David shows kindness to Mephibosheth not because of anything Mephibosheth has done or could do for him in the future. He simply shows kindness because Mephibosheth’s father was Jonathan, David’s closest friend. To invite somebody with a disability into a king’s palace is not typical behaviour in David’s era. This is a picture of grace. God loves us, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. This is also a picture of God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises. David has previously promised to show kindness to Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 20:12-17). Similarly, God is determined to keep all his promises to us.
David defeats the Ammonites
Have you ever had your good intentions completely misunderstood? This happens to David when he tries to show kindness to Hanun, the son of Nahash the Ammonite. (Nahash had probably been David’s ally when David was fleeing from Saul.) The Ammonite commanders accuse David’s men of being spies and publicly humiliate them. It seems that Hanun is picking a fight with Israel. However, the result for the Ammonites and for the Syrians who help them is defeat. The Syrians learn the hard way that it does not pay to attack God’s people or to fight against God’s king.
What can we learn from these chapters?
We have seen that God is the God of grace and he is also in control. He gives us what we do not deserve and he helps his people to defeat their enemies.
David’s actions anticipate the coming of Jesus as the King of Israel. David is merciful but also a strong king who defeats his enemies. In the same way, Jesus is both a merciful and a strong king. He has come once to show us mercy and to die so that we could be forgiven and he will come a second time to overthrow evil people and rule over his kingdom.
2 Samuel 10 is as good as it gets for David. We have seen that when he first comes to power he uses power wisely and balances mercy and strength. This contrasts with what happens next. As we start 2 Samuel 11 next week we will see David’s abuse of power and the kingdom descending into chaos. From now on it’s all downhill.
This reminds us that we should not get complacent if we experience spiritual highs. We must never think that we are invincible.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)