In II Samuel 4:4, we are introduced to a young boy, Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. He wasfive-years-old when his father and grandfather were killed by the Philistines. His caregiver, in her haste to flee from the advancing Philistines, picked himup and then dropped the young child, and he became crippled.
In II Samuel 9, Mephibosheth reappears. David is now king. Mephibosheth is living as a lowly servant to a merchant in the city of Lo-Debar.The name Lo-Debar means, “of no significance” or “of no regard.” The grandson of a king is living a life of no significance when King David searches for, and finds, him. When King David speaks to Mephibosheth and tells him that he wouldbe eating at the king’s table for the rest of his life and have his family’sinheritance restored to him, Mephibosheth could not believe it. He responded,“What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?” (II Samuel9:8). He was devalued, depressed and disabled, yet the king spoke value, kindness, and redemption to him. The honor of being a king’s child was restored to Mephibosheth. Incidentally, the name Mephibosheth means, “dispeller of shame” or “to drive away shame.” The king called him by name, as if to say, shame will be driven from his identity for the rest of his life!
Anyone who is struggling with low self-esteem and a sense offalse identity will often have difficulty believing that the King has anything to do with them. Yet, the King desires to have us all eat at His table foreverand to give us our inheritance. The King searches to find us, redeem us, restore us, and bless us. Our identity then becomes linked to the King. There is no better significance than realizing that we belong to the King because ofHis love for us and redeeming work on our behalf.
As Christian counselors and ministers, we have the distinct privilege of serving like Ziba, King David’s servant, who sought and found Mephibosheth. Clients who come to us are often feeling “of no significance” because of the various disappointments, abuse, and traumas that occur in theirlives. We have the ability, as Ziba did, to bring our clients to the King in order for Him to speak their names and redeem and restore them to healing and their true identities. In Isaiah 43:1, the Lord declares, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” True, unshakeable significance indeed!
Robert B. Shaw, D.Min., M.A., M.Div., LPCS, BCPCC