From Crippled Feet to the Love of God

Several years ago, I developed plantar fasciitis.

I had been pushing myself with lots of walking prior to going on a cruise trip with my husband’s family.

On the last full day of the cruise, my husband and I walked over ten miles in one day.

When I stood up after the evening meal, I could not put any weight on my left foot. 

I was still limping the next day when we had to navigate getting off the ship and through the airports to return home.

Once we were finally home and I elevated my feet, I realized both feet were in pain.

For the next three years, I lived in tennis shoes because of this injury. Going barefoot was excruciating.

Thankfully, over time and with a commitment to wearing good shoes and plenty of stretching exercises, I have only occasional flare-ups.

 Are you wondering why I’m talking about my crippled feet on a Bible study blog?

Read the following passage:

1 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.”
3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.”
4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.”
5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.
6 And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.”
7 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.”
8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson.
10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants.
13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

2 Samuel 9:1-13

Why does David show kindness to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth? (See 1 Samuel 20:14-15, 42)

This passage mentions Mephibosheth’s crippled feet twice. Why is this detail important? (See 2 Samuel 4:4 and note how Mephibosheth became crippled.)

How well could a crippled person care for and defend themselves back then? Now?

Now consider the following passage from the New Testament:

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments.
4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

1 John 2:1-6

What is the reason given in verse one for John writing these words?

Who is our advocate when we do wrong according to verse one?

How do we know if we and others really know God and Christ? (See verse three)

Bringing both passages together

David was faithful to his promise to Jonathan and provided generously for Mephibosheth.

Does David’s treatment of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel anticipate Christ’s advocating for us? Why or why not?

How are you like Mephibosheth as you come before God?

Remember, Mephibosheth did not cause his own crippled feet. His injury was a circumstance beyond his control. Yet, he still had a responsibility to be obedient and loving.

Because I over-exercised in bad shoes, I caused my foot issues. Even so, I also am called to be obedient and loving, regardless of whether I am in any kind of pain.

No matter our circumstances, whether caused by others or ourselves, we are all called to obedience and love.

Consider the following response of Christ regarding the greatest commandment.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 
38 This is the great and first commandment. 
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40

What does obedience to Christ’s commands have to do with God’s love for us?

When have you extended generosity toward another person out of obedience to God?

Describe a time someone extended generosity towards you out of obedience to God.

Who is God placing on your heart as you read this study? What can you do to encourage them this week?

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

John 3:16


Barbara Lynn


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