At the Kings Table
I want us to reflect on the Royalty that belongs to the Children of God. On the First “Palm Sunday” we read there that they “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord”. John 12:13.
Jesus truly is King, and if you’ve crowned Him the “king of your life” and own his Lordship, then you too have become part of that Royal Lineage, that Royal Priesthood, Gods own people.
But while we have inherited and posses a Royalty that rightly belongs to us, few of us seem to live as members of heavens Royal Family.
In my Sermon today entitled “At the Kings Table” I want to focus on the place that is ours at Gods table. So stay with me
as we ponder some remarkable portions of Scripture.
The Bible says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. Ephesians 2:8-9 At one time we were under the law, like the Children of Israel to whom God gave the 10 Commandments, and walking with God was all about “performance” – all about what we did. Now in Jesus, we are under “grace” and that’s all about what HE did. It is His blood, His sacrifice, His covenant agreement with God that allows us into the throne room of Heaven, to stand at the throne of grace, and to sit at table of grace. Gods Table, is a Table of Grace; It is a gift to us, unmerited, undeserved, and we are unqualified to sit there.
In order for us to understand something of this Royal privilege, we need to look at a Biblical example, and where better that into the Old Testament story of David and Jonathan. In the first book of Samuel, you will remember the story of David and Goliath, and how with a single stone, David, a young shepherd boy of about 17 years old, brought down this Philistine Giant, and his whole army – and came into great favour with the then King Saul. Jonathan was King Saul’s son, and naturally in line for the Throne, but God had anointed and appointed David for that throne, and even though this fact would soon become obvious to Jonathan, (in other words David would take what was naturally his), the Bible tells us that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and David loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1. Moreover, verse 3, tells us that these two young men made a “covenant” with each other. If you look back into the history of those times and the meaning of the word “covenant” you will discover that these two were in fact making what was called a “blood” bond or promise, in that they would make an incision in the wrist and allow the blood of each to mingle with the other, thus becoming what we call “blood brothers”. Covenant brothers may say: All that I have belongs to you, and if anyone hurts you, they hurt me, and so on. So picture if you will this bond of loving affection and promise that was now fixed between them. Marriage, is just such a covenant, marriage is a covenant making act. It is the two becoming “one flesh” and that’s a Holy thing, there is nothing evil about it.
In the second book of Samuel, and in the first chapter, we read that both Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle at Gilboa, and that David lamented, heart-broken for the loss of his dear
friend Jonathan 2 Sam 1:17 and indeed David was “distressed” to lose such a friend and such a brother. Saul’s household was immediately plunged into mourning but also plunged into fear, thinking that David would now come and take the Throne by force – but nothing could have been farther than the truth. Even the maid ran off with 5 year old Prince Mephibosheth Saul’s Grandson, Jonathans Son, and in her panic she dropped him and he became lame in his feet, crippled for life.
Now LOCK that story into your memory for a moment, for I want to take you to another Biblical “covenant” and another place where the “wrists” were bloodied in the sealing of another promise. Speaking of that, the Psalmist writes, “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet”. Psalm 22:16 We know of course that this is a Messianic Psalm and the Psalmist speaks of the “Crucifixion” of our Blessed Lord Jesus, and that following his resurrection Jesus was at pains to ensure that they took notice of his hands and his feet. Luke 24:39.
Historians tell us that contrary to popular thinking, crucified criminals were not pierced in the palms of the hand as many pictorial images show, (for there is no strength there in that fleshy part of the hand to retain the fixing nor the weight of the body) rather the piercing is in the wrist, between the bones, so that there is the ability to fasten the weighty body to the wooden cross. God made a covenant with the man Christ Jesus, a blood covenant, that secures and settles for ever the honouring of the promise that “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved”. Its a covenant that lasts for time and for eternity.
Returning now to David and Jonathan, David often sees the scars on his wrist and is reminded of his covenant. And we find David still mourning over Jonathan, asking ” Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Samuel 9:1 His servants remind him that Mephibosheth (Jonathans Son) was still alive and living and hiding in the desert of Lodebar. The word “Lodebar” means a place of no word and no work. It was what we might call a “God forsaken” place. So David orders “Go get him” for David wants to show him love and shower on him blessings.
