Today’s reading: I Samuel 18-20.
Reading the account of Jonathan and David’s friendship, one can’t help but wonder what kind of king Jonathan would have been. His loyalty and integrity were undeniable. His selflessness was outstanding. His courage was battle-proven. Unfortunately, his father’s disobedience and faithlessness removed any chance Jonathan had of becoming king. Jonathan knew it, and he still remained faithful to his friend, David. He demonstrated that friendship can be greater than kinship.
Saul’s hatred for David grows greater as Saul falls further away from the LORD. At first Jonathan doubts that his father wants David dead. But when put to the test, Jonathan learns that David is right and that David must leave if he is to survive. The two friends have to say goodbye.
“May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family–not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD call David’s enemies to account.” And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. I Samuel 20:13-17
Jonathan and David modeled a friendship that is an example to all of us, giving us a flesh and blood example of the proverb which says, “there is a friend that is closer than a brother.”
- They showed mutual respect for each other.
- They based their devotion on the character of their friend.
- Jonathan remained loyal to David even though David was considered an enemy of his father.
- Jonathan remained faithful to David even though it endangered himself.
- They kept their words confidential when their friend’s welfare required it.
- They would sacrifice personally for the sake of their friend.
As Jesus said, “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.” Jonathan and David shared that kind of powerful friendship, greater than any family tie. Their devotion showed that, even in a nation built on families, there could be a greater relationship based on love.
Image by Celestine Chua on Flickr, CC by 2.0