Love Your Neighbor (David)

During his reign, David seeks out any living relatives of Saul and finds only one: a crippled grandson named Mephibosheth. David gives Mephibosheth all of his Saul's former wealth and invites him to sit in honor and eat at the king’s table every day like one of his sons. What Saul had lost David restored. He used his power not to be vindictive or bitter but to show exceeding kindness, justice, and generosity—even to the family of his former enemy. It would have been easy and even advantageous for David to soil Saul’s legacy; the dead cannot defend themselves. But instead, even when Saul is long gone, he honors him rather than vilifying and demonizing him. 

But this isn’t the last we hear of Mephibosheth. Later in David's reign, one of his own sons, Absalom, stages a coup and drives his deposed father out of the city Absalom ends up being killed (against David’s wishes), and instead of punishing all the rebels and cohorts, he mourns his son's death and forgives everyone—including Mephibosheth, who stayed behind and (depending on who you trust in the story) seems to have betrayed David.

This is somehow the same king whose psalms about revenge and enemies make us a bit uncomfortable. He forgives. He uses grief and mercy to make peace. He blesses those who persecute him. He associates with the lowly. He does not avenge himself or repay evil with evil; instead, he overcomes evil with good (Romans 12:14–21). In all of this, David embodies the excessive love of Christ, who forgives his executioners, who invites all to dine at his table, and who calls us likewise to love not only our friends and family, but our enemies, our persecutors, our betrayers.

Pray for your enemies today—not as enemies but as family who are welcome at the King’s Table. Pray for peace through the body and blood of Christ.

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Who Is My Neighbor?

About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC