A Word From Grace: Monday Edition - King of the Hill

Did you ever play king of the hill when you were a kid? If you’re unfamiliar, the point of the game is to get to the top of a hill (or some other high point) and then to maintain your place by pushing over all challengers to your position. I remember playing king of the hill with my friends on top of huge snow mounds following the blizzard of '96. Clearly, it’s a very physical game, full of laughter, but also very competitive. Much of the time, our competitive instincts outweighed the good-natured fun and the game would end in tears after someone got shoved a little too aggressively. Often, I wanted to win more than I wanted to have fun with friends.
 
King of the hill reflects something of our inner instincts as humans and it also mirrors the way kingdom building was done in the days of King David. When a king usurped the rule of another (getting to the top of the hill), usually his next move was to eliminate any potential competition for the top spot. This was a pretty brutal practice, involving the cold-blooded and usually public murder of any family members of the previous king who would have a legal claim to the throne or public support for kingship. The goal was to win and then to stay on top.
 
In David, however, we catch another glimpse of God’s upside-down kingdom. After King Saul and his son Jonathan’s death in battle with the Philistines, David ascended to the throne. Instead of following the practice outlined above, David asked, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake” (2 Sam. 9). It’s important to note that David and Jonathan were close friends. David wanted to honor his friend more than he want to secure his rule.
 
In response to David’s query, Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth (a great name suggestion for anyone currently looking) was brought before him. He is described as being, “lame in both feet” after a childhood accident. In those days, someone with a significant handicap like Mephibosheth’s was considered useless to the kingdom with nothing to offer, but David again displays God’s counter-cultural ways. Though Mephibosheth is technically an enemy (the relative of a rival king) and though he adds to the kingdom no apparent value, David honors him, giving him a place at the king’s table all the days of his life.
 
David points us to Christ. King Jesus extends the same honor and mercy to us. Though we are naturally enemies of God (being unwilling to submit to him), though we are helpless with nothing to offer, Jesus extends to us mercy and raises us to a place of honor. We see Jesus incarnate this repeatedly during his earthly ministry: choosing low class fishermen and a tax-collecting collaborator to be his closest disciples, elevating the place of women and immigrants, touching those deemed unclean, and befriending prostitutes and homeless beggars : all people who had little to offer a King in that time. Yet, King Jesus loved them, valued them, and gave them places of honor in his kingdom.
 
Application – Listen to the song “Carried to the Table” linked below and spend time worshiping God today for the fact that you have a place at his table, not because of anything you’ve done to earn it but because of the value and honor given to you by your King. Rather than seeking to establish power and influence, pray for God’s eyes to see the people around you. Who is it that feels marginalized by our country? Who is it that feels rejected by the church? How can you invite them into Jesus’ upside-down kingdom?

Sean's Picks

The Story of God Bible Commentary – Maybe the idea of reading a commentary seems overwhelming to you, but I can’t recommend this resource highly enough. I’ve been using the volume on 1&2 Samuel in writing all these blogs and I think they would be an excellent devotional tool. It’s not all out yet, but pick a volume and hear the story of Scripture come alive in a new way! You can check out the series at this link, and get a free e-book of the volume on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Carried to the Table is a song by Leeland that captures well today’s topic and is directly inspired by 2 Samuel 9. I decided to record and share my own rough cover of the song with you this week, but I’d encourage you to check out the original as well!

Missions Spotlight:
White Ribbon Day

Hello all of our friends and family at Grace Chapel:

We are praying that you are all doing well during this crazy season of COVID19! Back in January, we were invited to fly to France to speak for a week at the YWAM Discipleship Training School. (The YWAM Base is 10 minutes from the home of our daughter and son-in-law, so it was a perfect opportunity for us to also visit our kids). Our flights ended up departing 2 hours after President Trump declared a travel ban for all flights to and from Europe. Zach was able to speak in person on the first day of the school and then the country went on lock-down, so he and Kailah finished out the week teaching via FaceTime! Despite the tech challenges, this was one of our favorite groups of students ever: what a humble bunch of world-changers here at YWAM Biarritz.

Obviously, as this virus has progressed, our upcoming outreaches in Zambia and Italy have been postponed. Now that our flights home to the US have been canceled, we’re enjoying quarantine lockdown together in France - with God, every challenge is also an opportunity, and we’ve been having a great time looking for creative ways to share the love of Jesus with the world, now and in the future. We are all healthy and doing well, trusting Jesus for his timing on returning to the States. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. Sending love and prayers to you all from across the ocean! ~ White Ribbon Day

PS...
(We started a podcast, btw 😜 - listen here.
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