Haunted By Fear Of Rejection And Failure? How You Can Get Free From The Orphan Spirit
"Who am I and where do I belong?" This is a fundamental question that virtually everyone is forced to answer. I think there are fascinating insights embedded in the following biblical account.
At Gilboa, the Philistine army surged. Jonathan and his father, Saul, were viciously slain in battle. As news reached Israel, the courtiers scrambled. In the midst of the confusion, tragedy struck.
"Jonathan, son of Saul, had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth" (2 Samuel 4:4).
Mephibosheth not only had to contend with crippling constraints, but he also had to grapple with being orphaned and alone. In many ways, his life was filled with disappointment and disaster.
I think that many of us can identify with Mephibosheth. Although there was once tremendous promise, nothing remained. A son from a prestigious royal line had been forgotten.
You don’t have to be physically maimed or fatherless to be overcome with feelings like this. In many ways, what I am talking about is the influence of the “orphan spirit.”
The Reality of the New Kingdom
Years later, the succeeding king—David—wanted to determine whether there were survivors from Saul's household that he might honor.
"The king asked, 'Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?' Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.'" (2 Samuel 9:3-4).
Mephibosheth was found and escorted back to the palace. In the ancient world, it was common to eradicate the entire bloodline of rivals. So, Mephibosheth was legitimately concerned about standing before the king.
Godly honor and love motivated David. He didn’t want Mephibosheth harmed; he wanted him restored.
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7).
Mephibosheth genuinely did not know what to do with the king’s abundant generosity.
“Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’” (2 Samuel 9:8).
When Mephibosheth says, “I’m a dog,” it reveals how he saw himself. He genuinely believed that he was merely a castoff of a fallen line.
Against the backdrop of the king’s goodness and grace, Mephibosheth’s distorted identity becomes evident.
The Orphan Spirit
You don’t have to be fatherless to find yourself constrained by the debilitating “spirit of an orphan.”
Those who are entrapped by this mindset are always striving to prove their worth. They believe that everything is a fight and are fearful that their efforts are never adequate.
“Spiritual orphans” often get trapped in a performance mode and insist that advancement only comes through hard work. This common outlook obscures the significance of covenant relationships and inheritance.
· Orphans struggle with feelings of inadequacy.
· Orphans are compelled to strive to get anything.
· Orphans continually compare themselves with others.
· Orphans secretly compete with people around them.
· Orphans are always trying to do something that gives a sense of validation.
· Orphans are haunted by rejection and failure.
Like One of the King’s Sons
Mephibosheth—a crippled orphan—had to contend with the inexplicable reality that there was something more. An incredible offer lay before him.
“Then David summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, 'I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table'” (2 Samuel 9:5-10).
In the end, David was restoring the identity and value of Mephibosheth. The gracious king not only reinstated his fortune but also treated him as one of his family members. “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons" (2 Samuel 9:11).
I believe this is a prophetic allegory. You also live in a season where God is restoring identity and inheritances. He wants to make you “like one of the king’s sons.” The question is whether you're willing to take a seat at the table?
Despite your frailties and fears, you can no longer allow yourself to be gripped by the orphan spirit.