"And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon." (2 Samuel 10: 1-2)
In the chapter right after David honors and restores Mephibosheth, David then sets out to show kindness to another royal family, of Ammon, because the king at the time was kind to him.
Instead of receiving David's graciousness, the king's advisors frightened him and told him to reject David's emissaries:
"3And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?:
Just as the maid took Mephibosheth and hid him, out of fear that David was going to kill him, so too the advisors told Hanun to fear David and rather rebuke and rebuff David's kindness.
Why? There was no basis for trust.
While David had formed a covenant with Jonathan, there was no covenant with the former king of Ammon.
A little background on this story will help bring out the points which the Holy Spirit is revealing to us:
"Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee." (1 Samuel 11: 1)
In effect, the only reason why the dead king of Ammon was kind to David was that he opposed Saul. Furthermore, we see a kindness based on "I will so that you will."
The New Covenant is not based on what we do for God, but rather what God will do because of what Jesus has done (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
Again, no direct kindness or aid took place.
What about the names in the 2 Samuel 10 account? What can they reveal to us?
"Hanun" means "favored", and his father's name "Nahash" means "serpent" (First mention is the serpent who beguiled Adam and Eve (Genesis 3: 1)
So, we have a picture of the fall of man, in which man thought he could obtain favor through his own efforts, as the Serpent had lied to Eve.
The favor of God will mean nothing to us if we think that we are favored in what we do.
Furthermore, God's favor means nothing to us if it is dependent on something that we must do. Notice that David did not say "surely show" kindness to Hanun.
"8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
When we understand that there is not one thing we can do of ourselves, we can fully receive the grace of God.
No wonder we find at this verse at the end of the previous chapter:
"13So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet." (2 Samuel 9: 13)