Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hospitable Machir

Mephibosheth & Machir - Artist unknown
Mephibosheth & Machir - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "Then king David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar." - 2 Samuel 9:5

David, wanting to be sure he kept his word to his old friend Jonathan, set about looking for any descendants of Saul to whom he could show kindness. He discovered Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan.

We see an earlier installment of Mephibosheth's life in 2 Samuel where immediately after Saul and Jonathan's deaths, their families fled for their lives. During that flight the nanny dropped five-year-old Mephibosheth. The drop injured his feet so that all his life he was lame (2 Samuel 4:4).

Now David found out about his existence. He was living at the home of Machir in Lo Debar. My footnotes describe Machir as "a wealthy man who took the young orphan into his house after Jonathan's death" - Jerry Cook, writer of 2 Samuel notes, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 413.

Machir is mentioned as well in 2 Samuel 17. It's the story of the time when Absalom declared himself king causing David and his loyalists to flee from Jerusalem. Stuck in the desert—and a long way from Safeway or Costco—who should come laden with "...beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley, flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd..." but Mahanaim, Barzillai and Machir from Lo Debar, musing "the people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness" - 2 Samuel 17:27-29.

This Machir is only mentioned in the Bible these two times (as far as I can tell) and in both it is for generous hospitality. What a great Old Testament example of someone living out the New Testament spiritual gift of mercy through hospitality (Romans 12:8). It's a lifestyle we should still emulate:

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels" - Hebrews 43:2.
"Be hospitable to one another without grumbling" - 1 Peter 4:9

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, the hospitality of Bible characters like Machir is only a reflection of Your hospitable, welcoming attitude toward me. Help me to be so secure in Your love that a generous, hospitable spirit becomes second-nature to me. Amen.

MORE: A Hospitality Prayer

Thank You for having given Yourself in intimate inexplicable hospitality.
You have been the Host to all creation...

Without a table You have banqueted us,
inviting us, yea, to be married unto You.
Over our heads flies the banner of Your love.
We are entertained with the mysteries of faith,
the songs of the Spirit, holy laughter
You have garmented us in festal righteousness.

As we wandered in wastelands,
You sought us before we called.
You extended eager welcome
though we had scarcely knocked.
You embraced us when we were filthy
and oppressed and undeserving...

Through eternity You have been and will be utterly hospitable.
Help me,
poor, faltering, unfeeling me,
to be like You,
with breath-beat and soul-heart
poured out
Help me
to be given to hospitality."

- Excerpts from "A Prayer,"  by Karen Burton Mains from the book Open Heart, Open Home: How to find joy through sharing your home with others, pp. 197-199 (1976 edition).

The book Open Heart, Open Home gives a wonderful rationale for Christian hospitality. My old copy is copyrighted 1976 (I bought it from a church library discards table), but it was re-released in 2002.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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