“And the king said, ‘And where is your master’s son?’ Ziba said to the king, ‘Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, “Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.”’” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Mephibosheth was delusional. It perhaps wasn’t obvious to anyone who saw him or interacted with him on a daily basis, but there was a delusion in his heart all the same. As long as it stayed there things were pretty good for him, but now that it had shown itself, the walls of reality were going to come crashing in on him. Hard.
Have you ever been there? I remember a time in junior high—that season of life when delusions seem to develop and flourish a bit more actively than others—when this kind of thing happened to me. There was a bully who had taken a liking to me. The picking wasn’t anything major that was going to threaten my self-image, but it was a pain all the same. I gradually developed the same often-delusional idea that many bullied kids do: that I could knock his nose crooked and be done with it.
As long as that sat in my heart things went on like normal. But then I shared with a table-mate in one of my classes who turned out to be a fink. He went and told the bully about my delusion. The next day in the boys’ locker room—because, of course, I had P. E. with him—he gave me the chance to test out my idea while everybody was changing. Unfortunately for my image, but fortunately for my nose, I talked my way out of it without receiving anything more than a couple of shoves.
I learned several things that day. First, my table-mate was a fink who couldn’t be trusted at all. Second, I was not a fighter—the avoidance of pain is just too strong a motivator in my heart. Third, believing things that aren’t true is no way to live.
Mephibosheth was the grandson of Saul. Under normal circumstances, given that everyone else in his family had been killed, he would have been king. But, that was not going to happen. Ever. Thinking otherwise was delusional, a delusion he had allowed to live in his heart for many years. Ironically, it was the very cushy circumstances of his life that allowed the delusion to grow safely in his heart. He was living in the king’s palace, being fed from the king’s table, and attended by the king’s servants. And he was the grandson of the previous king who was the defeated-rival of the current one.
By all contemporary rights and logic, David should have put him to death without a second thought. He should have lived his life with a profound sense of gratitude and been right alongside his servant Ziba in taking this benevolence gift to David and his household as they fled from Absalom. Instead, he lived with a delusion.
What delusions are you harboring in your heart? Where are you holding beliefs that don’t square with reality? Where are the places where you should be grateful, but instead can think of only what you want to have instead? Where are you living outside the walls of reality? What we believe has to be held up against the firm standards of truth, specifically the deep and abiding truths of the Scriptures. Evaluate what you believe against that standard and make changes where necessary. That will lead to life every time.