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Friday, February 1, 2013

Lamentations 3:39 - What is man or any mortal to complain about anything in light of his sins?

In this verse, the Bible commands us never to complain about anything because we have no right to "in light of our sins". As sinners, we have to see that we don’t deserve anything – all the good that we have is only because of God’s mercy and grace bestowed upon undeserving sinners. We must develop an attitude that we don’t deserve anything, and that will keep us from having a complaining and murmuring heart.

There’s a wonderful example of a man in the Bible who had an attitude like this named Mephibosheth.

David once had a very close friend named Jonathan (who was King Saul’s son). The bond between them was ‘stronger than the love between man and a woman’ (2 Sam 1:26). Sadly, Jonathan was killed and the friendship between David and Jonathan was cut short. But Jonathan left behind a son named Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was a crippled man who became this way because he was dropped when he was a child (2 Sam 4:4). After David became king, he remembered that his beloved friend Jonathan had a son and for Jonathan’s sake he was going to take Mephibosheth in. Mephiboseth was overjoyed, but reluctant because of two reasons:

1. He recognized how much his grandfather Saul and his household had wronged King David. In his eyes, he was just as responsible as they were (2 Sam 19:28).

2. He recognized that he was worthless before the King (2 Sam 9:8). He could do nothing useful for King David that the King couldn’t have done for himself.

Because Mephiboseth recognized these things about himself, let’s look at a few characteristics that resulted from this:

1. Mephiboseth considered himself not worthy to deserve anything:

2Sam 9:7-8 - David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly." Again he prostrated himself and said, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"

He had a very low opinion of himself in light of who he was in the presence of, and confessed that he had no right for anything from the King.

2. Mephibosheth did not complain about anything because he had been given so much already:

2Sam 19:28 "For all my father's household was nothing but dead men before my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right do I have yet that I should complain anymore to the king?"

One temptation we can often have is to compare ourselves to others in order to make ourselves feel like we deserve something. But Mephiboseth was not like that. He could have looked down on his family and said that he was better than they were. But instead he accepted the guilt along with his family and realized his low position. And so he recognized that he had no right to ask of or complain about anything to King David.

3. Mephibosheth’s only desire was the good of King David, who had been so merciful to him.

He was in the midst of vast wealth and comfort, but he did not desire wealth and comfort. His only desire was that this merciful king who treated him so well would be safe:

2Sam 19:29-30 - So the king said to him, "Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decided, 'You and Ziba shall divide the land.'" Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him even take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house."

We can take these wonderful lessons for ourselves if we recognize like Mephibosheth, that we are spiritual cripples. We can do nothing for God that He cannot do for Himself – we are not only slaves, we are UNWORTHY slaves (Luke 17:10). Not only this, we are sinners who are responsible for crucifying and causing so much grief to our Lord, just as Mephibosheth took responsibility for his household causing so much grief to David. And if we recognize these things and take them to heart, then like Mephibosheth we will not consider ourselves worthy of deserving so much extra in life. (God may give it to us, nevertheless in that case we will maintain the attitude that we don’t deserve it). We will accept the good from God, but not complain about the trouble (Lam 3:38, Job 2:10) because even the trouble in life is for our good and coming from God's gracious hand (Romans 8:28). And our highest desire will be for the good of our merciful King, who showed us so much grace when we didn’t deserve it. Praise our loving Father for having such mercy on spiritual cripples!