Have you ever made a mistake that caused harm to someone else? Did you have good intentions but fell short of what you were trying to do? What happens when despite our best efforts, we still fail?
In today’s episode of All God’s Women we look at Mephibosheth’s nurse, a woman who acted heroically but tripped and fell in the midst of her heroic act. The impact of her tumble forever changed the life of her young charge.
Mephibosheth’s nurse is an unnamed woman who is mentioned just once in the Bible.
In 2 Samuel 4:4 we’re told, “Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.”
So why was the nurse fleeing with the child?
When word reached the palace that Saul and Jonathan had been killed by the Philistines, panic broke out. Everyone’s life was suddenly in danger as the tradition of the time was for the new king to kill all heirs to the old king in order to avoid uprisings.
Even though Mephibosheth was only a small child, he was still at risk. His nurse, whose job was to take care of him, sprang into action. She could have just fled, leaving him to fend for himself, but she didn’t. Her heart pounding, her mind racing, she grabbed his little hand and ordered him to follow her. All around them others were doing the same.
In her panic mode and in her eagerness to escape, she may have forgotten that his legs weren’t as long as hers. Or maybe he wasn’t looking where she was leading, and he didn’t see an obstacle in their way. Whatever the reason, Mephibosheth took a nasty tumble, causing injury to both of his feet or ankles.
The nurse swooped him up in her arms and carried him away to safety. Once hidden away she probably discovered that he was in bad shape, but what could she do? She couldn’t call for the local doctor or else word might escape that an heir was still alive. I’m sure she bandaged up his ankles the best she could and prayed for a miracle, but Mephibosheth was forever crippled by the fall. I can only imagine how she must have blamed herself for her carelessness, how she cried herself to sleep remembering how vibrant and full of life he had been, and now he was wracked with pain and unable to run and play like little boys should.
This would be a pretty sad story if it ended here. But even though the nurse is not mentioned again, Mephibosheth is, and what a story he has.
David and Jonathan had been best friends.They had made a covenant together.
In 2 Samuel 9, David, who is now king, remembers his dear friend Jonathan and inquires if there is anyone left of the house of Saul that he might show kindness to them for Jonathan’s sake. All they can find is one servant from the house of Saul. Ziba, the servant, tells them that Jonathan’s lame son Mephibosheth is still alive living in the house of Machir in Lo Debar.
Imagine the fear Mephibosheth feels as he makes his way to the king’s palace. Why is the kind calling him? It can’t be good. When he arrives, he immediately falls on his face, humbling himself before the king.
David kindly tells him not to fear because he’s going to restore to Mephibosheth all of Saul’s land. Not only that, but he will eat at the king’s table forever.
Now, Mephibosheth is consumed with confusion. What is the king talking about? Why is he behaving in such a manner?
David calls to Ziba and explains to him that he’s giving Mephibosheth all that belonged to Saul and his house and that Ziba and his family and servants will work the land for him. But Mephibosheth and his young son will be treated like David’s family.
Chapter 9 closes with, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.”
Mephibosheth’s story is one of grace. We are all crippled by the sins of our past. We’re fearful of the future because we know that we deserve death. But then we have a king who seeks us out and offers us grace and a new life. We’re invited to join him at his table where He has prepared a feast for us to enjoy.
The nurse has her own story. Without her, Mephibosheth would have been wandering around lost, no idea how to get to safety. She took him by the hand and saved him from certain death. She was scared, and she stumbled. It may have seemed to her that she failed him.
But Mephibosheth’s story wasn’t over. Because of the nurse’s courage in grabbing him and hiding him away, he was later able to take his rightful place at the king’s table.
His nurse never got to witness the fruits of her effort. All she saw was her failure. But God used her to save an heir to the kingdom.
We may be like that nurse. All around us we see danger. Those around us are at risk of dying. They’re wondering around in confusion with no idea where to turn.
It’s easy for us to panic, to say there’s nothing we can do. To be fearful of doing the wrong thing and making matters worse.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He knows our weaknesses and frailties. But if we keep our eyes on Him and grab those around us, determined to lead them to eternal life, He can take our humble efforts and do a mighty work through them.
We may never live to see the fruits of our labor, but that doesn’t mean our work is in vain. Even if we stumble over the right words. If we fear we’ve only made things worse, God will reward our efforts.
I challenge you to look around you. See those who are lost and seeking help. Be there for them, helping to guide them in the way that leads to life.
If you’re wondering what to say or do, take it to God. Ask Him to speak through you. Use Romans 6:23 as your basis. Tell them your story of how you came to know Christ and how He’s worked in your life.
Don’t delay. Commit today to making sure that when you get to heaven, you bring a crowd with you.
And if you’re listening today and you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please don’t wait. Our days here on earth are numbered. Right now, where you’re at, reach out to God. Talk to Him like you would a friend. Tell Him where you’re coming from, what you’re feeling. Tell Him you recognize your need for Him. Ask Him to save you. And just like that, He gets to work, preparing that table for you.
Lord God, thank you so much for your grace and kindness. Thank you for seeking us out, calling us by name, and offering us a place at Your table. Thank you for working behind the scenes in ways we may never know or understand. Thank you for taking our failures and using them for Your glory. Forgive us for those times we stand around and do nothing. Give us the courage to act. Give us the words to say. Use our humble efforts to have life changing impact on those around us. We love You so very much. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
That concludes this week’s episode of All God’s Women. Tune in next week when we talk about Bathsheba, a woman caught in the midst of a scandal.
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All God’s Women is available on all your favorite podcast platforms. Or, you can listen directly at the All God’s Women website at www.allgodswomen.com where you’ll find Bible study lessons to go with each episode. In addition, you can join the All God’s Women Bible study group to meet with other women and discuss Bible women more in depth.
2 Samuel 4:4
2 Samuel 9
Bible Study Review
- What was the danger facing Mephibosheth?
- What caused him to be lame?
- How did David treat him when he found out about him?
Thoughts to Ponder
- Was the nurse at fault for Mephibosheth’s lameness?
- What would have likely happened if the nurse had not grabbed him and run?
- Why was David’s behavior so unusual?
- Do you put undue pressure on yourself?
- Do you blame yourself when you mess up, even though you did your best?
- Do you instinctively do the right thing or do you hesitate to act because you’re afraid of messing up?
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