Sometimes a caricature of the Old Testament is drawn, in which people paint a picture of God (or God’s people) only being interested in judgment and punishment.
Yesterday I wrote about kindness being a hallmark of the very first New Testament church in Jerusalem.
So today, it really stood out for me that David, the “man after God’s own heart,” also is portrayed as having a strong predisposition toward acts of kindness.
First of all, he wants to take care of Saul’s descendants. A son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth is identified and David takes him into the palace and cares for him.
“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1, NIV).
Then a little later, David seeks another opportunity to show kindness when one of his allies dies, and he wants to show kindness to his son, the new king. This story does not end well, and shows that kindness is not always rewarded with kindness in return. I’ll let that hang right there. Read 2 Samuel 10 and you’ll see what I mean.
“David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father” (2 Samuel 10:2, NIV).
Sandwiched between these two stories is this statement, which shows David’s true motivation for kindness. He wanted to show others the kindness that had first been shown to him by God!
“The king asked, ‘Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?'” (2 Samuel 9:3, NIV).
So, if you study these three passages carefully, you’ll see that kindness can start with another person first being kind to you. But the true place kindness starts is with God. His kindness is the best, most powerful kindness, because it encompasses the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ.
And Jesus is the greatest kindness that any of us will ever experience!
Our Bible reading for June 6, 2015 is 2 Samuel 9:1 – 10:19, Acts 3:1-26 and Psalm 70:1-5.
Lord, thank you for your kindness, displayed in the gift of your Son, Jesus. But your kindnesses are truly many! I experience them every day. I am so grateful. In gratitude, help me not just receive your kindnesses, but also, as David did, look for others to whom I can show your kindness.
Header image based on "Mark Twain Kindness is a language..." by BK, CC By-SA 2.0