The friendship between David and Jonathon is famous. We often extol the covenant Jonathan and David made with each other to be friends. But what may be lesser known is another covenant they made with each other. We read about it in I Samuel 20:12-15. As Jonathon consoled David who was fearing for his life, Jonathan acknowledged the fragile condition of his own life. And he initiated another covenant between himself and David saying, “Will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord… and not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever?” (Verses 14-15)
In Hebrew word for kindness is hesed. And there isn’t an exact Hebrew to English translation of the word hesed. No one English word completely captures all that the meaning of hesed involves. That’s why the same Hebrew word is sometimes translated differently: lovingkindness, kindness, mercy, goodness. Context may determine what English word is used.
Many years later, long after Jonathan was gone, David recalled the covenant he had made with Jonathan. And David said, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul that I may show him [hesed] kindness…” David repeats his initial question in verse 3, but this time he is even more specific about the kind of hesed he wanted to show somebody from Saul’s house: David wanted to show them Elohim hesed—“the kindness of God.” Please notice, it wasn’t kindness of his own convenience, but it was the “kindness of God!”
And who was found for David to show the kindness of God to? His name was Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s surviving son. Injured in an accident when he was 5 years old, Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet. This meant that Mephibosheth could be of no “productive value” to David.
But David’s aim was to show the “kindness of God” to Mephibosheth; so anything he could or could not do for David was beside the point. The point was what he wanted to do for Mephibosheth. David’s first words to him were words of comfort and assurance, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you…” (Verse 7). But there was more. He said, “I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather, Saul, and you shall eat at my table regularly.”
But this is what the kindness of God looks like. It takes initiative to do good to those who can offer nothing in return and seeks to make them better off than they were before!
Do you show the kindness of God in the way you interact with others? The answer to that question will likely be found in the kind of people you are in the habit of extending hospitality to and the kind of return you expect on your investment.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my interactions with others be such, that when they leave me, they will feel as if they have stepped fresh from the presence of Jesus. Amen.