Sermon:  What is Lovingkindness?

Summary:  David, a man after God's own heart, demonstrates unfailing love, mercy, 
and kindness in his dealings with Mephibosheth.  God intensely desires that we also 
show unfailing love, mercy, and kindness to others, and this account gives us a 
picture of what it looks like.

Know:  Showing unfailing love, mercy, and kindness is a reflection of God's character 
and therefore he wants us to do the same.

Feel:  Compassion for others

Do:  Discuss the meaning of kindness, and how it is demonstrated in David's actions.  
Describe how kindness is important.   Identify ways to show kindness.

Scripture Reading:  Lam 3:22-24

Text:  2 Sam 9

1.  Q:  What would you do if someone were threatening your life?
	a.  King David faced this numerous times in his life
	b.  There was still a possible threat to him and the throne
	c.  Let's look at how he deals with it
2.  2 Sam 9 - Wasn't sure what lesson to draw from this text
	a.  One commentator made this a lesson about grace
		- David showed Mephiboshet undeserved favor, that is grace
		- But I'm not so sure this is a demonstration of grace though
		- David had previously made covenant with both Jonathan, then 
		  Saul (1 Sam 20:13-17; 24:18-22)
		- David was keeping his word
	b.  So maybe this is a lesson on integrity
		- New kings usually eliminated potential contenders for the throne
		- No one would have faulted David for doing so
		- But David in his heart remembered the covenant, and he kept it
		- So, this could be a good lesson on integrity
	c.  But there is something more significant I want to focus on
3.  David uses a very significant word that I want to focus on
	a.  Is there anyone left in Saul's family "that I may show him kindness?"
	b.  The phrase is literally, "that I may do hesed to him."
		- "Hesed" is used three times in the chapter, v. 1, 3, 7
		- The whole chapter is about "hesed"
	c.  Want to focus on the word, "hesed" and what it means

I.  Definition and Meaning of Hesed (9:1)
	A.  There are various translations of this word into English
		1.  Various translations:  Love, unfailing love, kindness, mercy, 
		      faithfulness, loyalty, goodness, lovingkindness
		2.  It is often an expression of a committed relationship
			a.  Covenant often enacted to reinforce it
			b.  Basic idea is enduring, unfailing love and/or kindness
		3.  It is used 244 times as a noun, 33 times as an adjective in O.T.
	B.  Look at some examples of how the word is used
		1.  Used of God, it demonstrates his character:
			a.  (Dt 5:9-10) - Visits iniquity to the 3rd  & 4th, generations  
			     but His love/mercy/lovingkindess shown to the 1000th
				- This is God's self revelation 
				- Notice his lovingkindess is greater than his wrath
				- God is faithful with unfailing love
			b.  Psalm 136 - Repeated phrase - "His love/mercy/
			     lovingkindness endures forever
				-  Goes through history of redemption 
				-  After every redemptive act of God, says his hesed 
				   is everlasting
				- Once again, talking about his unfailing love
			c.  (Mic 7:18-20) - "Unfailing love" 
				- God delights in "hesed," it is part of his character
				- God is still faithful when we are faithless
				- He is compassionate, gracious
				- Truly, he is abounding in "hesed," unfailing love
			d.  (Isa 54:7-10) - His lovingkindess is forever
				- God's anger is for a moment
				- But his lovingkindness/compassion is forever
				- God delights not in wrath, but in "hesed"
		2.  Also used for how God wants us to treat others
			a.  (Prov 3:3-4) - Do not let "kindness" (hesed) and 
			     truth/faithfulness leave you
				- Will find favor in the sight of man, and God
				- If God "delights" in hesed, he delights in you when 
				   he sees it in you
			b.  (Zech 7:8-10) - Practice "hesed" and compassion
				- That means being compassionate to one another
				- It means being compassionate to those who cannot 
				   pay you back or do anything for you
			c.  (Micah 6:6-8) - God has a case against them
				- Response?  Should I come with sacrifice?
				- v.8 - God told them what is good...
				- Part of it is to love kindness, or "hesed" 
				- Since God delights in hesed, we are to as well
			d.  (Hos 6:6) - I delight in "hesed" rather than sacrifice
				- God puts a high premium on hesed
				- Jesus quoted this passage
		3.  Used by Jesus, quoting from Hosea 6
			a.  (Mt 9:10-13) - Eating with tax collectors and sinners
				- The Pharisees complained, it looked bad
				- Why would Jesus rub shoulders with sinners?
				- Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6
				- God desires "mercy" and not a sacrifice
			b.  (Mt 12:7) - Disciples picked some grain, were hungry
				- Condemned by Pharisees
				- Quotes Hosea 6:6 again
				- Pharisees did not understand the heart of God
				- God delights in "hesed" translated as "mercy" here
			c.  Both times, it is rendered as "mercy"
		4.  Septuagint usually translates "Hesed" as "eleos" - mercy
			a.  What is mercy?
				- Usually think of forgiveness to one who wrongs you
				- But it is much more than this
				- Mercy means having compassion, or lovingkindness
				- That is what we mean by "ministries of mercy"
			b.  Example - (Lk 10:25-37) - Parable of the Good Samaritan
				- Question, who is my neighbor to love as myself?
				- Samaritan took care of him, did not pass him by
				- v.37 - Who a neighbor? - one who showed "MERCY"
			c.  So mercy is not just forgiveness of a wrong
				- Mercy is active compassion on others
				- Mercy is loving your neighbor as yourself
			d.  Fits in with idea of "unfailing love" or lovingkindness
	C.  Hopefully we have a better grasp on this word, "Hesed"
		1.  It is compassionate, loyal, faithful love,
		2.  It is mercy and kindness shown toward others
	D.  **So let's look at how David will show hesed...
II.  Example of Hesed in this text (9:1-13)
	A.  David's question literally, "…that I may do to him hesed?"
		1.  v.3 - Says he wants to "do the hesed of God"
		2.  Understands that God has show him faithful lovingkindness
		3.  David wants to do the same for someone in Saul's house
	B.  What does "doing lovingkindness" mean in this case?
		1.  Helping the helpless - kindness
			a.  Mephibosheth lived in "Lo-Debar" - lit: No pasture
				- Since he was crippled he couldn't farm
				- There would have been a lot he couldn't do
			b.  Probably had to be waited on
			c.  When David's men came to fetch him, what he thinking? 
				- Couldn't run
				- Could not defend himself
				- Imagine the scene as he came before David
		2.  Undeserved help - mercy
			a.  Did Mephibosheth do something to earn this treatment?
			b.  No, it was offered by David out of compassion & loyalty
			c.  David showed him mercy/kindness 
		3.  Unfailing love - adoption
			a.  David didn't merely make sure he was okay
			b.  David took some drastic measures
				- Eat at the King's table regularly
				- Gets all the fields and property of Saul back
				- Gets a "staff" of people, 35 people, to serve him
			c.  Imagine the scene at dinner
				- Royal family each show up for dinner
				- Abigail, Michal, 
				- Then in comes Mephibosheth, hobbling along
				- Sits at the table as one of the family
		4.  Taking the initiative
			a.  David didn't wait until the opportunity came to him
			b.  David went out of his way to find Mephibosheth
			c.   God did the same for us
				- We didn't Love God first, he loved us first
				- We have life because of his initiative
	C.  All of these are picture of God's lovingkindness for us
		1.  God helped us when we were helpless
			a.  God defends the helpless, orphan & widow, Ps 10:18
			b.  Rom 5:6 - While we were still helpless, at the right time 
			    Christ died for the ungodly
			c.  There was nothing we could do except allow God to save 
			    us through his son
		2.  God showed us mercy
			a.  Tit 3:5 - He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we 
 			    have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy
			b.  Nothing we did obligated God to us
		3.  God shows us unfailing love
			a.  Rom 8:14 - We have been adopted into his family
			b.  1 Jn 3:1 - See how great a love the Father has bestowed 
 			    on us, that we would be called children of God
			c.  We get to sit at his table in fellowship
		4.  God took the initiative
			a.  He began his place long before we recognized our sin
			b.  God took the initiative by sending his Son for us

