I’ve always admired King David. Of all the Old Testament, he is my favorite character. I don’t love David just because he’s the man after God’s own heart or because he is famous. David lived a life that changed tremendously all the time. He was given opportunities that don’t come everyday. And for the most part, he kept his head. Sure, he made mistakes, but he always danced with the One that brought him. He knew who God was. Next to Jesus and maybe Moses, David knew the person of God better than anyone.
David also made friends easily. He took people at face value. He respected authority and loyalty. It is his friendship with Jonathan that gives me the most to respect him for. Let me tell you this friendship.
The first mention of Jonathan and David together is in 1 Samuel 18. The first statement made was after David had just defended the honor of Saul, Jonathan’s father, and the people of Israel by defeating Goliath. The Bible says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” We are not told if they met earlier. Even though the Bible shows David in the house of Saul earlier as a harpist, there are some Bible scholars that believe the order of these events are not chronological. That means it very well could be the first time they met.
While some skeptics accuse Jonathan and David of homosexual activity, the Bible speaks of and there is no evidence that anything of that sort went on. Truthfully, I believe it may have been the first they met. So why is Jonathan already at one in spirit with David at first glance? I’ll speculate on some reasons. First, David had just saved Jonathan’s father Saul from an embarrassing loss. The Israelites would’ve have to serve the Philistines if he had lost. Secondly, think about how daring it is to take on a giant with just a slingshot and some rocks. That’s daring, no matter how you slice it. It’s pretty darn impressive. Thirdly, that was the type of chance taker that Jonathan was. Just four chapters earlier in 1 Samuel, Jonathan takes one man with him and fights off 600 at an outpost. That’s daring too. They were cut from the same cloth, figuratively speaking. Isn’t that how some of our best friendships are formed, because we have one or two dominant traits that are similar to the other person.
Verse 2 of Chapter 18 tells us that David lived in Saul’s company from that day forward. So knowing that he spent time in and around Saul’s home, David then had time to develop that same oneness with Jonathan. At some later point, the bond became so strong that Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
I don’t know about you, but I like myself. In fact, I outright love myself. I’d give myself anything if I were able to. In the New Testament, eight times we are told to “Love our neighbor as yourself.” Five of these times, Jesus is speaking Four of those five times, Jesus lists it as the second most important commandment after “Loving God with all your mind, soul and strength.” As much as we’d like to say that we make that kind of commitment to everyone, we realistically do it with one, two or at the most very few. Jonathan made that kind of commitment to David as a friend. David would make that commitment to Jonathan as well.
Verse 4 then says that Jonathan gave David his robe, his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. You may say, well the king’s son surely has more than one each of these and while that may be true, most people don’t give things away that mean something, much less all of these. Think for a moment, the sword and bow were fighting instruments. These were important in battle. The robe, tunic and belt were probably only made for the royalty. So giving these things wasn’t just a nice gesture, they showed tremendous respect for a man that was not in the family lineage.
The very next chapter tells us that Jonathan’s father had become so jealous of David’s fame and ability, that he told Jonathan and his attendants that he wished to kill David. Jonathan’s friendship was strong. He told David what his father wanted to do and protected him. Jonathan even tried to talk sense into his father that David had not wronged Saul and was an innocent man. For the moment, Saul relented.
Jonathan then had to help David escape in the next chapter as well. He had to lie for David to protect him. So he did lie. Saul exploded. Saul then says something that bears importance in his barrage. He says to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:31, “As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established.” The Bible doesn’t even show Jonathan blinking over the statement. You know he had to think about it. If David lives, I won’t be king, ever. What it shows is the loyalty of true friendship. Look 11 verses later. Jonathan says to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” If ever there was a time to forget about friendship, Jonathan had his chance. Jonathan showed the value of true friendship. Friendship sometimes will cost you. It cost Jonathan a chance to rule Israel.
It was one of the last times that David would see Jonathan alive. The book of 2 Samuel begins with a messenger coming to tell David of Jonathan and Saul’s deaths. When David received word, he tore his clothes and mourned weeping until evening for him. He wrote a lament for the men, but then he went further than that for his friend.
In 2 Samuel Chapter 9, David asks the question if there is anyone left in the house of Saul to whom he can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. He loved his friend so much that even after Jonathan was gone, David wanted to bless him. Jonathan had one remaining child, his son Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth had a problem. He was crippled in both feet. That didn’t matter. David gave all the land that Saul’s family owned to Mephibosheth and his aide, Ziba. That wasn’t enough. David then added one more bit of graciousness. David told Mephibosheth that he would eat at the king’s table for the rest of his days. That’s love. Wouldn’t you like a friend like David? A man that would take care of your child after you are gone.
There’s only one friendship that’s even better than that though. Jesus, who came, died for our sins, and rose again to sit at the right hand of God the Father, pleads our case to allow us to sit at that table of grace when we die once, to never die again and be part of the Heavenly table. Those of us that believe in Jesus as our Saviour already have that gift today. We know that when we die, we are to sit in heaven with Jesus and enjoy a feast for eternity. If you don’t know Jesus, you can today. You can ask Jesus to be your friend.
There are countless websites that can tell you what to pray, but I personally recommend this one, http://www.allaboutgod.com/prayer-of-salvation.htm. You can go and repeat the prayer they have listed about halfway down. It doesn’t end there. Find a trusting friend and share that you gone to pray that prayer and that you would love to begin walking with Jesus daily. If you don’t feel like you have a friend to share that with, I invite you to email me here at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be joyful to hear about it and try to recommend a church in your area to share this newfound friendship in. They will be glad to have you and will talk to you to an understanding of what this means.
One last point that I would love to make today. Maybe you have that relationship with Christ, but like me are struggling to find the type of friendship that Jonathan and David had with another fellow believer. I won’t say that true friendship doesn’t take time, but I think we can pray and agree to God to please bring us these type friendships. Not just one, but in plenty. Allow us to be the kind of believer that treasures all the commandments and wants to be the blessing of loving others as ourselves. I know some days are hard as a believer, but that’s the reason God gave us the church, to develop friendships of fellowship and anxiously await on Christ’s return to take us to that table of grace.
I love you guys!