Wednesday, 30 September 2009


I Samuel 20:1-42

You have probably met and known many different people in your life. Most of them may simply be acquaintances, while others you might consider friends. Of these, there may only be a few that you would consider close friends.
Then, perhaps, there is that one person who is as close to you as a brother or sister. In Proverbs 18:24 declares... “But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”, someone in whom you can confide and trust, and with whom you can share your hopes and dreams. A friend who is there not only through the good times, but also the bad—through thick and thin—someone who won’t desert you when the going gets tough.
A true friendship that stands the test of trials and time is rare. Friends may come and go, but to have a lifelong, close personal friendship is truly a great blessing. I have two wild friends that I have known for 24 years. They are both married and have children but we still keep in touch. We are always there for one another and we care about each other so much, no matter what. There is one more person I would call a friend and that is my husband. I would say they are the best friends I have known in my life who helped shaped my world and life. They encouraged me and strengthen me in my times of need by laughing it off... kind of. I have done the same for them and I am blessed that God has given me such wonderful women of God and a lovely husband whom I am married to for nearly 21 years. We (my girl friends) live apart, from each other, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Singapore respectively but we call each other from time to time and pick up from where we stopped our last conversation.

The story of Jonathan (means the Lord has given) and David (means beloved) is the story of one such friendship. As you read about this friendship, you will find that they shared much in common. There were also things that could have easily destroyed their bond, but instead, they made it stronger.
Jonathan, prince and son of Saul, was the heir apparent to the throne of Israel. He was destined to rule after the death of his father. Jonathan was well aware of this and the promises God would have made to his father had Saul been faithful. He was a young man of courage, strength, and determination who looked to and relied on God. He was a mighty soldier in his own right—highly respected and trusted by the men he led. These character traits were clearly evidenced when Jonathan fought against a garrison of Philistine soldiers with only his armour bearer by his side. Trusting in God, he slew 20 Philistines in a half acre area of land (1Samuel 14: 1-23).
On the other hand David was the youngest son of Jesse. He was a shepherd boy that rescued his sheep from a lion and bear by killing them. He also played harp which he may have learned during his free time. It was the playing of this instrument that gave him favour with King Saul. The soothing music that David skilfully played refreshed and calmed Saul’s troubled spirit. This moved the king to bestow upon him the great honour of being his armour bearer. After David killed Goliath, King Saul gave him his daughter Michal as his wife. Therefore David became the prince of Israel and a brother in-law to Jonathan.
David grew in stature and respect among the army and the people of Israel. Saul’s love and favour towards David turned into bitterness, resentment and hate. Saul became determined to murder him, since he knew that David would replace him on the throne. This also meant that Jonathan would never be king.
David’s courage and bravery in killing Goliath has affected Jonathan deeply; he was moved to love David as much as his own life. He realised that they shared much in common in the areas of courage, bravery, strength, loyalty, trust and faith in God. From that day forward, they were the best of friends. Jonathan was moved to the point of giving David some of his treasured items: His robe, sword, bow and belt, and even his armour
Many times, he interceded for David, warning him that his father was seeking to take his life. Jonathan urged his father not to do this, saying, “Let not the king sin against his servant, David; because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good towards you: For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel: you saw it, and did rejoice: why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause” (1Samuel 19:4-5).
He even risked his life by travelling a great distance to see David in hiding, knowing that his father surely had spies watching every move. And he did this knowing that David would ascend to the throne in his place. Understanding that he must decrease while David increased, he pledged to stand loyally beside him.
Think how easy it would have been for Jonathan to go along with his father’s plotting, giving in to carnal nature and lust for power. It would have been easy for him to fall into the same attitudes as Saul, to have a bitter state of mind, saying, “It’s not fair, God! Why should I be punished just because my father messed up?” Instead, he not only accepted God’s decision, he became best friends with the man whom his own human nature would have considered his rival! In all of this, he showed great loyalty not only to David but also to God and His will. In a way, Jonathan showed loyalty to his father as well, preventing him from committing a terrible murder.
In the same manner David also showed great loyalty to Saul and Jonathan. As many times as Jonathan and David were alone, it would have been very easy for David to give in to his human nature and kill a potential rival. Even when presented with the opportunity to sneak up on Saul (the very one trying to murder him) and kill him, David restrained himself. David well remembered the covenant made with his best friend, recalling the words Jonathan spoke:
“And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I die not: But also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever: no, not when the LORD has cut off the enemies of David everyone from the face of the earth” (1 Samuel 20:14-15)
Even though David had been anointed king, he still showed great respect toward Jonathan—even to the point of bowing before him three times. So great was his love that, upon the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death, he composed a song of lamentation called the Song of the Bow, and instructed that it be taught to the children of Judah. What a wonderful tribute to true friendship, when so many would have rejoiced at the death of rivals. (2 Samuel 1:17-27)
Even after the death of Jonathan, David kept his promise to show kindness to his friend. He searched out Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who was lame and provided for him the rest of his life. As a final act of love and respect, David brought the bones of King Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh Gilead and buried them in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father (2 Samuel 21:12-14). In this way David honoured God’s anointed king, Saul, and recognised the loyal, unselfish love of his friend.
Much can be learned from the friendship of Jonathan and David. They were both princes of Israel, one by birth, the other by marriage. They were both in line to assume the throne of Israel. Both were mighty men of valour, and were respected and trusted by the men they led in battle. Each had accomplished great exploits, relying on God for victory. They were fervent, driven, resourceful, courageous, bold, meek and humble. They knew and respected government and authority and served those under and over them. They were loyal to one another and to their king.
They could have been enemies and rivals, yet they set aside jealousy, resentment, bitterness, competition and lust for power, choosing instead to become the closest of friends. They knew how and when to laugh together, cry and show their emotions together, sharing hopes and dreams, thereby cementing their friendship forever. They were real men, able to show the true, proper and right love of a brotherly friendship, willing to lay down their lives for one another. So great was their friendship that at one of their partings, “they kissed one another, and wept one with another, but David more so” (1Samuel 20:41)
How rare this kind of friendship is in the world today!
Yet, YOU can have this kind of friendship with God and Christ. Recall Christ’s words to His disciples: “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:13 -15)
The record of David and Jonathan’s friendship has been preserved in the Bible for our benefit. It pictures the close relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ. They desire that same close, personal relationship with every human being.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.