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 (Manna 46: Spreading the Gospel)
Hardly Worth A Glance
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Samuel KuoHillsborough, New Jersey, USA

On top of the list read “DEAD DOG.

But I completely forgot why I wrote it down.

When I recently moved, one of the first things I bought was a small, personal whiteboard. I planned on using it by jotting down the things I needed to buy, errands to run, or required engagements to attend.

While it was used as originally intended, I found myself also forming a column of terse, spiritually related statements on the right-hand side of the whiteboard. They were words that struck me when reading the Bible and profound ideas that were discussed during Bible studies.

Essentially they were expressions that made me think of particularities—all of which served as reminders of areas where I needed to improve in my faith. The items were personal and specifically for myself, so they never exceeded two or three words: “1 Peter ,” “Obey > Sacrifice,” “Know = Serve+,” “Heart, Soul, Strength,” “Luke -42.”

This was just part of the list.

On one particular morning, on top of the list read “Dead Dog.” And I had completely forgotten why I had written it down.

It became really bothersome until hours later it finally occurred to me that I had written two words—two words from Bible study a week earlier—recorded in 2 Samuel 9:8: “Then he bowed himself, and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?’”  They are the words of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, who was lame in both feet.  How easily I forget.

Evidently, after King Saul’s death in a battle with the Amalekites, there was a power struggle within the kingdom of Israel.  One of Saul’s sons, Ishbosheth, was appointed King of Israel, while David was appointed king of Judah.

Though not intended by David, the days and years that ensued resulted in the near annihilation of King Saul’s descendants and his loyalists including Ishbosheth and Abner, save Mephibosheth (cf. 2 Samuel 2-4).

Following his ascension to the throne, King David sought to show kindness to anyone left in Saul’s house for Jonathan’s sake (2 Sam 9:1).  This resulted in a tremendously loving gesture to Mephibosheth: King David restored to him all the land of his grandfather, King Saul, and appointed him to eat at his table continually.

Fittingly, in complete humility, Mephibosheth replied, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” (2 Sam 9:8).

In truth, we are not much different than Mephibosheth.  Spiritually lame, there is little we can do to return the indescribable favor God shows us.  Deserving no mercy, we are shown mercy—having part in a glorious kingdom we have no right to inherit in the first place.  Merely worthless sinners, we enjoy the blessings that God bestows at His table day by day.

In reality, we are dead dogs, hardly worth a glance, barely worth the gag.

Even though we know these things, all too often, what happened to me happens to all of us—we forget. We forget our true nature before a holy and pure God. We forget what we enjoy now is all due to God’s grace and, simply, that. Grace.

We forget that we are undeserving of this kindness, totally unworthy of His grace. However, He showed us love. Our status as His children, the blessings we enjoy, the promises we trust in, the hope that preserves us—all stem from the grace shown by a singular event—that a holy and loving God would die for the sake of sinners like us (Rom 5:8).

Those who forget their sinful origin and the grace that covered it eventually lose compassion, forgiveness, and love. Instead, they gain more coldness, complaints, and self-righteousness—even reverting to their sinful origins.

Those who constantly remember their sinful origin and the grace that covered it eventually do great things for God, winning more and repaying grace with a sincere gratitude. Think Peter1. Think Paul2.

I have forgotten. Will I choose to remember?

            “What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain:
Mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! Tis I deserve Thy place.
Look on me with Thy favor, Vouchsafe to me thy grace.”
--Bernard of Clairvaux

1.        (cf. Mt 26:69-75, Acts 2-5, 10)

2.        (cf. 1 Tim , 2 Cor -15)

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Publisher: True Jesus Church