In chapter nine we see David in one of his better moments. He asked a great question:
Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2 Samuel 9:1
David remembered his covenant with Jonathan. He promised Jonathan that if Jonathan helped David escape from Saul, David would protect any survivors of Jonathan’s family. I’m not sure why it took David so long to fulfill his promise. It was at least seven years since Jonathan died. But let’s not dwell on that. David still asked a good question. I’m sure he got a little distracted fighting all of his battles!
What David wanted to do was show “kindness.” Kindness seems like a word we use to describe grandmothers. I don’t know if it’s a virtue that men strive to achieve. Yet it ought to be.
Some men seem to almost pride themselves on being rough around the edges and not taking the time to be thoughtful or considerate of other’s needs. They can have a “take it or leave it” attitude. But kindness is an attribute of God and show be something we seek to develop.
The Meaning of Kindness
The word, “kindness,” in Hebrew is actually a powerful word. The literal word is HESED. It means “covenant love:” that is, unfailing, unconditional love. It’s a word used to describe God’s affection for his people.
In the book of Exodus, God “passed by” Moses, revealing himself and saying these words:
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness (HESED) and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; Exodus 34:6,7
Here HESED is translated as lovingkindness. It says that God “abounds” in this quality and he offers it to thousands (meaning everyone).
HESED is the love that won’t let you go, no matter what.
This is the love that David had for Jonathan. This is why David felt obligated to search for any remaining relative and show them kindness. It wasn’t just to be a “nice guy.” It was to follow through on his love for Jonathan, because HESED love never forgets. It never ends. It’s from everlasting to everlasting.
So here’s what I want you to think about: Maybe God would have you ask a similar question to the one that David asked: Is there anyone I can show kindness to today for Jesus’ sake? It might be a loved one. It might be a complete stranger.
You don’t love them because they deserve it or because you know them so intimately. You love them because you see they are in need and your kindness as an act of worship. It’s an expression of your covenant love for God and your gratitude for his covenant love for you.
Prayer: Father, I want to thank you for your love that won’t let me go. Help me to show my gratitude in tangible ways by showing kindness to the people you bring me today. Give me eyes to see them and the generosity to love them. Amen.
If you you haven’t listened to Pastor Kyle’s message about Mephibosheth, download it here.