/ Hospitality / Andrew Kerr

A Kindness Repaid

In my last post I wrote of David's kindness to Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan: the King's best friend's boy feasted at the palace table for the duration of his days. He had to be fetched from the house of Machir, in Lo-Debar, recorded for us in 2 Samuel 9.4-5:

"The king said to him 'Where is he?' And Ziba said to the king 'He is in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, at Lo-Debar.' Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, at Lo-Debar."

It was this demonstration of God's kindness, that could never be forgotten, which lived long in Machir's memory.

Some time later, when Absalom rose in rebellion, Machir returned the favor with interest. David was down in the dumps, the whole nation had revolted, friends were very scarce and His Kingdom was left hanging by a thread. It is at this low ebb - along with Barzillai the Gileadite and Shobi from Rabbah of the Ammonites - that Machir from Lo-Debar, came loaded with lavish supplies: this concerted action proved vital, replenishing, refreshing and reviving royalist forces.

What open-handed generosity in a time of personal crisis! You can almost hear the cogs whirling round in Machir's brain! 'Is kind King David in trouble? Is my friend's faithful Monarch in danger? Has the Son of Jesse no remaining friend in Israel outside his forces? Well, if that's the case, then I must do what I can to relieve him with some kindness - perhaps that will help to retrieve the situation!' The inventory of the conveyor belt of mouth-watering delicacies (if you live in the Middle East!) is recorded in 2 Samuel 17.28-29:

"Beds, basins and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said 'The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.'"

What comfort it brought! How it lifted David's heart! His men were so encouraged! Frowns turned to smiles! Friendless fugitives were embraced! King David, the LORD's Anointed (the Old Testament Messiah or Christ - that is what Anointed literally means), in accordance with a Covenant, had poured out lovingkindness on his friend some time ago - now this gracious favour is voluntarily returned with interest in extremis. Had David treated Mephibosheth to a feast in the palace - the LORD now spreads a table in the desert for His King.

Definitely in David's case the old adage proved true - what goes around comes around. Jesus put it a little differently 'Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these my brethren you do it unto me.' Do you see how lovingkindess, by God's grace, becomes infectious among the faithful? Or as Paul put it well, if we understand the implications of the Gospel (in Romans 1-11), we are to present our lives as living sacrifices, in Romans 12.10-13:

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."

What tastebud-tingling treat have you got lined up for saints?