The King With a Whole Heart (2 Sam 4:1-4; 9:1-13)

For sermon only, fast forward to around the 35 minute mark

#16 in “66 in 52 Through the Bible in a Year”| April 24, 2023 | Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL | James Jackson, Pastor

Good morning! Please open your Bibles to 2 Samuel 9. We are continuing our little series within a series. The yearlong series is called 66in52, But in this miniseries we are looking at the first three kings of Israel.

Many of us at Glynwood have committed to reading the Bible all the way through this year, and on Sunday mornings we have been taking a passage or story or concept from the previous week’s reading and taking hopefully a deeper dive into it.

But this is a part of the reading plan that is a little harder to follow. We are going back and forth between Samuel and Psalms, and in just a few days we are going to add 1 Chronicles to the mix. And if you aren’t using YouVersion, you are spending almost as much time finding all these different chapters as you are reading them.

Why is that? Why all the jumping around? Well, this is the difference between Chronological order and CANONICAL order. The canonical order is the order the books appear in your Bible. You have the law at the beginning of the Old Testaement. Five books of Moses and Twelve books of history.

Then you have the PROPHETS at the end of the Old Testament. Five major prophets and twelve minor prophets.

Then in the middle, you have the wisdom literature. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. So notice: 5 law, 5 wisdom, 5 major prophets.

12 history, 12 minor prophets. You just gotta love how perfectly the Bible is put together!

So this is the CANONICAL order of the 39 books of the OT. And here’s an easy way to remember that there are 39 books in the Old Testament: Old = 3 letters, Testament = 9 letters, together that’s 39 books.

How many books are in New Testament? 27. How do you remember that? New = 3 letters, Testament = 9 letters, but there’s a cross in the New Testament, so 3 x 9 = 27).

And this is how most people read the Bible. The way it is in the table of contents. But in a chronological read through like what we are doing, we might read a story about King David in 2 Samuel, and then jump over to 1 Chronicles to read a different story about David. Psalms are placed either during the period in which they were written or in conjunction with the events they were written about. Who wrote over a third of the Psalms? David. Who are we studying at this point in the reading plan? David. So that’s why we are going back and forth between Psalms and 2 Samuel.

So last week I gave you a little introduction to the story of the Bible, from Judges to 2 Samuel. How many of you were here last week? Raise your hands. Ok—do you remember our hand signals? Stand up, and let’s review. Starting with the end of Judges—

[Everyone did what was right in their own eyes except Ruth and Samuel. United Kingdom, 120 years, Saul, No Heart, David, Whole Heart, Solomon, Half a Heart. ]

Good job. Now the people who weren’t here are going, I’m out for a week, and these people done lost their minds.

But again, this is to help you learn the storyline of the Bible, and how it fits together.

Last week, we talked about Saul. Where do you read his story? How would you describe Saul?

One of the other tools we use in the Walk Through the Bible seminars is teaching pictures. Here’s the one for 1 Samuel… [1 sand mule, holding a saw- Saul—No Heart) So if you can remember this image, you can remember that the book of 1 sand mule is about King Saul, who had no heart for God.

So of course, now we are in the book of 2 Sand Mule. There’s King David. How do you know its him? (Slingshot, harp, heart) But notice something else: There is a throne in between the two sand mules. Because God told David that he would establish David’s throne forever, and that there would never cease to be a Son of David forever.

One more thing in this picture: Go back to Saul’s picture. Is his shadow behind him or in front of him? Now David’s picture: is the shadow in front or behind? This little detail reminds us that David foreshadows the coming Messiah. And this morning we are going to see how.

Now we are ready to dive in to the story of David, the King with a whole heart. When Samuel first told Saul that the Lord was taking the kingdom away from him, he said,

 4 … The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince[b] over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

What was it about David that made God describe him as a man after God’s own heart. And what would it mean for you to be a man after God’s own heart? Or a woman after God’s own heart? Or high school student, Or Lieutenant colonel?

You have your Bibles open to 2 Samuel 9. Let’s read a story that is a great picture of what made David the King With a Whole Heart. Please stand to honor the reading of God’s Word.

[Read 2 Samuel 9:1-13]

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. Let’s pray.


What I want you to see from this story is that David is a picture of who God is. This whole story is a snapshot of God’s character and his grace. But before we see how David is a picture of who God is, let’s first look at how Mephibosheth is a picture of who we are.

