1. Can you recall a time when you were extended an unexpected kindness?
2. How did it make you feel? (Valued, loved, important to that person, humbled, I had dignity, etc.)
3. What effect did it have on you past the immediate impact?
God made a promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 that we studied last week. Chapter 8 tells us how David conquered the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians of Zobah and Damascus, the Edomites, and the Ammonites. The empire of David and Solomon would never be equaled in Israel’s history! This was the fulfillment of God’s promise in Exodus 23:31—“I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates River. For I will place the inhabitants of the land under your control, and you will drive them out ahead of you.”
David recognized all his wealth and power resulted from God’s kindness to him. He honored God by extending that kindness to others and fulfilling promises he made to Jonathan!
Our focal passage today emphasizes that God expects and empowers us to honor Him by making a difference in others’ lives by extending kindness to them!
Searched! Read 2 Samuel 9:1-5
It was rare for ancient kings to show kindness to a former king’s family, usually kings killed any perceived rival to their throne.
1. Why did David want to show kindness to King Saul’s and Jonathan’s descendants? (David had made a promise to Jonathan that he would show kindness to his family.)
2. What do you think Ziba was thinking when he was summoned to the king’s house? (King Herod told the Wise Men to come tell him where Jesus was so he could come worship him also. Falsehoods were rampant to protect one’s own interest!)
Lo-debar was on the east side of the Jordan River and was a Gentile city controlled by David.
3. What are some pros and cons of the pop-culture mandate to practice “random acts of kindness”? (Motivation is the key. To show the kindness of God to others; to receive recognition )
Spontaneous acts of kindness are great but must not take the place of planned acts of kindness. We are not to wait for opportunities to be kind to drop in our laps, but put forth effort to find those who need kindness.
4. Why was Mephibosheth in need of kindness? (Most likely he was living in fear of what David would do if he was found. He had no property and no obvious means of income, although he did have a family. He was most likely keeping a low profile so as not to be found.)
Mephibosheth was an outcast in every since of the word. Physical disability was cause for great shame in that culture. Mephibosheth didn’t even have a house of his own but was cared for by Machir as he hid in Lo-debar.
5. What roadblocks might a person need to overcome to keep a promise? (It takes effort. The receiving party may not be receptive. Motives may be questioned.)
6. How do the potential roadblocks add to the value of the promise? (It takes a real effort to overcome obstacles which makes the kindness shown more valuable.)
7. When you face obstacles to showing others kindness do you give up too easily and say, “Well, maybe it wasn’t meant to be”?
At least 20 years have passed since David made his promise to Jonathan. Mephibosheth has a family of his own. It’s never too late to extend kindness!
8. How can a person show kindness to others in a way that ensures the praise for that act is attributed to God? (Do everything you can to make it anonymous!)
Kindness is not a feeling but a fruit of God’s Spirit. Kindness takes deliberate decision and purposeful action.
Extended! Read 2 Samuel 9:6-8
1. What emotions might Mephibosheth have felt as he approached David? (Fear, anxiety, etc.)
He expressed his dire situation: “take an interest in a dead dog.”
2. What are some principles for extending kindness we might draw from David? (Treat people with dignity, call them by name, speak kind words, and show unconditional love.)
Notice David didn’t put any conditions on his kindness.
3. What factors contribute to people becoming angry or defensive as a response to kindness? (They might respond—“What makes you think I need your help?” Or “You think you’re better than me, don’t you!”)
4. What was David’s two-fold restoration of Mephibosheth?
5. What was significant about each? (By giving him the property that had belonged to Saul he was giving him a means of income to support his family. By telling him he would eat at the king’s table David was saying “You are like a son to me.”)
6. How was the kindness of David like the kindness that God shows us?
7. Notice how Mephibosheth responded! How does his response mirror the way we should respond to God? (Thankful and obedient as a servant to God.)
David didn’t just do a one-time nice thing for Mephibosheth to appease his conscience, but he also made plans to continue caring for him!
Planned! Read 2 Samuel 9:9-13
1. Note Mephibosheth’s feet were not restored. What was restored? (Dignity, confidence, joy, a since of worth, etc.)
2. What actions can we take today that would give another person dignity, confidence, and joy?
3. How do the things David provided Mephibosheth compare to the things God provides us?
4. What does God provide for His children?
5. How can we celebrate God’s divine provisions? (Share them with others!)
Every person needs to contribute to the good of the community and be willing to accept help when they are in need!
Summary and Challenge!
1. Some people say that their faith is a private matter. What do you think our focal passage today says about that?
2. Why is faith an expression rather than something to have or to claim? (We show what we believe in our acts of kindness or lack of it. Read James 2:14-19.)
Read Psalm 40:10
3. Am I following the example of the psalmist by spreading the good news about how God loves and redeems us?