How David Expressed His Thanksgiving (2 Samuel 9:1-13)


"I will surely show you kindness" (2 Sam 9:7).

Being thankful is so darn hard. Why? It's so much easier to be angry and upset with others!

2 things that seem to deeply upset and anger us is when we think or feel that we were unappreciated or disrespected. We just can't get over feeling dissed or disregarded, regardless of whether or not others intended to do so. This bothers us so deeply and profoundly, because we so naturally default to self-centeredness and self-righteousness, which are common expressions of selfishness. So, how can we be thankful when we feel angry, upset, disrespected, unappreciated, disregarded?

To be thankful we must know that Being Thankful is a Response, not a Command. Luke 17:7-19 suggests that thanksgiving requires that we acknowledge 2 things:

  1. We deserve nothing, even after we have done our best (Lk 17:7-10).
  2. We need Jesus more than what our hearts desire (Lk 17:11-19).
When we do our best, we invariably expect some reward, either from God or others. But such an attitude will not result in thanksgiving, because we are then only getting the reward that we believe we deserve. Therefore, only when we know that we deserve no good thing, can we be truly thankful. Only "unworthy servants" (Lk 17:10) are thankful and happy.

As fallen beings, what our hearts desperately want should always be questioned, even if what we want is a good thing. The fact that 10 lepers cried out to Jesus to heal them is a good thing. Jesus healed all 10 of them. But only 1 returned to give thanks and "praise to God" (Lk 17:17). What's the problem of the other 9? They wanted to be cured of their leprosy (a good thing) more than they wanted Jesus. Thus, only when Jesus is all I want and need as my utmost treasure, will we be truly thankful. Otherwise, we will only "use" Jesus to get what I want.

Our thanksgiving sermon is a short narrative about David and Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9:1-13). It teaches us about "chesed", which is a rich Hebrew word that is translated "kindness" (2 Sam 9:1,3,7), "loving kindness," "steadfast love," "loyal love." It shows us how David expressed his thanksgiving practically. To David, his expression of thanksgiving was:

  1. A top priority
  2. Surprising
  3. Promise-driven
Previous post: David's "Chesed" Love.

1) David's thanksgiving sought for a way to show kindness as a top priority when he finally became king after years of hardship (2 Sam 9:2-6). Some questions to ponder about "chesed":

  • How aggressive is your love for people?
  • Are you on the look out for people to love?
  • Can you love people who can't pay you back, or who might even be your enemy?
2) David's thanksgiving, expressed as "chesed" kindness toward Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, was "over-the-top" generous. Jonathan asked David to not cut off his family (1 Sam 20:14-15). But David went far beyond what Jonathan asked (2 Sam 9:7,9-10).
  • Is our love like this?
  • Is it over-the-top, surprising in its generosity?
  • Does it think through and address the particulars?
  • Is it directed toward the "lame"--those who are in no position to reciprocate?
  • Does it find special joy in conferring honor upon others?
  • Is it fearless, reaching out to those who might turn out to be our enemies?
  • Is it costly?
3) David's thanksgiving and "chesed" is promise-driven, arising from faithfulness to pledges earlier made (2 Sam 9:1,7). David is like God who swore to his own hurt (Ps 15:4). God's love is a love that honors--a love that keeps a promise and is willing to pay any price. As displayed movingly in David's first act as king, God's love is:
  • a love that takes the initiative,
  • a love that is over-the-top generous,
  • a love that is costly,
  • a love that is thoughtful and particular,
  • a love that never wanders from promises that have been made.
What is the source and the power behind such love? It is to know that:
  • I am nothing but a "crippled dead dog, lame in both feet" (2 Sam 9:8,13), and yet...
  • I am loved, well provided for, and highly honored (2 Sam 9:7-13).
3 questions:
  • How can you and I know this?
  • How can we be thankful like David who gave "everything" to Mephibosheth?
  • How can we be thankful like Mephibosheth who received "everything" completely free of charge?
We have to be a Mephibosheth before we can be a David. David knew he was a "dead dog" whom God delivered only by his grace. Thus he could be gracious and generious toward another "dead dog" Mephibosheth. Ultimately, we can be thankful:
  • Only through Jesus who is the true David who loves, provides for, and honors us more than David loved Mephibosheth.
  • Only through Jesus who is the true Jonathan because of whom we are so loved with every blessing (Eph 1:3).
2 Practical Applications/Ministry Implications (simul justus et peccator):
  1. We are humbled. Why? We are spiritually like a "crippled dead dog, lame in both feet."
  2. We are bold and confident. Why? We have been loved, provided for and so highly honored by God through Christ, and it is not at all because of me or my performance or merit.
Only in Christ, we are "honored failures" and "righteous sinners." No matter how "good" we become we are still sinful. No matter how sinful we are, we are still honored and loved because of what Christ has done for me on the Cross. When we deeply apply our status as both "honored failures" and "righteous sinners," thanksgiving overflows in our hearts through Jesus Christ.


  1. After David was established as king over all Israel (2 Sam 8:15), what was the first thing he did (2 Sam 9:1)? Look up the meaning of "chesed" or "hesed." Whom did David find (2 Sam 9:2-6)? Why was David like this (Lk 19:10; Jn 4:23)? How aggressive is our love for people?
  2. Who is Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9:6)? What had Jonathan once asked David (1 Sam 20:14-15)? How great is David's love (2 Sam 9:7)? What is the cost of love (Rom 5:6,8)? How generous is our love for others?
  3. What was the motivation/driving force behind David's kindness (2 Sam 9:1,7)? How is God like this (Gen 3:15; Ps 15:4)?
  4. Should we love this way? Why? How? Where do we find the power to love like this (Ps 27:1; 1 Jn 4:19)? How can I be sure of such love when I am so "lame, crippled and like a dead dog" (2 Sam 9:3,8,13)?
  5. Who is the only one worthy of God's "chesed" (Mt 17:5)? How did Jesus lose it all (Ps 22:1; Mt 27:46; Mk 16:34)? Why is Jesus our true David and our true Jonathan (1 Jn 3:1-2; Rom 8:32; 2 Cor 5:21)?

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