Who is Mephibosheth? He was a son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul. Jonathan was David’s closest friend. When Jonathan helped save David’s life, he asked David to promise him that if he (Jonathan) was still alive when David came into his kingdom, that David would show him the steadfast love of the Lord, and that he, David, would show steadfast love to Jonathan’s descendants. And David swore to him.

Well, sure enough, Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle against the Philistines. When 2 Samuel opens, Ishbosheth, the surviving son of Saul proclaims himself king. This was bad news for Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son because even though he’s only five years at the time, he is the rightful heir to Saul, because he is the son Saul’s eldest, Jonathan. So in 2 Samuel 4,

 4 Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

It took David about eight years to establish his throne. So Mephibosheth is around 21 in 2 Samuel 9.

Now Mephibosheth is not a name we hear very often. You’re not going to go to Alvin’s Island in Panama City and find a “Mephibosheth” keychain. When we do baby dedication in a couple of weeks, there’s not a single Mephibosheth in the bunch.

And that’s because it’s not a great name. The name Mephibosheth means “Scattered and Ashamed.” Do you hear the “ph” in Me-PHibosheth? That’s actually a Hebrew word. It’s the sound you make when you blow on a dandelion and all the seeds are scattered by the wind.

It could also mean shattered and Ashamed. I don’t know if Bo’s parents were pessimists, or wanted a girl instead, or what. It’s just not a great name. But it is a prophetic name. When he was dropped as a child, his ankles were shattered, and for the rest of his life he would live in shame.


Verse 5 says that Mephibosheth is living in a place called “Lo-Debar” at this point. Debar is a Hebrew word that means either word or thing. It can also mean “promise.” And in Hebrew, Lo is a negating prefix, placed in front of a noun to indicate the absence of something. So Lo-Debar means either “No Word” or  No promise or “No Thing.”

And this is Bo’s address. Without a word, at the dead end of Skid Row, in the town of Nothing. If you ask Waze to get you to the middle of nowhere, it will take you to Mephibosheth’s house.

What was his condition? He was crippled in both feet. We hear this over and over.

  • 2 Samuel 4:4: He was crippled in both feet
  • 2 Samuel 9:3: David asks Ziba, one of Saul’s servants, if there is anyone left of the house of Saul to whom David could show kindness. Ziba doesn’t even call Mephibosheth by name. Verse 3 just says, There is still a son of Jonathan—he’s crippled in both feet.
  • And just in case we forget, look at verse 13: “So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was crippled in both feet.”

Let me pause and ask you: do you feel like this describes you this morning? You’ve had a life experience that shattered you—whether it was a divorce, or a death, or a diagnosis. Or you’ve made some bad choices and taken some wrong turns that you are ashamed of. And you feel like everyone around you defines you by that life experience or by those wrong choices:

  • He’s a cripple.
  • She’s the one who got pregnant in high school.
  • He’s a diabetic. He’s a cancer patient.
  • She’s an addict. She’s a widow.

And now you are living in Lo-Debar. You feel like your life has no promise and it’s going nowhere.

Maybe this doesn’t describe you at all. Maybe you are here this morning and from your perspective everything is great. But can I gently point out to you that Mephibosheth’s story is your story too, whether you realize it or not. See, we are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. When they disobeyed God, they realized they were naked, and they hid themselves because they were ashamed.

Their relationship with God and with each other was shattered. Sin broke that close fellowship with God. And God sent them out from the Garden of Eden, and their descendants scattered over the face of the earth.

That’s us right now. We inherited that sin nature that shattered our relationship with God. And if you do not have a relationship with Jesus, then hear how Paul describes you in Ephesians 2:

 12 remember lthat you were at that time separated from Christ,  alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise,  having no hope and without God in the world.

Sounds a lot like Lo-Debar, doesn’t it?

And whether we realize it or not, we are crippled in both feet.

Sometimes we think we can stand before God on our own goodness. Nope. The Bible says there is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:12). We are lame in that foot.

Sometimes we think we can stand before God on our own good works. But Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. We all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Remember the “ph” in “Mephibosheth?”) We are lame in that foot also.

These words that characterize Mephibosheth also characterize us. You are either shattered, lame, and ashamed and you know it, or you are shattered, lame, and ashamed and you don’t know it.

But now, the gospel.

Just as Mephibosheth is a a snapshot of a sinner; David is a snapshot of the Savior. in this chapter, David is a picture of who God is.

