Lo-debar. The words “lack” and “desolation” immediately come to mind. No thriving crops, no harvest to bring in. Some translations state that it means “no pasture”. Other sources say that it means “nothing”. To me it sounds like a forgotten town for forgotten people.
The story of Mephibosheth, who came out of Lo-debar after dwelling there for most of his life, is found in 2 Samuel 9. Because he came out of lack into abundance – from a low place to the king’s residence – many believe that this is all there is to learn from Mephibosheth’s story. That God has the ability to take us from absolutely nothing – from desolation, whether spiritual or natural – to increase and overflow. While this conclusion isn’t incorrect, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice if we walked away without looking a little deeper to see if there’s anything else He might want to impart to us.
While studying this passage of scripture, I came across an article titled, “The Kindness of God”, in which the author, Charles Stanley, so beautifully brought out a new revelation concerning this text: Mephibosheth’s condition is actually a reflection of our own and the kindness that David showed him is a reflection of the love and kindness that God shows His children.
Mephibosheth had nothing to offer David. Being lame in both feet, he couldn’t work for him nor could he serve him. But David didn’t expect him to. David blessed him because it was in his heart to do so. Charles puts it this way: “Mephibosheth had not done one thing to merit the kindness…Grace went to fetch him from Lo-debar, the very place where he was. And did not the Son of God come to poor sinners, just where they were? He came to fetch them, and He found them dead in trespasses and sins. And did He not take that very place and die, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God?”(http://biblecentre.org/content.php?mode=7&item=830).
So you see, the story of Mephibosheth foretells the coming redemption of God’s creation. We were fallen – lame in both feet – crippled by sin but God, through His son Jesus Christ, came and redeemed us not because we deserved it but simply because He loved us.
And now, if you’ll allow me to, I’d like to present a third angle from which to view Mephibosheth’s story: while we can’t help that we are Mephibosheth – that we were born into sin and are thereby crippled and incapacitated by it because that is our inherent condition – we must consider the possibility that God wants us to make the conscious decision to also take on the role of David. That He desires that we extend kindness and mercy without expecting anything in return. In other words, God wants us to be a conduit.
There are individuals in this world that our Father desires to reach and bless and He wants to use us to do so. Someone in this world is having a Lo-debar experience and God intends to use one of His people to draw them out. We may not know in what way He intends for us to be part of that process but all He asks is that we make ourselves available. And He asks that we do it not for personal gain but out of love.
In the book of John chapter 13 verses 34-35, Jesus says to His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples…”.
We love one another not in word but in deed. We know God loves us not because He tells us so but because He shows us every single day. Let us choose to be a reflection of that love, thereby drawing others out of their personal Lo-debar into relationship with their Maker.
Photo credit: http://soniahalliday.com/