III.  God also desires us to do Hesed
	A.  Since it is part of who God is, we are to do the same
		1.  God commanded it
		2.  It is in harmony with the character of God
	B.  What does it mean to do "hesed" to others?
		1.  Do as God did, as David did
			a.  Help the helpless in kindness
			b.  Show mercy
			c.  Demonstrate unfailing love
			d.  Take the initiative
		2.  (Gal 5:22-23) - Bear fruit of the Spirit
			a.  "Hesed" is not used, but the idea is certainly there
				- Love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
				- Many of these carry the idea of Hesed
			b.  Practical application comes next...
				- (Gal 6:1) - Restore in spirit of gentleness
				- (Gal 6:2) - Bear one another's burdens
				- (Gal 6:10) - Do good to all, especially household of 
		3.  Remember the original question:  What would you do if 
 		    someone were threatening you?
	C.  ILL:  92 year old Pauline Jacobi from Dyersburg showed kindness
		1.  Shop Walmart, got into car, man got in with her, demand money
			a.  She refused 3 times, he threatened to shoot her
			b.  She said she wasn't afraid of dying
			c.  Said Jesus was with them in the car, he always with her
			d.  Also told him if he shot her, she go to Heaven, he to Hell
				- She said Hell was a bad place
				- Told him he didn't want to go there, worse than 
 				  anything here
		2.  She looked him straight in the eye as she spoke
			a.  Man was in his 50's, unkempt, dirty
			b.  She said, "It looks like you've had an awful time in this 
			c.  Asked him his name, he said it was Ricky
			d.  Asked him what he wanted money for, he said he was 
		3.  He began to cry.  After a period of silence...
		4.  She then offered him all her money
			a.  He wouldn't take it at first
				- She said, "I want you to have it"
				- I wasn't going to let you take it from me, but I will go 
 				  ahead and give it to you
			b.  He accepted, and she told him not to spend it on whiskey
			c.  He said he would go home an pray that night, she said he 
 			    didn't have to wait till them, could pray anytime
			d.  He then kissed her on the cheek and left.  
	D.  What a wonderful example of Christian kindness

1.  Consider the question again... 
	a.  What would you do if someone were threatening you?
	b.  Could be different question - What would you do when someone is in 
	c.  What would you do if someone is lonely?
	d.  What would you do if someone is having a difficult time. Etc. etc. etc.
2.  Consider what God did...
	a.  He demonstrated his unfailing, enduring, faithful lovingkindness
		- Helped when we were helpless
		- Helped even though we didn't deserve it
		- Showed us unfailing love, adopted us
		- Took the initiative
	b.  The cross is the greatest demonstration of his hesed (inv)
3.  Remember that God wants us to also demonstrate lovingkindness
	a.  How will you take initiative for the helpless?
	b.  How will you take initiative for those who need mercy?
	c.  How will you take initiative to show unfailing love?