Yes the parades, with green hair, green beer and even a green river here in Tampa are past, but Saint Patrick’s day is not till this Thursday. It is interesting to remember that Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish! The best part of his story did not even begin until after being kidnapped and enslaved, then escaping back to England when he committed his life to Christ. Later Patrick returned to Ireland with the message of the gospel and his story is in many ways like each of ours. Like Patrick we have plenty of unexpected and unwanted events that happen to us. But whatever difficulties we face that keep us up at night we can also have that same blessed assurance when we choose to follow Jesus. We will never know just where He will send us with His message of hope and grace until we surrender to Him and receive His Blessed Assurance in our soul.
Return From Lo Debar – Part 2
And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 2 Samuel 9:7 ESV
This verse paints us a beautiful picture of the restoration of Mephibosheth, but he is not the focus of the story. The return from Lo Debar begins in the heart of David keeping his promise to a friend. In the same way, restoration in our lives begins in the heart of God. In our culture today, it is common to say that people are special and that on their birthday we celebrate their “special” day. We pay more to go to doctors who are specialists and pour resources into programs to help people with “special needs.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to think they have special value, but it is dangerous to make any person the center of our lives. The reality is, that only God is special and that everything good flows from making Him and His love the center of our story. So, let’s look at the wonderful things that happened to our friend Mephibosheth as his life was changed forever by the kindness of King David.
First, Mephibosheth was given everything that his grandfather had lost by sin and rebellion against God. Instead of digging up past failures, David focused on giving his friend’s son a fresh start. In the process of fleeing to Lo Debar Mephibosheth had been crippled by a fall. The society of his day considered him no more important than a common beggar. But David didn’t look down on Mephibosheth, instead he provided him with a life of dignity and respect. Secondly, David was not satisfied with just blessing Mephibosheth. He also wanted Mephibosheth to be close to him. While many generals, wealthy merchants and priests were held in high esteem by the people, only a select few could sit down and have dinner with David. In the same way, God invites you and I to sit close to Him. God wants to do more than just bless us. He wants to be our closest friend! But we will never fully know Him until we know that returning from Lo Debar is about more than only blessings. It is about sitting down at the table with Jesus every day and getting to know Him better and better every day of our lives!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV
After the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the wise men went home to their country, the shepherds to their fields and Mary and Joseph after a time of hiding in Egypt returned to Nazareth. But when their travels were over, the journey of Jesus had just begun. The first leg of His trip had brought Him to our world, but for the next thirty-three years Jesus walked the second leg of His journey on His way to find us. Yes, God allowed Himself to be born as a fragile baby boy, but Bethlehem’s story is only half told if we all we do is walk away from the manger scene with warm fuzzy feelings.
In reality, the path from Bethlehem’s stable to Golgotha’s hill was even farther than the one from heaven to earth. After three years of healing the sick, comforting the outcasts and showing what God’s love was really all about, Jesus was left alone. On the cross He had no one to comfort Him and no one to understand, except His Father in heaven. Then with His final breath He surrendered His life for ours. There, at the cross Jesus finished His journey as He paid for our sins with His blood. In thankful astonishment let’s trust Him with our hearts, so that our journey that began with Christmas will lead us all the way to Heaven’s door!