Many of Gods “princes” are just like Mephibosheth, they are living in dry deserted places – struggling for life and living beneath their privileges, when all the time there is a King looking for them and a place set on His Table. God longs to bless his children, longs for them to know that there is always a place for them at his table. That’s the heart of God for you.
So David sends for Mephibosheth, and when the son of Jonathan, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!”
2 Samuel 9:6
Listen what David said in verse 7:
“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.”
God shows us grace and kindness not for our own sake, but “for Jesus sake” God will heal your body “for Jesus sake” – God will get you that job “for Jesus sake” – God will put you in that place
of honour “for Jesus sake”- God will bless your finances “for Jesus sake” – God will allow you to sit every day at his table (continually) “for Jesus sake” – Its all for Jesus sake.
Its not about how good you are, not about your keeping the rules, your going to Church, your saying your prayers, your giving your money, its all about Jesus, “for Jesus sake”. Gods promise, Gods covenant was with Jesus, and thus with you the younger brother or sister for Jesus sake. Jesus is our Elder Covenant brother. This is Grace … Amazing Grace!
It didn’t matter to David that Mephibosheth was crippled, it didn’t matter that he was dirty from desert life, or that he called himself “a servant”. David knew that he was a Royal Prince, and as such he deserved to sit at the Kings table, for the sake of the covenant with Jonathan, for the sake of the blood, we take care of one another. And God is saying to you that when he sees the blood on Jesus hands, then God will take care of you and take care of me “for Jesus sake” – Praise God for evermore.
Now there are a few things in these verses that if we miss them, we miss a great blessing.
First of all, let us back-track a little and consider Mephibosheth’s “lameness” the fact that he was crippled. When he was dropped by the palace Maid at the age of Five, I don’t expect that in those days they knew much about “setting of bones” and it was likely that his feet were bound up with a few sticks of wood until it was thought that the bones had knitted together. But Mephibosheth was scared for life. He would never walk “well” again. Yet consider this, “Mephibosheth was dropped on his feet physically, so that we could stand on our feet spiritually”
and I have no doubt about that. Because if we are being honest, every one of us have been “crippled” in some way or other.
None of us are “walking as well as we could or should”? There is a disease in all of us, the Bible calls it sin, that renders us all
deformed in some way or other. Yet David says, “you shall eat at my table continually”. When we eat at the Table, where do we put our feet? Yes, our feet are under the table, and the focus of the host and the guest is never under the table but above the table. Stop looking under the table, we have all sinned, we have all soiled and spoiled our feet. God is saying to you and to me today that He is not focused on our past, on that which cripples us, on that which has deformed us, or that which has been stolen from us, on that which has been hidden by us, on that which has been shameful to us, on that which has been hurtful for us, GODS FOCUS is now on what He has provided before us on the table “for Jesus sake”. God focus is that he has brought us into his banqueting house and His banner over us is Love. Never mind what’s under the table, never mind how you have soiled your feet, keep that out of sight, Gods mercy and grace – Gods table cloth, covers all of that “for Jesus sake”- Hallelujah.
We all have sinned, we have all lame feet not just Mephibosheth? The story is told of a group of boys huddled together in the corner of a park. Passing by was the local Vicar, who went and asked what they were doing? “We have found a stray dog” one spoke up, “ and we are trying to decide who should keep it? We have all agreed that the Boy who can tell the biggest lie, will keep the dog”. “That’s disgraceful” replied the Vicar, “when I was a boy, your age, I never told lies”. The boys huddled together for a moment and then as one said:
“We all agree, You should keep the dog, Vicar”.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”
Notice too that when Mephibosheth came in he fell prostrate on the ground and called himself “thy servant”? Had he forgotten that he was the Kings son? How easy it is to forget who we are.
Now there was a Servant in David’s house called Ziba, and David called Ziba and said to him : “Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for Mephibosheth, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants“. 2 Samuel 9:10
To the servant David gives command, to the son, (adopted son) there is no command – only “don’t be afraid” words of grace. You are Gods sons and Daughters, God commands servants, but God speaks Grace to us. So Ziba, has 15 sons and 20 servants, altogether 35, were now in place to serve Mephibosheth
all the remaining days of his life.
But some of you may be asking “Are we not all Servants of God”. NO, we are first and foremost SONS of God, yet the son who takes the place of service finds glory there. E.g. For Prince William or Prince Harry to take their coats off and roll up their sleeves and muck in with the rest – there is glory there. When a servant serves, there is no glory, but when a son serves there is glory, so remember that we are first sons, then servants. After we have served, we remain sons, … after Jesus had sacrificed and served, He sat down as the Son, at the Fathers right hand in the “glory”.
The Devil wants us to forget who we are. The Devils “brief” is to make you forget who you are? Mephibosheth when he was
dropped, he was still the Kings son. Mephibosheth when he was living in the desert of Lodebar was still the Kings son. Mephibosheth although now adopted by David, is still the Kings son. Jesus was pronounced “my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” at his Baptism in Mark 1:11 and a few days later when he was being tempted in the wilderness by the Devil, the first thing that Satan questions is his relationship, his son-ship. “If you are the son of God, make these stones into bread”. Satan knew who Jesus was and he could easily have said “since you are the son of God…” but the temptation was not about food or hunger, it was about relationship, and the Devil will always attack us regarding our relationship with God.
Even when Jesus hung on the Cross, he comes with the same temptation “if you are the son of God, come down from the cross”. Matt 27:40 Satan does not want you to know that you are a Son or a Daughter, so if he can keep you living like a “servant” he will have succeeded. Knowing you are a Son and a Daughter will empower you to reign in life! Jesus did not have to “perform” to prove who he was, He knew who he was. The Christian life is not about proving who you are, it is about knowing who you are.
Some of us imagine the Devil all dressed up in a red cape with pointed horns and carrying a pitchfork, but that is the picture the Devil paints of himself, it is not what the Bible paints. The Devil is a spirit and will attack us in the mind, in our thoughts, so it is a battle for the mind that he plays. A deceptive battle and in sinister and subtle little ways he will drop a thought into the mind, in an attempt to deceive and distract our focus away from God and what He expects of us.
The Devil is still playing at the same game, and he is playing with many of us today. Be careful that you are not allowing him to convince you that you do not belong to Jesus. Remember the Devil may come to you as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even from the pulpit the Devil can tempt and test your faith, for if you are sitting up under any ministry that makes you doubt if you are
a Child of God, then you have just heard from the Devil.
It is an awesome responsibility to be a Preacher, but we are supposed to be preaching the Gospel – the Good News!
I love what the Hymn writer wrote:
“Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity”.
Remember too that as a Son, God has called others to serve you. I thank God today for the many who stand by me and make their
prosperity available to me for the work of the ministry and the advancement of the Kingdom of God. For more than 33 years in ministry God has moved in the hearts of many of his serving sons and daughters to provide for my needs, and I thank God for every one of them. Together we sit at the Kings Table, first and foremost as His Sons, then as Servants of one another.
God has a place laid for you at his table too, and you may eat there continually. I like what David said himself in Psalm 23.5
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Don’t allow the Devil to steal your place.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
David’s dealings with Mephibosheth were not so much about what Mephibosheth meant to him, but about what Jonathan
meant to him. In effect David was saying to Mephibosheth
“I am doing all this not because of what you are to me, but because of what I am to you, for Jonathans sake”.
This then is the focus of Gods grace and mercy and it lies at the heart of the Gospel, the gospel of grace. Some have said that if we are not preaching “grace” to the point where it is being misunderstood, then we are not preaching grace. God is a good God, he is a merciful God, and like the story Jesus told of the Prodigal in Luke 15, the Father longingly waits for the Son to come home, home to the Blessing, home to the Banquet. God is not waiting to “hound” you, but to “honour” you “for Jesus sake”.
Forget about your past, bring it to Jesus and let him cleanse it and cure it, cover it and take care of it. His blood can do it all,
it has never ever lost its power.
None of us are worthy of, or deserve to sit “under the table” let alone “at the Kings table”. Yet because of Jesus, because of who He is, because of His Son-ship, because of His Sacrifice, and because of His Service, “for his sake” … we too have been made “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with
the saints, and of the household of God;” Eph 2:19
So sit down today at the Kings Table, you may eat there continually, for God delights to do you good for Jesus sake.
God Bless You … Amen