1 Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “At your service!” 3 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone 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 lame in his feet.” 4 So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”
Standard practice in ancient days was for the new king to remove any family of the former king that may pose a threat to his throne. This removal often meant sending those family members away to other parts of the country, imprisonment, and even death. It would have been appropriate and in line with the customs of the day for David to have had any of Saul’s family that was still alive put to death so there would be no threat to his throne. David shared a very close relationship with Jonathan, the son of Saul who was Israel’s first king. Although Saul pursued David in order to kill him out of jealousy and anger, Jonathan and David remained close. David wanted to do something for his friend Jonathan as a result of a vow that he had made. David’s relationship with God motivated to extend kindness to someone who the world would say did not deserve it.
David’s question in v.3 serves as a modern-day challenge for God’s people. “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to which I may show the kindness of God?” If this world today needs anything it is kind people. In our world of rudeness, inconsideration, and indifference, Godly kindness will make a significant difference. How well do we accomplish the demonstration of kindness? How well do we put others first? Kindness is listed as “fruit of spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 along with eight other traits that collectively characterize a Spirit-filled life. There are a few interesting things about David’s question in verse three.
First, David was intentional about showing kindness. He did not wait for the opportunity to come to him. It was important enough to him to go looking for a way to show kindness. Are we this intentional?
Second, David was not specific as to who he showed kindness to. David said “Is there not still someone”. Little did he know that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was still alive and that he was cripple in both feet. Kindness crosses all boundaries: physical, social, racial, and economic. Do we allow boundaries to stop our attempts at kindness?
Third, David was properly motivated. Again, David said, “the kindness of God”. I don’t believe David was trying to show off. I don’t believe he was trying to draw attention to himself. As a result the kindness God extended to him, I believe he wanted to pass that along. Kindness is contagious. God’s kindness toward us is our proper motivation. How well are you doing in returning kindness?