The Invitation is for YOU!

7 Feb

“For many, the demands of everyday life are so packed with activities, responsibilities, and to-do lists that feeling overwhelmed is normal.  With so many pressures few have time to feed their soul.  The result is spiritual and emotional starvation—a deep inner hunger for peace, rest, and security.  And this hunger is pervasive.  At every age, in every walk of life, too many of us are starving for the nourishment that only God can provide.   .   .   .   . Unfortunately, too many of us try to satisfy our hunger with the spiritual equivalent of “fast food” – self-defeating behaviors, relationships that have more to do with feeding carnal hunger than the longing of the soul.” – The Daniel Cure, Pg. 13

Those words jumped off the page of Susan Gregory’s book as if the Holy One Himself had dragged a yellow highlighter over them.  They spoke straight to my heart – again.  You see this particular passage is simply the latest in what seems to be several other instances of Holy highlighting.  And here’s the thing—when I string them all together, one after the other, they all deliver the same invitation.

creation swap communion meal ribbetThere it is —  engraved by the Most High,

signed by the Blood of the Lamb,

and heart delivered by the Spirit of Glory.

Will you, Marilyn, spend one year with your chair pulled close?

The invitation arrived in the early fall of 2013.  Since then, my heart has fingered it over at least a hundred times.  I felt the fine linen paper when He delivered my verse for 2014:

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2, The MSG

You don’t keep much closer company than when you’re eating together.  You don’t get a lot of chances to look at someone as up close and personal as you do when you share a meal.

I moved my hand over the raised lettering as I wrote post after post filled with exhortation to you and to me to seek hard after Him and to know, without a doubt that He will be the God of More He promises to be.

Do not believe for a moment He has abandoned you in the trial Sweet One.  Your God would not take you there or allow the challenge if He did not have More for you on the other side.  You hang on with faith.  You pray big, ambitious prayers and you wait expectantly for your God to bless you. Listen to Him when He tells you not be afraid and consider Joshua 1:9 to be your personal post-it note straight from the heart of the Holy One. Press it on your chest Girlfriend, count on Him to do what He says He will do, and be confident that the God of More is with you. (The God of More . . . Much More, Sept 3)

And each time my heart glided over His Holy request, I tried to imagine what it might look like to spend one year dining with the King. Yes, I tried to imagine . . . .

Absolutely feasting on the Bread of Life and being filled with His wisdom, His compassion, and His Love.

Drinking in all that the Spirit is willing to give until the well of my soul overflows with Living Water.

Pulling my chair as close as I can and consuming every Word that falls from the lips of the Almighty One.

Marilyn, WILL YOU SPEND A YEAR AT THE KING’S TABLE?

Vintage Wedding Invitation

The invitation first arrived, signed and sealed by the Holy Spirit, held tightly in the hand of . . . . Mephibosheth.  Bet you weren’t expecting that – neither was I.  But if we’ve learned nothing else on the journey, we surely have grabbed onto the immutable fact that God will not be confined by our expectations.  And I’ve learned from my Sweet Florida Girl that that’s a good thing, because we would always expect far too little from Him as our finite minds tried to conceive what the Infinite should do and how He should go about the business of doing it.   As she says, “He will always exceed our expectations.”

So how exactly did the grandson of Saul, the son of Jonathan—ankles crippled in a fall when he was barely more than a toddler—come to be my personal messenger?   Through the study of Covenant of course!  That exclamation point was put there tongue-in-cheek to be sure.  Who would have expected to limp along beside Mephibosheth until they were offered a seat by the King?  But that’s exactly what happened.

God began engraving the invitation Mephibosheth would deliver to my heart with the covenant pledge made by Jonathan to David, who would later become the king,  in 1 Samuel 18:3-4.

Then Johnathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.  Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.

And now we have the firstborn son of King Saul, willingly stripped of his royal array, possibly looking more like a shepherd than a future king, side-by-side and heart-to-heart with David who is covered head-to-toe in the royal robe with the weapons of the son firmly in his hands.

