Sunday, 9 January 2011

The King's Table

I will always refer to John Bunyan as “Dear Mr Bunyan”. Pilgrim’s Progress is one of my all-time favourite books. Reading it to my 5 year old last year I couldn’t hold back the tears as I described to him how Christian arrives safely at the Celestial City and the King commands the gate to be opened to let him in. It was when I read “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners” during the summer however that he became “Dear” to me. Reading of his struggles with his faith – and oh! how he wrestled to understand what grace meant! – it was almost like reading my own spiritual autobiography. There were points at which I wished I could have taken him by the shoulders, looked him in the eyes and said “It’s alright, Mr Bunyan, God loves you, you are His, you believe, you have faith, you trust, you are in Christ, you are safe”. It is hard to explain the impact it has on you when you realise that someone who lived and breathed over 400 years ago has walked the same path as you are walking, with a common faith, a common struggle, a common hope, a common assurance of victory!

In the Old Testament, there is one character especially who will always be “Dear” to me. Mephibosheth.

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’... Ziba answered the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.’.. So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.

David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“Your servant,” he replied.

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Sam 9:1, 3, 5-8).

The whole gospel is surely contained within these few sentences. And how I see myself in Mephibosheth! I see God the Father asking to whom he can show kindness for the sake of His Beloved Son Whom He loves. I see myself, fearing for my life before this Holy God, as I have been His enemy all my life. I see myself, crippled in my soul from my sin, helpless, unable to do anything about my situation. I see God the Father having me brought in to see Him – not simply sending a request - but because I am so crippled, having me brought in as I am unable even to do this without assistance. I see my Heavenly Father address me personally, by my own name. I see Him gently reassuring me not to be afraid, showing me kindness for the sake of His Son, forgiving my sin. And then, wonder of wonders, I hear Him telling me – me, the dead dog that I am – that I will always eat at His table!

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.” (2 Sam 9:11).
Not in the same room at a table tucked away in the corner, hoping no-one sees you there – at the table of the King, like one of the King’s sons! Not skulking in the shadows, happy simply to be allowed to be in the same room as the King – at the table of the King, like one of the King’s sons! Not hiding away behind your wretchedness, wondering whether you are fit just to be a servant in the King’s household – at the table of the King, like one of the King’s sons!
Can this be true? Oh yes, it is true - for God’s Word says so! It can only be true because of Jesus Christ and His perfect life, His obedience to His Father even to death, His resurrection and ascension. And as dear Mephibosheth bowed down in awe and wonder at this grace, surely so do we!

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love
(Song of Solomon 2:4)


  1. Diane, thank you for this post. I was thinking this morning while writing my Psalm Prayer (Ps. 65)how blessed is it that God has called us to His table; and then at church, while we ate the Holy Supper... I thought of it again. We do not deserve the crumbs from at the floor, however, God has called us to sit as His table!

    We are blessed indeed!

  2. Sorry... It should say "Diana" and sorry for all the grammar errors. I had so many thoughts and did not edit it before clicking "publish".


  3. How you bring so much glory to God, Diana, by your resounding proclamation! Well done!

    I have always loved the story of Mephibosheth. When I first came across it, it struck me how a most tender and compassionate story was tucked in between a running narrative of David's victories.

    And I love how you say the gospel is portrayed in this story. I wholeheartedly agree.

    "You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great." -Psalm 18:35


  4. Diana thank you for posting this, our "Dear Mr. Bunyan sums up my same thoughts and feelings so often, especially in this. He writes so well what is in my heart, and it seems the hearts and minds of so many. This was the subject of our sermon today and I think it's quite fitting the welcome God gives us, in spite of who we are until Christ's sacrifice washed us clean. Titus 3:3-5
    3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    Thank you so much my sweet Sister! This was such a wonderful post to read today. God bless you!

  5. Oh, Diana, what a wonderful post! As you know, 'Dear Mr. Bunyan' is also most dear to me. I can't get enough of 'Pilgrim's Progress' and 'Grace Abounding' has been to me like a consoling mirror.

    And your Mephibosheth comparison is most touching and very encouraging. Thank you!

    Love and blessings!

  6. Ohl, Diana! I feel as if I attended a mini sermonette this morning!

    I had never considered a parallel between Mephibosheth and the redeemed people of God, but oh, how true! He has shown us great kindness because of His Son, Jesus!

    What a beautiful and marvelous thing it is to hear of the grace of God at work in your life! And that scripture from Song of Solomon is one of my favorites, too. Yes, His banner over us is love!

    I love you dearly!

  7. Dear Becky - how true, we do not deserve even the crumbs from under the table, do we? Amazing grace! (And sometimes I forget whether I'm Diane or Diana, there's so many Diane's around!!)

    Dear Elizabeth - thank you :) Thanks also for the Psalm 18 verse. Much love.

    Dear Teresa - that Titus verse is wonderful! Having been justified by His grace we might become heirs! What a promise, what an inheritance! And I love that your heart is expressed through Dear Mr Bunyan's words :)

    Dear Petra - a consoling mirror - what a wonderful expression, wish I'd thought of that :). Blessings to you x

    Dear Christina - I can't take the credit for this insight as I've heard it preached on before - but it's becoming so personal now. You know when the Word suddenly becomes alive and speaks right into your to you.

    You are all "Dear" to me too - your hearts also share that common faith, that common struggle, that common hope, that common assurance of victory! Love to you all.

  8. Diana, All I can say is Wow!! and Amen! What a beautiful post you have written! You are such a blessing to me my sweet friend - I praise God for your faith and your generosity in sharing it.

    With much love!

  9. Dear Diane - truly, thank you for your encouragement. He is so Good to us, to give us fellow-pilgrims who can exclaim together at the wonder of eating at His Table :)

    Love to you.