Memo 1073: Lesson Learned
Have you ever been put into a difficult situation for what seems to be no reason? Have you ever suffered at the hands of a poor or ill-equipped leader? Before David became king, he would have answered yes to both questions, but this week let's look at the reason God put David in those situations. He put him there to teach him how not to lead.
After David had enjoyed many military victories, he turned his attention to more personal matters:
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? . . . “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” (2 Samuel 9:1, 3a).
Usually, this was a dangerous question, for it meant the king was looking to eliminate any of the former king's descendants so they would not come forward and lay claim to the throne. If and when they found any, they would usually exile or kill them. However, David remembered his covenant of love with Jonathan and was looking to bless and not harm Saul's descendants. David was informed,
“There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar" (2 Samuel 9:3b-4).
Not only was there a descendant, but he had a physical challenge, which meant he had nothing to offer David. He could not serve in the military or as a household servant. Yet David did not want to use Jonathan's son; he wanted to bless him and honor Jonathan's memory:
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table" (2 Samuel 9:6-7).
Why would David do such a gracious and generous thing when it wasn't in his best interests to do so? He did it because he had learned his lessons from Saul. He had learned how not to lead.
Saul had persecuted and harassed David, so David knew what it felt like to have the leader be against him. Now he was the leader and he had to make a choice: Will I act like Saul or will I set a better example and do the gracious thing that was never done to me? David chose to extend to Mephibosheth what had not been given to him and that was kind treatment. What's more, Mephibosheth could not repay David; there was nothing in it for the king.
When have you learned difficult life lessons through mistreatment or the callous actions of others? Are you repeating what was done to you, or did you learn and do you remember what the pain feels like, deciding not to repeat the mistakes of the past? Often God will teach you what to do by experiencing the pain of it not being done; then you will have a choice later to respond properly. You learned that response by others not responding with love and grace toward you.
God knows how to impart important lessons to you, but you have to pay attention so you can learn and then act accordingly. David learned his lessons at the hand of a tyrant and he decided not to act like that when he came to his throne. As you prepare for your throne, God wants to teach you the same kind of lessons in the same manner. Learn them well and, as you do, have a blessed week.