Scripture: 2 Samuel 9:1–13; Luke 6:35–36; Ephesians 4:32
Memory verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:15
"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else."
Use this object lesson to lead into this week’s lesson on kindness. You will need a mirror.
Explain to the students that the Bible tells us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Sometimes we think love means to say sweet things to someone or to be affectionate in a special way. Emphasise that if you go by that definition we might put our arms around ourselves and tell ourselves how wonderful it is to hold us. Pick up the mirror and look into it as you explain that we might say to ourselves, “My, I look beautiful today. Umm, I love me so much. I would like to just sit and look into my eyes.” Of course that is ridiculous.
Explain that the Bible is talking about the way we treat ourselves. If we are hurt, we tend to the wound. If we are hungry, we eat. In the same way if someone we know (our neighbour) has a need and we can help him, we are to take care of his need as we would our own.
Tell the students to listen for the way the man in this week’s lesson showed kindness.
Hearing God’s Word
Our lesson this week deals with the lives of five people. Who were they? (Read 2 Samuel 9:1–6 to find out. Then list these names on the chalkboard: David, Saul, Jonathan, Ziba and Mephibosheth.)
David and Jonathan Pledge Their Friendship
David and Jonathan were best friends. But Saul, Jonathan’s father, did not like David. Saul was jealous of David. He was afraid the people would want David to be their king.
Normally a king’s son became king when his father died. Jonathan was in line to be the next king of Israel. Jonathan knew God had chosen David to be Israel’s next king instead. Jonathan was not jealous of David as his father was. Jonathan wanted only good for David. He knew God’s way is best.
Jonathan proved his loyalty to David several times by protecting him when Saul wanted to kill him. (Briefly review the incident covered in Lesson 3.) One day David had to run away from Saul. Before he did, David and Jonathan made a promise of friendship. David gave his word that he would be kind to Jonathan and his family. David made the promise in spite of King Saul’s cruelty toward him.
David Remembers His Promise
For many years David lived as a wanderer. He could not stay in one place because Saul was determined to kill him. Then one day King Saul was killed in a battle with the Philistines. Jonathan was also killed in the same battle. David was sad. He mourned for his dear friend. Then the people asked David to be their new king. David was a good king who served God wholeheartedly. God made David a mighty king. (Ask someone to read 2 Samuel 5:10.)
After David became king, he remembered the promise he had made to Jonathan. He could do nothing for Jonathan now; Jonathan had been killed in battle. However, David longed to do something to show kindness to Jonathan’s family. David didn’t know where Jonathan’s children were. He didn’t even know if they were still alive. So David began to ask some questions.
Mephibosheth Is Located
When a king begins to ask questions, people try hard to find the answers. Someone in the kingdom knew about one of King Saul’s servants, a man named Ziba. David sent for him.
When Ziba arrived, David asked, “Is there anyone in Saul’s family still alive? I want to show the kindness of God to him.” Ziba answered, “Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth is alive, but both his feet are crippled.”
What had happened to Mephibosheth? (Ask one of the students to read 2 Samuel 4:4.) Mephibosheth was only five years old when his father Jonathan died. When news that Saul and Jonathan had been killed reached the king’s court, there was great panic. The nurse who had been in charge of Mephibosheth grabbed him and began to run away. In her hurry to get to safety, Mephibosheth fell and became crippled in both feet.
The Bible tells us that Mephibosheth grew up and made his home in a town named Lo Debar” (2 Samuel 9:4 NIV). He probably felt he would be safe from the new king in that secluded place. But now Ziba, his grandfather’s servant, told the king where he was.
David Shows Kindness
Ask: “How do you thing Mephibosheth felt when he received the king’s summons to come to the palace?” (Allow responses.)
In those days kings often killed the family members of the displaced king. They did this so no one would try to take away their kingdom. Now Mephibosheth had to appear before David—the one his grandfather Saul had hated. How frightening this must have been!
Ask: “How did Mephibosheth act when he came into David’s presence?” (Ask a student to read 2 Samuel 9:6)
Bowing in the king’s presence was not unusual. People did this to show respect. David seemed to sense Mephibosheth’s feelings of apprehension about the meeting. What did David say? (Ask a student to read 2 Samuel 9:7.) David had no intention of killing Mephibosheth. He wanted to honour his promise to Jonathan by being kind to Mephibosheth.
How surprised Mephibosheth must have been! But the good news had just begun. “I am going to give all of your grandfather’s land back to you,” David said. “Besides that, I want you to eat at my table here at the palace every day.”
David’s Example to Us
Instead of being killed as he had feared would happen, Mephibosheth was blessed by David’s kindness. David’s deed is an example of the kindness all of God’s children are to show. Our memory verse gives us clear instructions on showing kindness to others. (Let the class say the memory verse together.) Saul had done evil to David many times, but David refused to get revenge or repay evil for evil. David put kindness into action. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Just wait, I will get you back?”
Ask: “What do they mean by that expression? (Allow responses.)
Ask: “Is it right to take revenge on someone or be rude to them when they have treated you badly? Are Christians really able to do loving things to people they don’t particularly like?” (Allow responses.)
Give some practical examples the students may be dealing with at school or at home, but do not divulge any student’s personal problems.
Living as Jesus Would
How does God respond to us when we do something to grieve or hurt Him?
Ask: “What does Luke 6:35, 36 tell us about God?” (Allow responses.)
The word Christian means “disciple” or “follower.” Christians should follow Jesus by living as He would if He were here on earth. If we are to call ourselves Christians, we should show kindness as He does—to those who appreciate it and those who do not. Jesus’ love is constant toward everyone, no matter who they are.
Heaping Coals of Fire on Our Enemies
A man was once heard to say, “I always kill my enemies.” His words startled the person to whom he was speaking. “What do you mean? How do you kill them?” he asked.
“Oh, it is very simple,” the first man replied. “I kill them with kindness!”
The Bible has an expression for this. It is found in Romans 12:20; (ask a student to read this verse.) To “heap burning coals” (NIV) on someone who is mean to us means that we are kind to them. It is the surest way to get their attention because the human reaction is to be mean back to the person. Kindness is also what God wants and a way we show our commitment to Him. Those who follow God’s rules for living will not pay back evil for evil, but will obey God’s command to show kindness to those who wrong them.
Ask: “According to Ephesians 4:32, why are we to be kind to one another?” (Allow responses.)
There is no better way to be a good witness for Jesus than to show kindness to each other, to refuse to pay back evil for evil, and to do good to those who wrong us. If we live this way, it will prove to others that we truly love Jesus. It will not always be easy, but we don’t have to rely on our strength alone. We can ask God for help. The Holy Spirit has promised to be our guide and give us the strength we need to be faithful witnesses, showing kindness by the things we say and do.
Accepting God’s Word
Remind the students that Jesus was kind to us before we even knew about Him. He gave His life for us so our sins can be forgiven. There is no greater love and kindness than this. Briefly review the plan of salvation and God’s kindness toward people who did not love Him.
Ask if there is anyone who would like to receive Jesus as Saviour at this time.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
PRAY FOR THE UNREACHED TRIBES OF SENEGAL
Study 16 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach