Four Kings

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Tonight we’re going to start out in the Old Testament, in some books that you have seldom read, and will be talking about some people you may never have heard of. Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Chronicles chapter 8. This is in the Old Testament, the 13th Book from Genesis:

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles

Opening: A preacher was preaching one Sunday night when he saw one of the flock was fast asleep. Pointing to a man next to the culprit, he told that man “Wake her up, Brother!” The man replied, “You put her to sleep, you wake her up!” I’ll try not to put you to sleep tonight!

As you look at 1 Chronicles 8 you’ll quickly notice why people often skip over these books. It looks like a phone book. If you would, go down to verses 33 & 34:

1 Chronicles 8:33-35 And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal. 34 And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah. 35 And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz.

Now turn to the next chapter.

1 Chronicles 9:39-41 And Ner begat Kish; and Kish begat Saul; and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal. 40 And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal: and Meribbaal begat Micah. 41 And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tahrea, and Ahaz.

If you compare what we read in 1 Chronicles 8 with 1 Chronicles 9, you will see that these two sets of Scripture are exactly the same. Now, why would God repeat something exactly the same in two chapters, unless God wanted us to emphasize something, to learn something from this as believers in Christ? The Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the {child} of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All Scripture is theópneustos, “God breathed”. Why would God waste His breath on something like this … unless it is no waste. Look at the names mentioned. You may not be acquainted with Ner or Kish, but you Bible students should recognize the names of Saul and Jonathan.

Saul Is A King That Started Great, But Ended Badly

Saul was the first human king of Israel. God was supposed to be the King of Israel, but Israel wanted to be like the other nations.

Samuel the Prophet begged Israel not to choose a King over God. Our God is the best King. “For the LORD {YAHWEH} is the Great God, the Great King above all gods!” (Psalm 95:3). Yet Israel would not listen. Samuel told the elders of Israel:

A King will take your sons (1 Samuel 8:11)
A King will take your daughters (1 Samuel 8:13)
A King will take your fields (1 Samuel 8:14)
A King will tax you, taking a tenth of everything (1 Samuel 8:15, 17)

Would Israel hear? No! The Bible says, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the {other} nations” (1 Samuel 8:19-20, ESV). God in His Grace (our God is so Gracious and good) told Samuel the Prophet:

They have not rejected you, Samuel. Israel has rejected Me, and does not want me to rule over them” (1 Samuel 8:7)

God chose a perfect specimen of a man to be the first human King of Israel. God chose a man who was the son of Kish, a man of the Tribe of Benjamin, “a mighty man of power” (1 Samuel 9:1). Kish had a son named Saul. Saul was described as “a handsome young man, the most handsome man in all of Israel” (1 Samuel 9:2). The Bible says that God told Samuel,

1 Samuel 9:16-17 (my paraphrase) … “I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him {King} over My people Israel … when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, “Behold, the man I was speaking of! He shall reign over my people”…

When Saul started out as King, he walked with God. The “Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he prophesied. God was with him.”
(1 Samuel 10:6-7).

When Saul was presented to the people as King, all the people shouted, and said, God save the King” (1 Samuel 10:24). Saul started out as a very good King. He was a humble man who loved the Lord. When Saul started his reign he ruled as the Spirit of God came on him (1 Samuel 11:6). When some of Israel decided to rebel against Saul’s rule, “the fear of the Lord fell on the people” (1 Samuel 11:7), and the people repented. Later when Israel cried out that the rebels be killed, Saul said:

1 Samuel 11:13 … there shall not a man be put to death this day: for today the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel …

The Prophet Samuel told Saul – and Israel – a great truth we need to remember:

1 Samuel 12:20-25 … Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

Saul was a believer in God. He was saved by Grace, elevated to be King by Grace. All that he had, he had by the Grace of God. But Saul took his focus off of God. He began to look at himself, and to think that he was good enough, great enough to be King. He began to think that he deserved the Grace that saved him.

Application: Beloved, none of us deserve the Grace of God! The Scripture tells us that we as Christians are royalty. The Scripture says that we owe everything to Jesus, we owe everything to God. We are to live …

Revelation 1:5-6 … Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

He has made us kings and priests. God has, through Grace, “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are to live as Kings and Priests unto God, but we are never to look at ourselves and believe that we are worthy of what we have. Lucifer was God’s greatest Angel, an Arch Angel, until he looked at himself in the mirror and thought himself responsible for his greatness. Lucifer thought that he “could be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). But he fell, and will fall, and will one day be cast into a Lake of Fire that burns forever and ever. Saul took his eyes off of God. Samuel told Saul:

1 Samuel 13:13-14 … the Lord {would} have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. … 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart…

Beloved, salvation is by Grace alone, but blessing is by OBEDIENCE. When we turn away from God, and love ourselves or other things more than Him, we can lose the blessing of the Christian life. God wants us to walk through this life as Kings and Priests, victors over the elements of this world. God loves us, and wants the best for us always.

Jonathan Is An Innocent Royal Who Suffers
Undeservedly But Lives Loving God

1 Chronicles 9:39 And Ner begat Kish; and Kish begat Saul; and Saul begat Jonathan…

When Saul lost the favor of God, the Lord chose a shepherd by the name of David to be the next King of Israel. David would be anointed King by Saul on three different occasions:

  • When he was a young shepherd boy (1 Samuel 16:13-14). On that same day the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.
  • When Saul died, the men of Judah anointed David over the House of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4)
  • When David actually ascended to the throne in Hebron (2 Samuel 5:1-3). David was 30 years old at that time.

When God tells Saul that he is going to lose the throne, Saul refuses to repent and heed the Lord. We do not know how old Saul was when he began to reign, but we know that David was a young shepherd when he was first anointed. An evil spirit came on Saul, and Saul needed to be calmed. Saul was told that David was a skillful harp player, and Saul called for David to play the harp to calm himself (1 Samuel 16:18-21). Saul initially loved David, and made David his armor bearer, a trusted position. Here’s the point: For around 15 years David – though anointed King by Samuel – served Saul the King. As Saul began to realize that David was his replacement, Saul sought out David’s life. But David had a friend, a best friend.

David’s best friend was Saul’s oldest son Jonathan.

I’m sure that Saul shared with Jonathan his hatred of David. As the oldest son, when Saul stepped down as King, Jonathan would have been King. Yet Jonathan never sought out the position. There were several times when Saul sought to kill David, but Jonathan intervened and saved his best friend.

Jonathan loved the Lord! Though Jonathan led 1000 men (1 Samuel 13:2), his eyes were always on God. We are told in:

1 Samuel 14:6 … Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised {Philistines}: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

God worked a miracle, and after Jonathan killed 20 Philistines, the Lord in the confusion caused the Philistines to turn their swords against each other (1 Samuel 14:20). Jonathan trusted God. When Jonathan’s father ruled wrongly, he said My father hath troubled the land” (1 Samuel 14:29).

Saul began to actively seek the life of David. When Jonathan protected David, Saul told him:

1 Samuel 20:30-32 … Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse {David} to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?

Though Jonathan refused to help his father kill David (for David was the Lord’s anointed), Jonathan never betrayed his father. He refused to take on his father’s bad traits, but obeyed God Who commanded,

Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Jonathan acted like a King should act, though he never ascended to the throne. Jonathan honored God’s wishes, and refused to help his father do evil, though he loved and supported his father. The Bible tells us that Jonathan died with his father in battle at Mount Gilboa:

1 Samuel 31:2-4 … And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan … and Saul was wounded of the archers … therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it…

Application: As Christians, we are first and foremost Children of the King. We are Kings and Priests unto God because Jesus Christ is king of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our love for God must ALWAYS be greater than our love for others. Jesus said that the Great Commandment is:

Mark 12:30 … thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And directed us as His people to put Him first in our hearts. He said:

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

We are to honor our parents, to love our spouses, to love others the way that we want to be loved. And yet, our first allegiance must always be to the Lord.

Meribbaal Reminds Us That Our God
Is Always Faithful

1 Chronicles 8:34 And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.

Saul had four sons, of which Jonathan was the first. But Jonathan only had one son, and his name was Meribbaal. The name Meribbaal is only mentioned twice in the Scripture, in the texts that we started out with tonight. The name Meribbaal means “he that resists or contends against Baal”. Baal is the name of a false god that the Canaanites and Phoenicians worshiped, the so called god of fertility, and the god of rain and dew. As Jonathan loved the Lord, and parents named their children with meaning, Meribbaal was expected by his father to be a great believer. As the only son of Jonathan, Meribbaal was royalty – he would have succeeded the throne of Jonathan had ever ascended.

Meribbaal was five years old when his grandfather Saul and his father Jonathan were killed in battle by the Philistines. When word came to the palace that Saul and Jonathan were dead, the Bible says:

2 Samuel 4:4 … Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

What is happening here? Back in those days, when a king was killed, the enemy would often come and kill the rest of the family so they could take over the throne. Jonathan only had one son, Meribbaal. When news came that both Saul and Jonathan were dead, Meribbaal’s nurse grabbed up the boy to run away and protect the child. In her haste, the little boy had a bad fall that crippled him in both feet. Hebecame lame.

The nurse took the child to a place call Lodebar. The name of that place is very interesting. The nurse suspected that either the Philistines or David himself would seek to kill little Meribbaal. So she took him to Lodebar, the Hebrew לֹא דְבַר Lôʼ Dᵉbar which means “this is not a pasture”. Israel was a society that loved farming and animal husbandry. Areas that were arid, or dead, were not considered prime real estate. The nurse, in essence, took little Meribbaal to a slum to raise him. She also changed his name.

Meribbaal became Mephibosheth

Hitchcock’s Bible Dictionary notes that Mephibosheth means, “Out of my mouth proceeds reproach”. Reproach is to address others in such a way as to express disapproval or disappointment. Meribbaal was hurt as a child, and grew up lame in a poor, pastureless place. His father wanted him to grow up and fight against idolatry, standing up for the True God of the Scripture. Yet over time Meribbaal became Mephibosheth. He was alone. Abandoned of God. In a dark place, and God cared nothing for him.

Application: Beloved, we have all been in dark places, depressive places, horrid places. And yet we must never forget that our God is faithful. Perhaps you have been hurt by someone else, and are suffering the consequences. God is still faithful. We need to remember that, like Mephibosheth, we all have been crippled by a fall. Our forefather Adam brought sin into the world. What does the Scripture say?

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

There are forces in the world that we have no control over. Things happen. Hurts come. Sometimes we fail ourselves. But Jesus Christ came to this earth to give us power to live.

The promise of God is that, if we trust in Jesus, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, He brings us into the palace and the plan of God. He is faithful, and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Our God is gracious. Our God is good! We must never allow our circumstances to dictate how we live our lives. We are to live our lives as royalty, as children of the King of Kings. We are to be grace oriented. The Scripture says “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Our God will not abandon His children. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ did not die for our sins, and rise from the grave, to abandon us in Lodebar. No. Though Meribbaal had a wrong grandfather, and a dead father, His Heavenly Father was still there. As a pastor friend of mine often used to say:

When I don’t understand the HAND of God,
I trust the HEART of God!

King David, the fourth King, has just defeated the Philistines, the Moabites, and the Syrians. David is sitting in the palace, and begins to miss his best friend Jonathan. David sees a servant of Saul’s by the name of Ziba. David asks Ziba:

2 Samuel 9:3 … Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?

David bears no grudges against Saul. God has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Ziba replies:

2 Samuel 9:3-4 Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.

David sent for Mephibosheth. As Mephibosheth grew up in that desolate place, I’m sure he dreaded the day he would have to meet the King David. Now the palace guards come and fetch him. Mephibosheth comes into the throne room and, falling on his face, says, “Behold thy servant!”. What does David say to Mephibosheth?

Fear not”.

David tasted the grace of God in his ascension to the throne. Now David tells Mephibosheth:

2 Samuel 9:7 … I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

Mephibosheth asks David, “Who am I, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (verse 8). David doesn’t answer Mephibosheth, but tells Ziba:

2 Samuel 9:9-10 … I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. 10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread always at my table.

God’s grace is so good! Mephibosheth was still lame in his feet, but he was no longer in Lodebar. He was where the child of a King should be. Beloved, God’s Grace is sufficient for us all! (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Application: We do not earn nor deserve God’s grace. We are not worthy of God’s grace. But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Trust God. Lift up your fallen brothers and sisters. Live like children of the King, not like sons of Adam. Trust Him Who is our Lord and Savior. Do not allow your circumstances to change you from Meribbaal to Mephibosheth. Keep your eyes on your Lord Jesus. And remember His promise:

Psalm 37:3-8 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

May God the Holy Spirit speak to your hearts through His Word this very day. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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