And this covenant relationship – more akin to the knitting together of two souls than just a simple pledge or promise—was extended to the families of each of the men in 1 Samuel 20 with Jonathan pledging to preserve the life of David and asking David to do the same for his family should he be killed.

“You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth. “  So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD require it at the hands of David’s enemies.”  Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.  1 Samuel 20:15-17

And this was the vow between David and Jonathan when Saul and Jonathan met their ends.  The battle that ensued between the house of David and house of Saul over the kingdom saw the demise of all the descendants of Saul, except one.

Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son crippled in his feet.  He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled.  And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame.  And his name was Mephibosheth.  2  Samuel 4:4

And that’s the last we hear of Mephibosheth until 2 Samuel 9.

Five long chapters pass as David fights enemy after enemy in an effort to unite the kingdom.  He’s mocked as weak, able to be defeated as easy as the “blind and the lame” by the Jebusites in Jerusalem and searched out for destruction by the Philistines.  And although David is satisfied to simply defeat the Philistines, the taunts of the occupants of Jerusalem were rumored to have so angered the king that he barred the “blind and the lame” from his house/presence.

And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack “the lame and the blind,” who are hated by David’s soul.”  Therefore, it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”  2 Samuel 5:8

Mephibosheth, though he was in hiding with his crippled feet would certainly have become aware of the rumors of the king’s anger and the actions that resulted from it.  Even if he had not felt himself in danger as the grandson of Saul, he would never have believed himself welcome in the presence of King David in his “lame” condition.  Both lineage and present condition made him an enemy of the king.

Now, I’ve searched the Scripture as well as commentaries and haven’t been able to locate a single place that describes a public declaration of the covenant between Jonathan, the king’s son and David, the shepherd boy.  So to the best that I can attest right now, the covenant was known only to David and Jonathan.  And that makes sense to me because if it were common knowledge, like the rumor barring the lame from the king’s presence, it seems to me that people would’ve been coming out of the woodwork  to falsely claim relationship to Jonathan  in an effort to curry favor with David.

Instead we find David, now securely in his position as king, opening 2 Samuel 9 searching for a member of Saul’s household:

  • 1 Samuel 9:1-3
    • Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”  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.”  The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?”  And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet.”

David wanted so badly, for the sake of Jonathan, to offer kindness to a member of Saul’s household so he eagerly looked for someone to whom he could extend the covenant kindness he had promised to Jonathan.  The servant that appears before him, Ziba, makes it clear that Mephibosheth, the one left in Saul’s household, is crippled in both feet.  In other words—nobody the king wants in his presence.  But David sends him out after Mephibosheth regardless of his condition.

Ziba retrieves Mephibosheth from the land where he has been living, Lo-Debar.  It is a dry, barren, fruitless land that offers those who dwell there little. But at least in Lo-Debar Mephibosheth felt safe, perhaps that’s not so for the lame grandson of Saul as he enters  the presence of King David.

  • 2 Samuel 9:6-7
    • Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself.  And David said, “Mephibosheth.”  And he said, “Here is your servant!”  David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you shall eat at my table regularly.”

Mephibosheth hasn’t done a thing to deserve to be in the presence of the king.  In fact, his crippled condition, the result of his fall, should have barred him from his presence altogether.  But David did not see Mephibosheth’s crippled feet when he looked at him, King David saw Jonathan, the brother he had loved.  Mephibosheth had not earned a place at the table of the king, but David would look on Jonathan’s son as his own.

Overwhelmed and maybe even reeling with disbelief, Mephibosheth reminds him of who he is –“What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?”

But rather than condemn Mephibosheth, David defines the blessings that are about to come to the son of Jonathan.  “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house” will be given to Mephibosheth – what an unexpected, undeserved, unearned inheritance.  Given to him, not because of who he was, but because of who he belonged to.

Mephibosheth will now live in the lands that belonged to King Saul.  Fruitful and lush, lands of abundance . . . .and he will dine with the king as an adopted son. And I fully believe that each time David gazed upon that man at his table he saw him with tenderness, dressed head-to-toe in the covenant promise he had shared with Jonathan.

