Have you ever been in a place like that?
Have you ever had so many things go wrong in yourlife that you thought that God was actually working against you? Maybe that’s how you feeltoday.There is a story tucked away in the Bible, in First and Second Samuel, that talks about this veryfeeling of God working against you. In fact, the story’s main character has the name Meribaal,which means “
the God who fights against me
”. You don’t get a name like that without having afew issues in your life.Today is the first of a series this summer talking about extreme makeovers from God. So we aregoing to see what God did in Meribaal’s life and I’m hoping it will be a big encouragement toyou.The story begins back in the days when Israel had their first king, King Saul. Saul was anexcellent leader, but he made the mistake of disobeying God. When he did that, God chose anew leader to take his place. His name was David. But Saul wasn’t stupid. Even though heknew that his days were numbered, he wasn’t going to simply roll over and allow David to takethe throne without putting up a fight. Saul became obsessed with hunting down David in hopesof killing him so Saul could remain king.Now, surprisingly, David’s best friend was Saul’s son. His name was Jonathan. In First Samuel,chapter twenty, David asked a favor of Jonathan. He said,“
Jonathan, I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately but your dad’s spears have been getting pretty close to me! How would you like to help keep your dad from killing me
?”Now, Jonathan was a pretty smart guy - he saw this as an opportunity. He knew that if he helpedDavid, David would probably become king. He also knew that the habit of most new kings wasto kill the family of the previous king to prevent any kind of rebellion. So Jonathan said,“
David, I’ll make a deal with you. If you promise not to kill me or my descendants when you become king, I’ll promise to help keep my dad from killing you.”
It sounded good to David, so they made a covenant.Not long after that, Saul and Jonathan were both killed in battle. David was then free to take thethrone. When he did, there was a great rush by Saul’s family to evacuate Jerusalem for fear thatthey would be killed.One of these family members who fled was Jonathan’s only son – Meribaal. He was five-yearsold at the time. Second Samuel, chapter four says that in the rush to leave the city, the boy’snurse dropped him, and as a result, he lost the use of both his feet. (We don’t know whathappened, maybe a horse trampled him.) The nurse grabbed the boy and smuggled him into thedesert to live in exile, twenty miles from Jerusalem. My guess is that his nurse gave him thename “Meribaal” – the God who fights against me - at that time, and it is not hard to understandwhy.First of all, his father and grandfather had just been killed. Second, since no one knew aboutDavid’s covenant with Jonathan, the nurse must have felt like Meribaal was under the constantthreat of being assassinated. Finally, the boy was crippled, and I say that in the worst sense of the word. In that day, there was no concept of being “physically challenged”. To be crippled