Let Him Take All: Part 1

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 11
These significant and touching words fell from the lips of Mephibosheth, in reply to king David on his memorable return to the throne. They are words worthy of consideration, and afford true practical instruction for the heart and conscience; as they are no less fraught with encouragement to the believer. Those who have known in any measure what divine grace is, with the marvelous way God in wisdom and love has taken to express it, must ever find delight in the free and blessed action of David toward Mephibosheth. It is a God-given sample of it, not only in what grace bestows, but in what it produces. To show the kindness of God to him, belonging as he did to the house of Saul the king's enemy, was an act of pure grace. Hence was it the suited occasion to call forth both the feelings and resources of David in the hour of his power and glory.
It was not a little to inquire or search for any of Saul's house; but, when the king learned of the hidden one and his lameness, to send and have him brought into the king's presence declared plainly his determined purpose of kindness. Not only so; but he acted from himself according to his own gracious intentions. This was, both as to reception and position, not only worthy of the king but according to “the kindness of God” as already declared to the servant Ziba. That the recipient of such grace should bow in reverence and fear was befitting; yet it was only the happy occasion for the king to express his feelings and intention. “Fear not,” therefore, only began the tale of grace; for the restoration of forfeited land must follow, crowned with the consummate blessedness that the son of a wicked persecutor should eat bread continually at the king's table as one of his own sons. Such was the king's purpose made known and made good to the favored object of his grace.
Unworthiness is of course consciously felt by those on whom grace is bestowed; therefore elation, much less glorying in self, is quite set aside; so that Mephibosheth's confession, “What is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am”? is the language (as of every heart morally) to the exclusion of pride and presumption. Hence to take the place and position at the table as a son was in character with the pure grace of the king. Naturally it would be considered needful and right to show by his conduct toward the king that Mephibosheth had proved himself a loyal and obedient subject; but this would have been in character with law-keeping and not according to grace, which brings into the place of nearness and fullest confidence.
How precious is grace, not only for what it bestows, but what it produces in the heart of its recipient The one acting in grace surely looks for the proper response to it, though never at the cost of weakening the bestowed blessing, but rather to deepen the sense of its fullness and blessedness. Moreover as the same God uses the occasion of deep need for the display of His grace, so He graciously and wisely orders as well as permits the circumstances for the response to it, as is strikingly seen in this case. The hour of David's royalty is followed by his dethronement and suffering. Absalom his wicked son steals away the hearts of the people; so that the true and only king has to take to flight, and by it the fidelity of all hearts is tested.
Mephibosheth is equal to the moment. Fellowship in the hour of suffering marked him, as much as his previously given place at the king's table. Not only were his resources placed at the disposal of the suffering king, but he carried his person in character with it. For he “neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until he came again in peace.” True, he had been misrepresented by Ziba, the lying deceitful servant, who was not slow to take advantage of his master's lameness to go and pour false things into the king's ears. Lying and deceit with outward pretension of devotion seemed most successful for the moment. Yea, a failing type of the true king may be overcome and taken in by it; but the meeting-day of disclosures must come sooner or later as is seen here. David returns, and the ever faithful Mephibosheth goes forth to meet him, when the truth comes out as to the false and the true servant.
Not only is Ziba righteously shown up to the king, and the faithful action and position of Mephibosheth confessed, but the true sense of the grace David had shown at the first had never left him. The same thoughts of himself as a dead dog governed him; yea, better still, his heart was full of unselfish devotion to the person of the king. Lands, when offered, were nothing to him; for he was absorbed in the person of the king, and the joy of seeing him and his rights established gave witness to the touching effects grace produced, to the delight surely of him who bestowed it. If the king too had hastily decided in favor of a false servant, now that he is rightly informed he assuredly learns, that the subject of past grace had not only been true and consistent during his absence, but that David himself was more than all beside. For in reply to offered divided land Mephibosheth adds, “Let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.” The testing evidence as to the fidelity of his heart, and the record that proves it touchingly, remain.
In this day and dispensation of the sovereign grace of God, and not least at the present time of great pretension in religious profession and activity, it is not too much to say little is known of the place grace gives or what it should produce. The principle and character of grace is according to David and Mephibosheth, though surely of a higher order and infinitely greater in its extent; seeing that the holy and righteous ground has been once and forever laid for the display of it, at Calvary's cross, in and by the death of God's own and only Son Who by the “grace of God” tasted death. Such an expression of rich and sovereign grace must surpass the salvation it brings or the glory answering to it. Let this be understood, or at least taken in as God's own testimony, that death has been gone into with its claims as to sin completely exhausted by the Son of God, then all other wonders cease, or at least are nothing in comparison to it. God in love gave the Son, and the Son in love gave Himself, to die for sin and sinners; and this, when the world hated both the Father and the Son. This standing fact the scriptures most emphatically declare, as also that the One Who died has entered heaven; yea, after having once for all offered Himself as the one and only sacrifice for sins, He “forever sat down on the right hand of God.” No further proof is needed that the claims of truth and holiness have been met as to sin, and the glory of God everlastingly secured, seeing that the One Who did the mighty work is at rest at God's own right hand. The cross where sin was judged and the throne of God are together, so to speak, in the One that supplied the altar and now fills the throne.
Such a person and work with its blessed results may well form the basis for the full display of the rich and boundless grace of God. And it may truly be asked where and when can that grace be shown and applied, but in the same manifested scene of sin and sinners where Jesus was crucified? A condemned world, where man is under judgment and already proved lost and guilty, is therefore the sphere for the full and free activities of sovereign grace; when too every barrier has been righteously removed for the free outlet of the boundless love of God toward ruined man.
In the Epistle to the Romans, where the gospel of the grace of God is so richly unfolded, the words at the opening significantly declare it to be “the gospel of God,” and most assuredly concerning His Son Jesus Christ and Him risen from the dead, but no less true seed of David after the flesh. He it is in and through whom “the kindness of God” is now displaying itself, in Whom alone all the resources of God are treasured up in their all-sufficiency for the deepest need. This every servant and true exponent of the grace of God should remember and surely act upon; especially in this day when ways and means outside the written word and the paramount claims of the Lord are largely used under the deluding plea of the end justifying the means. To every true and obedient servant bearing God's glad tidings the words of the risen Lord are most instructive and salutary, in connection with the commission recorded at the end of the first three Gospels. For He clearly makes known in Whom all power is, also the sphere and persons for whom the gospel is intended, as well as the duly appointed agent of power by whom the testimony should be rendered and made good. This is most assuring and soul-strengthening when known and acted upon, viz., that the risen, exalted, Savior and Lord has all power given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:1818And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)); and that all the world is the sphere where the gospel is to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:1515And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)). Moreover, the Holy Ghost should be sent from heaven as the mighty power to preach it, to carry it on and make it effectual (Luke 24:47-4947And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things. 49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47‑49)). Such is the grand secret for every faithful servant to know and act on in going forth from the presence of earth's rejected but heaven's accepted Savior, Lord, and King, to sound forth the news of God's boundless grace; not to an individual at Lodebar, but to begin at Jerusalem (in the place where Jesus was cruelly and unrighteously cast out and crucified) and thence to the ends of the earth, declaring free and full remission of sins through the name of Jesus, and this for His very murderers.
How lamentably true, as things on every hand testify to the fact, that very little is the precious grace of the gospel of God known or declared, notwithstanding its unmistakable clearness, particularly in the Epistle to the Romans! Yet there it remains in its world-wide blessedness for every poor sinner, whether Jew or Gentile; seeing that God declares all to be guilty before Him, “For all sinned and come short of the glory of God” None can escape; indeed, well that it is so, when God is acting in the fullness and freeness of His grace, infinitely beyond anything David did or could do in his day.
Divine wisdom and love devised and made a way out from guilt and condemnation to a place in Christ, with holy and happy liberty, not only lift but the Spirit of adoption received, crying “Abba Father “; and nothing short of this is the present action and display of sovereign grace.
A brief glance at chapters 3 to 8 of that wonderful Epistle will plainly show the starting point and landing stage in the ways of God! For in His matchless grace He now declares His righteousness, both in justifying the guilty, and also in divinely clothing those that believe in the blood of His Son in Whom alone redemption is. Not only is the righteousness of God fully manifested “unto” all, but it is “upon” all them that believe. No less is the question of the sins of the believer fully and finally settled, because the substitute on whom God laid them has been raised from the dead.
This the end of chapter 4, &c. clearly states, in that Jesus was “delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.” Therefore His shed blood, His death and resurrection, may well give the solid basis and righteous means for the soul's present and everlasting peace with God, which is faith's title and portion. To stop here even would be but part of the sweet tale of grace, as to either full deliverance or suitability in life and relationship to God Himself. For the question of the nature common to all the race of sinful Adam has alike been raised, gone into, and decided, in order that life and liberty in Christ the last Adam might be known as a present portion. This, divine love both anticipated and provided for at all cost to itself; for the reign of sin must have its counterpart in the reign of grace, through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ.
(To be continued, D.V.)