It seems as though David’s virtue toward God and benevolence toward men came in cycles. We saw after a series of battles his desire to build the Lord a house and now we see a desire to see if there was anyone left from the “house of Saul” that could be shown “kindness for Jonathan’s sake”.
Why Ziba was summoned to David beyond having been a “servant of the house of Saul”, we don’t know; perhaps it was just the leading of the Lord. When questioned as to if there were any survivors of Saul’s house that could be shown “the kindness of God” (remember that phrase), he responded there was a “son of Jonathan” who was lame. Due to the physical issues, Mephibosheth was unable to work physically, which it was most likely Ziba was one who took care of Mephibosheth, his son Micha and their servants.
Despite the fear, Mephibosheth accepted the invitation of David to come and much to his surprise, there was incredible blessing that awaited him. Not only was his life spared, but his family’s estate was totally restored to him. David further assigned Ziba the task of tending the fields, caring for the family and servants; with one exception, Mephibosheth. He was to be treated as David’s own son and forever sit at his table. The restoration of the estate was an act of “justice”; being placed as a son was an act of “kindness”. The justice was warranted; the kindness wasn’t.
Mephibosheth, due to his physical malady would never be able to enter into the Presence of the Lord. He would be required to stay outside the tabernacle area. He was considered imperfect spiritually due to his physical imperfection.
We learn later Ziba created a challenge for David, even though he and his family had been positioned to be taken care of by the king for life.
There is a beautiful picture of salvation seen in this chapter. Every one of us have been made lame by sin; we’re undeserving of any kindness by the King of kings. Yet He has searched us out. He took us out of our desperate situation and placed us at His banqueting table with a banner over us that declares and shows love. We don’t have to grovel as a peasant any longer; we’re adopted as sons/daughters into the Kingdom through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Regardless of what “law” would keep us out of His presence, He superseded that law and brought us into the Royal Family.
Thank God when we come into the Presence of the Lord, He makes “all things” new; physically, emotionally, financially and relationally. We don’t stay deformed; we’re “reformed” into His likeness!