1. God keeps his promises.

David had made a covenant with Jonathan that he would show steadfast love to Jonathan’s descendants forever. That phrase steadfast love is the Hebrew word chesed, and it is the most common word in the Old Testament to describe God’s never ending, never failing love. Lamentations 3: 22-23 is a verse you need to memorize:

 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.


2. God pursues his people.

In 2 Samuel 9, David asks, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show kindness to him?” In the same way, God actively pursues people to call His own. You might remember Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet in Luke. The Father wanted to throw a wedding feast for his son, and he said to his servants, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.” Jesus that He came to seek and save the lost. God pursues His people.

3. God pours out His grace.

Mephibosheth had done nothing to earn David’s favor. His handicap meant he couldn’t work. He couldn’t fight. Look at how he describes himself verse 8: “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

But even if you feel like a dead dog, God is in the business of bringing dead things to life. Ephesians 2:4-5 says,

 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

4. God Accepts people as they are.

Like I pointed out to you before, every time Mephibosheth is mentioned, he is described as crippled in both feet. But I want you to notice that David never mentions it. Verse 6, David says, “Mephibosheth! Do not fear.” Verse 10: Mephibosheth shall always eat at my table.” David didn’t identify him by his condition. He called him by name. God calls you by name. John 3:16 is the most wonderful non-specific statement I’ve ever heard: “whosoever will believeth”

  • He doesn’t call you divorced. He calls you daughter.
  • He doesn’t call you an addict. He calls you accepted.
  • He doesn’t call you broken. He calls you bought with a price.
  • He doesn’t call you shattered. He calls you a saint.

David did not discount Mephibosheth because he was lame. In fact, David gave Mephibosheth a seat at the table, where he could not even see his feet. His handicap was not an issue and neither are yours.

5. God restores what has been lost.

Look again at verse 7. David says to Mephibosheth, I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” This is so contrary to what most kings do. When they conquer a land and its people, the land becomes theirs. But David says, I conquered your grandfather, so here’s your land back.

Who does that? God does that. We lost paradise. God gives it back. We lost self respect. God gives it back. We lost eternal life. God gives it back. We lost purpose. God gives it back.

God restores blessings to His followers. Ephesians 2:6-7:

 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus

6. God Desires Fellowship With Us

You know, David was king. And if what he did for Mephibosheth was just out of duty because he was stuck with this promise he made to Jonathan, then he would have just sent a memo to his staff: “Make sure this crippled kid gets taken care of.” He could have had Mephibosheth eat in the kitchen with the help.

Instead, verse 11 says that Mephibosheth “ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.” And it wasn’t just temporary. David didn’t say, let’s help this guy out until he gets back on his feet (poor choice of words!) No, according to verse 13: David moved Mephibosheth to Jerusalem. He gave Mephibosheth a permanent place at his table. That meant that they had the opportunity to form a lifelong friendship.

Someone needs to hear this today: God doesn’t just love you. He likes you. He doesn’t just want to save you and then let you live your life. He wants to walk with you, and you with him. And one day, you will be seated with His son, in His holy city, at a banquet that will last for all eternity.

How to Be After God’s Heart

What does it mean that David was a man after God’s own heart? Did it mean David was perfect? That he always did what was right? Not at all. In fact, next week we will look at the darkest moment of David’s life, when he was never less like God.

No, let’s think about being “after God’s heart” in a different way. Being after someone or something means you are pursuing that person, or that thing. If you hear about the police being in hot pursuit of a bad guy, it means they are after him. If you are a married man, think of how you were after your future bride’s heart when you were dating. You pursued her. You did your best to do the things that pleased her. You were after God’s heart.

To be a man after God’s heart means the same thing. You are after God’s heart. You are living a lifestyle of pursuit of God. You won’t always get it right. But when you fail, you pick up the pursuit again.

This morning, God wants you to catch Him. Let’s pray.



, , ,


2 responses to “The King With a Whole Heart (2 Sam 4:1-4; 9:1-13)”

  1. Kristie Correll Avatar

    Thank you Pastor James! Yes, I am Mephibosheth, but I have God with me, Jesus in me, to fulfill my promise.. pursue and restore me. I am totally accepted, and I am a woman after God’s own heart. <3

    1. James Avatar

      Yes, he is, and yes you are! Thank you for such a great testimony.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: