I started this blog because I wanted to make my faith, in some way, applicable. I wanted to “do” something with it. Before the blog I would do that by writing down note and other things in a journal. One of those other things were my SOAP notes. SOAP is a practical method for studing individual passages of the bible. It’s an acronym that stands for
- S cripture – which verse or verses am I studying.
- O bservation – what stands out to me, what do I think it means in the context of the story.
- A pplication – how can I apply that meaning into my own life.
- P rayer – what do I need to thank for, appologize for or ask for as a result of this wisdom.
I figured it would be fun to take you along with my bible study, and post my SOAP notes here.
S – Scripture
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to Mephibosheth, “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.”
2 Samuel 9:7
This is the story of Mephibosheth. It is a little know story, but recently I told it to group of 4- and 5-year-olds at our kids-service. The story stood out to me for its beautiful message, and how David was willing to spurn tradition for the sake of his friend.
O – Observation
David was king of Israel at this time, obviously. He had succeeded the previous king, Saul. In Davids youth he had been best friends with Jonathan, Sauls son. Jonathan had previously protected David from Saul, who were enemies. In the process Jonathan asked David to always show the same kindness to his family, as Jonathan had shown to David (1 Sam 20:14-15) and they had made a covenant for it.
Years later, when all had come to pass and both Jonathan and Saul were dead David remembered his promise and covenant, to always show kindness and saving grace to the family of Jonathan. David asks his servants if there are still relatives of Jonathan around. One servant comes forward and tells him about Mephibosheth. That he is the son of Jonathan, but also that he is crippled.
In those days it was very normal for a new king to wipe out all of the male relatives of the previous king, so that nobody could challenge him for the throne. Right after both Saul and Jonathan died, Mephibosheth was taken on the run by his nurse, who feared for his life. He was just a toddler at this point, so his nurse carried him. In her rush, she stumbled and fell, leaving Mephibosheth permanently crippled. Crippled people were seen as third rate citizens, and often reduced to begging as they couldn’t earn money in a regular way.
The servant, Ziba, is tasked with bringing Mephibosheth to the palace. He is obviously scared, afraid for his life. It would not be unthinkable that David would still have him executed. But no, David actually lavishes grace upon him. He gives Mephibosheth the lands of his grandfather Saul, and even tasks Ziba and his family to farm the lands for Mephibosheth, just as he used to do for Saul. This means that Mephiboseth will actually have an income. To top it all of, Mephibosheth is invited to eat with the king, always. There is no greater honour in the kingdom of Israel, than to eat with the king, and to bestow that honour on a cripple, is very controversial.
A – Application
For me this story resonated a lot, because David was not concerned with what people would think of him. He had made a promise (not just any promise, a covenant), and he would see that promise fulfilled, regardless of the traditions and customs of the time. He went above and beyond what was expected of him. He could have sufficed with allowing Mephibosheth to live in the palace. He didn’t have to restore Sauls lands to him, nor did he have to invite him to daily dinners. In the eyes of many, the fact that Mephibosheth was crippled excused David from any obligation he might have felt towards Mephibosheth.
I want to be like that. I may not have a kingdom, or the power to give land and jobs to people. But I can do other things. I can do things for the sake of the love God has shown me, and for the love that I bare Him. For the sake of the new covenant God has made; I can testify about it, I can serve, I can be gentle kind, steadfast, patient, helping, wise and all other good things. I can resist the darker sides of the world, I can do good, I can not shrink back when talking about my faith. I can be calm and clear, because God has made a covenant with me to show me saving grace, each and every time. I can go above and beyond what the world expects of me, for God went above and beyond what the world was capable of. For the sake of that love I will try.
P – Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for the loving kindness You keep showing me. Thank you that You have saved me, time and time again. Thank you that I can shine Your light in this world, to show Your love. Sorry that sometimes I am too concerned with what the world will think of me, and let that stop me from doing the good You have called me to do. Lord, please make me more like David, make me woman after Your own heart. Instill in me Your righteousness, Your loving kindness and Your goodness, so that I may show the world freely.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.