2 Samuel 8 gives a summary of David’s military victories. As verses 7 & 14 tell us, “and the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.” Verse 15 says, “So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people.” David uses his power as king to do good for the people. That’s the kind of leader that God desires!
In chapters 9 and 10 we see recorded specific examples of David seeking to be kind and gracious. In chapter 9, David is gracious to Mephibosheth, the crippled grandson of his former enemy, Saul. In chapter 10, he is gracious to the son of the Ammonite king, Nahash.
One is grateful, and one is suspicious of David’s kindness. As a result of their responses, the consequences they experience are quite different.
Perhaps you have heard the story of David extending grace and mercy to Mephibosheth. David sought to find him in order to show kindness. 2 Samuel 9:7 (ESV), “And David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.’” This is a picture of the restoration, forgiveness, and transformation that occurs when we are saved by the blood of Jesus. Just like David did for Mephibosheth, Jesus reverses the despair and hopelessness that characterized our lives before knowing His grace. His reception of the mercy and grace of David came with great provision and reward!
Most of us have probably not heard of Hanun the son of Nahash. Nahash was the king of the Ammonites. The last we heard of Nahash was when he was soundly defeated by Saul in battle at Jabesh Gilead. We are not sure why David was extending kindness to Hanun, but commentator Mary Evans offers this perspective:
David had decided that it was time to bury the hatchet with Ammon and again, as in chapter 9, repay a kindness shown by a father by befriending the son. He used the opportunity of a change of ruler to extend the hand of friendship to Nahash’s son Hanun. The implication that there are times when old grievances should be set aside and new friendships forged with old enemies cannot be avoided.
With that understood, David decided to “do the right thing”. He decided to extend kindness and grace. This time though, it was not received well. There was suspicion concerning David’s motive – 10:3 (ESV) “But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?”
Hanun rejects David’s attempt of grace and kindness. Verse 4 (ESV) “So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away.” He shames David’s men. This eventually led to war with Israel in which the Ammonites were soundly defeated.
Some takeaways for us to see here. God extends His grace to us through Christ. We can receive or reject it. Receiving it brings restoration, forgiveness, and hope. Rejecting His offer of grace will bring His judgment. If we have accepted and received God’s free grace, we are to extend it to others. Grace is a gift offered, with no strings attached.
We ourselves may have had opportunities to be gracious and it has not always been received. Perhaps with some question of our motives.
But I am reminded that as a child of God I am to be gracious and kind. Why? Because the Lord has been gracious and kind to me. I cannot control how people will choose to respond, but that should not change my treatment of them. I still want them to know the grace that has been given to me!
Walking with you,