He was a cripple. "He fell, and became lame" (2 Sam 4:4). He was "lame on both his feet," unable to run, or even walk.  His own strength was non-existent.  This pictures every man by nature.  We became lame through a fall in Adam!  Now, we're unable to come to God of our own accord, and in our own good time.  Sinners are "without strength" (Rom 5:6).

    Have you ever faced your helpless condition before God?  You're a spiritual cripple!  You don't have the ability to rise up and come to Christ when you get ready.  If that's your attitude, you'll perish in your foolish pride.  Strength must be given to you from above, or you'll never come to Christ.  He said, "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father" (John 6:65).


    Mephibosheth was in a place called Lodebar.  "Lodebar" means "the place of no pasture."  Mephibosheth lived in a place of no sustenance, no food, and no satisfaction.  This world and all that it has to offer is but a dry and barren land for the soul of man.  He cannot find true peace, true rest, or true happiness in the perishing things of this life.

    "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:20-21).  Pleasure, fame, and fortune leave but an aching void in the heart of man.  Regardless of how much of this world's goods you may accumulate, your soul will still be filled with nothing but emptiness.  Like the Prodigal who "filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat" — he still cried out, "I perish with hunger!" (Luke 15:16-17).  This world is Lodebar — "the place of no pasture." Our jobs, our families, our recreation, our riches, cannot satisfy the longing within.  Men were made for God, and they'll know no rest, and no peace, till they rest in God.  Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt 11:28-29).


    We know that it couldn't have been anything in Mephibosheth.  He was a miserable cripple, and an enemy of the king.  What then moved the heart of king David?  Three very important words found in our text — "for Jonathan's sake" (vv 1,7).  It was something entirely outside of Mephibosheth!  David had made a covenant with Jonathan, whom he loved, while he yet lived, to show kindness to his house (1 Sam 20:15-17).  It was on the basis of a covenant, a promise, that king David sent and fetched this helpless cripple from his sad estate.

    Why does God the Father show mercy upon helpless sinners? for the sake of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Why does He forgive sinners? "God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you" (Eph 4:32).  Throughout all this beautiful story, Mephibosheth was not the one who was foremost in the mind of the king, Jonathan was!  King David didn't rescue Mephibosheth merely to improve his state, but rather he brought this miserable cripple into his palace that he might glorify Jonathan, and by this, he would let all Israel know how much he loved Jonathan, and how dear he was to the heart of the king.

    Even so is the Son of God dear to the heart of the Father!  God doesn't rescue sinners merely to keep them out of hell.  He rescues them to magnify Christ!  He's dead set on showing how much He loves His Son.  He's willing to save undone and ungodly wretches that Jesus might be glorified!

    Mephibosheth, you're no good!  You're no count!  But I'm fetching you out of your miserable state all the way into the palace of the king, for no other reason, than to show my love for Jonathan.


    Did he send a message that if Mephibosheth would "do his part," mercy would be his?  Did he send crutches and say that if you can just get to Jerusalem, everything will be OK?  (Perhaps a "Jerusalem Road Plan of Salvation")  Of course, he didn't!  "He sent and fetched him!"

    What kind of a message are we hearing from so many pulpits today? — "God has done all He can, and now it's all up to you.  He sent His Son to die; the sin-debt has been paid;  He's done His part, and now you do yours."

    That's not in God's Word!  We need to study the parable of the "Great Supper" again (Luke 14:16-24).  Christ said, "They all with one consent began to make excuse!" (v18).  Because all men by nature hold God's Supper in contempt by offering worthless, flimsy excuses, the Spirit of God must "compel" sinners "to come in!" (v23).  "There is none that seeketh after God... the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned"  (Rom 3:11; 1 Cor 2:14).  The Good Shepherd goes out to "fetch" " the lost sheep.  Why? because they're lost!  Lost means lost!  You need to be found!  "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost!" (Luke 19:10; see 2 Cor 4:3-4).  "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee" (Psalm 65:4).  If it were not for God's "fetching grace," where would we be?  "David sent and fetched him!"

    8.  WHAT IS GRACE?

    It is purely a matter of charity, exercised sovereignly and spontaneously attracted by nothing praiseworthy in its objects. It is not shown to those who merely have no merit, but rather, to those who are full of demerit. The sinner's condition is desperate to the last degree; it's a wonder that he's not already in hell. Grace is the sinner's last and only hope. Since it is a matter of charity, God is free to give it, or to withhold it (Rom 9:15). 


    Mephibosheth knew his life hung on the mercy of the king.  He wasn't prancing down the church aisle to some fancy evangelist's "first-time decision."  No!  "He fell on his face, and did reverence!" (v6).

    There are multitudes getting so-called "saved" today who know nothing of the humility and reverence that accompanies a true conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He doesn't reside down at the front of a church; He's seated on the throne of all power!  "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev 17:14; Rev 19:16); and He bids sinners, "Come unto ME."  You try to get into the presence of a king without bending those knees — you'll never make it!

    Consider, too, Mephibosheth's response when David addressed him, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"  That doesn't paint too beautiful a picture of a sinner in the eyes of a holy God.  Think about it.  Do you really think that you deserve God's mercy?  Think again.  "There's none righteous, no, not one" (Rom 3:10).  God has mercy on whom He will (Rom 9:18).

    Be wise.  Humble yourself before the Lord.  Cast away your foolish pride.  Be done with your high esteem, and all those good thoughts of yourself.  "There's none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom 3:12).  Admit that you're just what God says you are "a shameful thing"; and bow down before the Lord your God.  He's promised, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isaiah 66:2).

— Adapted from the writings of Jack Shanks

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