Be Zealous to Show Kindness 

What would happen, if all of us became zealous to show kindness?

Second Samuel 9–10

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 3, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. Practice guerrilla kindness. 
    1. The creator of the line,“Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty,”
    2. says,“If you think there should be more of something, do it—randomly. Kindness can build on itself as much as violence can.”
  2. Let me tell you a story about a Hebrew king 
    1. who looked for people
    2. to whom he could show kindness.
      1. Perhaps when you see his zeal to show kindness,
      2. you will build on his kindness by showing more kindness.


  1. Second Samuel 9.1 – David wants to show kindness

    1 Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
  2. Second Samuel 9.2–6 – David finds Mephibosheth

    2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “At your service!” 3 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.” 4 So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.” 5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”

    1. Someone discovered a servant to the house of Saul, Ziba by name.
    2. When summoned Ziba presented himself for David’s service,
      1. David asked Ziba whether someone of the house of Saul
      2. still existed to whom David might show the kindness of God.
        1. Ziba told David of a son of Jonathan who was lame in his feet.
        2. David sent for Jonathan’s son, who when he approached David,
          1. fell on his face, and
          2. presented himself as David’s servant.
  3. Second Samuel 9.7–13 – David gives generously

    7 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” 8 Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” 9 And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given to your master’s son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. 10 You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master’s son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s son shall eat bread at my table always.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.” “As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons.” 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.

    1. Then David told Mephibosheth not to fear because
      1. David would show kindness to him
      2. for the sake of his father, who had been David’s best friend.
        1. Mephibosheth may have feared that David would eliminate him
        2. as a threat to his throne and in an attempt to restore Saul’s throne.
          1. Rather than eliminating Mephibosheth,
          2. David showed him kindness.
    2. David revealed the kindness of God, promising
      1. to restore all of his grandfather’s land to Mephibosheth and
      2. to let him eat at David’s table continually.
    3. The grandson of Saul bowed himself before David,
      1. asking why he would look upon
      2. someone like Mephibosheth, who was like a dead dog.
    4. David revealed to Ziba
      1. that Mephibosheth would receive all of Saul’s things, and
      2. that Ziba, his sons, and servants would work the land for Mephibosheth.
        1. Ziba agreed to do all that David requested or commanded.
  4. Second Samuel 10.1–2 – David wants to show yet another person kindness

    1 It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. 2 Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.

    1. David then heard that Nahash, king of the Ammonites, died.
      1. David desired to repay the kindness that Nahash had shown David
      2. by showing showing kindness to the son of Nahash.
    2. The Bible does not record the kindness that Nahash did toward David.
  5. Second Samuel 10.3–4 – Hanun rejects David’s kindness

    3 And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” 4 Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.

    1. The advisers to Hanun, son of Nahash, made him suspicious of David’s intentions.
      1. They questioned whether David truly wanted
        1. to comfort Hanun for the memory of his father Nahash
        2. by sending comforters to Hanun when his father died.
      2. They put into Hanun’s mind
        1. that David only sent the so-called comforters
        2. to search the city as spies that David might overthrew it.
    2. Therefore, Hanun ordered the humiliation of David’s servants,
      1. shaving off half their beards,
      2. cutting off their clothing right at the buttocks,
      3. sending them away in great embarrassment.
  6. Second Samuel 10.5 – David shows kindness to the humiliated

    5 When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”

    1. The embarrassed men would not return to Jerusalem and to David.
    2. David told them to wait at Jericho until their beards had regrown, because
      1. Joshua and Israel had destroyed Jericho, and
      2. no Israelite had yet rebuilt it.
        1. Thus, they would have privacy there
        2. until their beards had regrown.
  7. Second Samuel 10.6 – Ammon prepares to fight a kind man

    6 When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-tob twelve thousand men.

    1. The Ammonites did not leave the matter alone, but
    2. gathered their army together, hiring
      1. 20,000 foot soldiers from Syria,
      2. 1,000 men from Maacah, and
      3. 12,000 men from Ish-tob.
    3. David had not gathered his army, but
      1. the Ammonites saw how this repulsed David and
      2. they thought he would attack them.
  8. Second Samuel 10.7–19 – The battle rages and the enemy loses badly

    7 Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. 8 Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field. 9 When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel’s best and put them in battle array against the Syrians. 10 And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother, that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon. 11 Then he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” 13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near for the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 When the people of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled before Abishai, and entered the city. So Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went to Jerusalem. 15 When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together. 16 Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam. And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army went before them. 17 When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him. 18 Then the Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen of the Syrians, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, who died there. 19 And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.

    1. What was David to do?
      1. He saw a vast army gathering for war against him, and against Israel.
      2. He had to send his army,
        1. lest he be attacked unaware, and
        2. the defeat would be far worse than what his servants suffered.
    2. Joab, the commander of Israel’s army, split his forces.
      1. One group with him and another with his brother Abishai.
      2. Then if one of them witnessed the enemy overpowering his brother,
        1. he could go and help his brother.
        2. Then Joab encouraged his brother and their forces,

          12 “Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”
    3. The Syrians lost easily before Joab, and
      1. they fled from him and
      2. the Ammonites fled from his brother Abishai.
    4. The Syrians did not like suffering defeat at the hand of Israel.
      1. Therefore, the Syrians regrouped.
      2. This time David joined the battle, and
        1. again the Syrians fled before David and Israel, losing
          1. 700 charioteers,
          2. 40,000 horsemen, and
          3. the commander of their army.
    5. The Syrians decided it best
      1. to make peace with Israel and
      2. not to help Ammon ever again.
  1. Be Zealous to Show Kindness 
    1. Remember why we are Christians, followers of Christ, the son of David,

      8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2.8–10).
      11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Tts 2.11–14).
  2. The Lord Shall Provide 
    1. What if our desire to show kindness to someone requires resources?
      1. Second Corinthians 9 shows that the Lord shall provide the resources.
      2. He does not bless just so we can have more,

        7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
        “He has dispersed abroad,
        He has given to the poor;
        His righteousness endures forever.”

        10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God (2Co 9.7–11).

        1. He blesses that we might bless.
        2. It is not about us; it is about others.
  3. If Everyone in this Congregation Was Zealous to Show Kindness 
    1. What if we all decided just to show kindness to one another?

      34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.34–35).
    2. Do that first, then find someone not of the church,

      10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal 6.10).


  1. Imitating David means looking outside yourself. 
    1. It means not thinking of how someone else can show you kindness.
    2. It means you have to think of showing them kindness.
  2. David showed the kindness of God, because 
    1. David was a man after God’s heart, and
    2. God seeks zealously someone to whom He may show kindness.
      1. He knows that many in the world
        1. hate Him, or
        2. even say that He and Jesus do not exist.
      2. Nevertheless, He continues looking for someone
        1. to whom He may show kindness.
        2. Look at what He did through Jesus.
          1. God sent Jesus to suffer the punishment for our sins.
            1. We sinned.
            2. He received the punishment.
          2. If that is not kindness, I do not know what is.
  3. Begin with those who have shown you kindness. 
    1. Mephibosheth had not shown kindness to David, but
      1. his father Jonathan had.
      2. Therefore, this was a way of blessing Jonathan.
    2. David wanted to show kindness toward Nahash, because
      1. he had shown kindness to David.
      2. Hanun rejected David’s kindness and you can expect that to happen.
    3. Then show kindness toward those who have not show you kindness,

      30 “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Luke 6.30–35).
  4. Think of the quality of people whose lives would convert you to Christ. 
    1. Does your image of them include their kindness?
    2. Then be that way.