The InvitationI am so certain that by this time you are seeing the parallels between you and me and Mephibosheth that I don’t even need to point them out to you.  Sweet One, we might as well get t-shirts printed with “ I am Mephibosheth” printed on them because it couldn’t be any clearer.

  • David searched for someone to bless with the covenant.  He even sent someone to deliver the good news and bring him home.

Is that not what your Savior has done for you?  Has he not wanted to bring you into covenant relationship with Himself so badly that He sent someone out with the good news to find you and bring you home. (Luke 19:10; Matthew 18:11, 1 Timothy 1:15)

  • It was made plain to David that the one he was going after was not worth his effort.  He was crippled from the fall and that made him an enemy of the king.

And so Beloved, what about you and I?  Was it not made plain that we were not worth the effort?  That we were crippled from the fall and living in the lame condition of our sin.  Both our lineage and our present condition made us enemies of the King.  But yet He came for us. (Romans 5:10; James 4:4)

  • He sent someone to our Lo-Debar, our dry and fruitless land and just as surely as King David blessed Mephibosheth with the land of plenty, we have been ushered into abundance. 

Given an unexpected, undeserved, unearned inheritance.  Fruitful and full of life.  (1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-24; John 15:5)

  • And just like Mephibosheth, I have not –you have not—done a thing to earn a seat at the table of the King of Kings. 

And yet, we have been adopted and welcomed to the feast as daughters of the King. (1 John 3:1; Ephesians 1:5)

All of this, not because of who I am, but because of WHO I belong to. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

For when the Father gazes at me, He sees me dressed head-to-toe in Jesus the Son He loves.   My covenant relationship with Christ is my invitation to dine at the King’s table. (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:3)

Do you see it?  The invitation is FOR YOU.

creation swap communion meal ribbet

Can you even stand it?  Who but God shows Himself in the details this way?  Who but the Father would bother to communicate it to the simplest among us?  I am about beside myself!  I hope you are too.  It’s so my prayer that with every post you read, you see Him in His Word and you marvel at the great and glorious God He is. From Old Testament to New, our God does not change and our Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Oh Girlfriend — my RSVP is YES!

So, maybe not the way I expected to receive my invitation to dine at the King’s table for the upcoming year, but again my Sweet Florida Girl is spot on – He always exceeds our expectations.

And I’m not sure how it will all unfold or what it will look like but I do know this, it’s going to be more . . . more intense, more passionate, and more powerful than what I am prepared for.  I’m going to take comfort in the fact that even if I’m prompted to remind God “of who I am” like Mephibosheth did, it won’t cause Him to withdraw. And, I’m going to remember as I sit in my chair with the condition of my fall still dangling under the table — He sees the new woman, brought to life, and beautiful in the Name of Jesus.

Girlfriend, I know this message was meant to prompt me and it may not be striking your heart with same kind of ferocity it did mine, but I hope you are encouraged to pull up your own chair – the one reserved especially for you – and dine with the King.  Feast on the unexpected, undeserved, unearned blessings set before you.  Consume the Bread of Life and drink in the Living Water.

Oh what a year it will be!  I am giddy with anticipation and I cannot wait until you pull a chair up next to mine in Glory and tell me all that transpired for you as you dined at the King’s Table.  What a glorious day it will be!

The Angel said to me, “Write this:

‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’”

He added, “These are the true words of God!” 

Revelation 19:9 MSG

(Special thanks to Kay Arthur for getting my wheels turning with Covenant: God’s Enduring Promises)

3 Responses to “The Invitation is for YOU!”

  1. Nanette February 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Oh how sweet is the invitation! Say…..yes Lord! Thank You for being a covenant God!

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger February 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      Yes Ma’am. He is breathtaking! Would you like a Mephibosheth t-shirt Nanette? 🙂

      • Nanette February 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

        Yes! Maybe I should learn how to pronounce Mephiboseth’s name.

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