One of the greatest stories in the Bible is that of the friendship between David and Jonathan. They were more than co-workers, Army buddies, or neighbors. They had a genuine bond that was grounded in FACT – Feelings, Action, Commitment, and Trust. Let’s look at some key points in their friendship to see what made it so special and how we can apply these to our lives.
1 Samuel 18:1-4
As soon as David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
Things to think about:
· Jonathan was the son of King Saul, David was a poor shepherd boy.
· Jonathan instantly recognized David’s character and courage. He was drawn to him and befriended this lowly pauper.
o FACT – Sometimes as men we struggle to recognize or say that we love another man. In our culture it sounds weird and yet Jonathan did not have any reservations for his feelings for David.
o FACT – they made a covenant to always be true with one another
o FACT – Jonathan gave David symbols of his princely credentials. Notice how many of these can be found in the Whole Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
§ Also note how this compares to Jesus inviting the lowly positioned (us) into His presence and bequeathing unto us His royal credentials and benefits
· The drama in the story is that Jonathan’s father is intensely jealous of David
o Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands
o David also represents a threat to Jonathan inheriting the kingdom
o FACT – in chapter 19 Saul is trying to have David killed (after unsuccessfully hurling a spear at him!) Jonathan has the courage to standby his commitment to David by challenging his father by speaking well of David to him.
§ Has someone ever defended you when it might have been unpopular to do so or come at some personal cost to them? Or have you had a chance to be that person?
· In chapter 20, things really start spiraling out of control and David is on the run. He and Jonathan meet and Jonathan assures him that he will tell David whatever plans Saul is making to kill him.
o FACT – Jonathan rises above family to do what is right.
o FACT - Jonathan asks David to reaffirm their commitment to one another, including “But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; and to not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”
§ Jonathan seemed to know that he would not outlive David and that David would one day be king. Therefore, he seeks David’s commitment to look after his family after he is gone.
§ Have you ever had the chance to “show the steadfast love of the LORD” by helping out a friend’s family maybe due to an illness, death, lack of finances, or maybe just not knowing what to do in a certain circumstance?
o FACT – Then they kissed each other and wept together – but David wept the most
§ Are you a crier? Has this changed as you have gotten older?
o The story continues with the chasing and David having two chances to kill Saul but he refrains.
o Finally, Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle and David learns of the very sad news. David mourns deeply for his lost friend.
§ Have you had a very close friend pass? What feelings welled up in you at such a time?
o It seems the story of Jonathan and David has come to an end – but not quite! Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth who was five years old when Jonathan died. Some years later, probably at least 15 years, David makes an inquiry to know if anyone from the house of Saul is still alive and he learns that the little boy is now a father, living in poverty and obscurity. He is also handicapped having injured both his feet during a long journey escaping from enemy pursuers.
§ 2 Samuel 9:6-10 we read “Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” 7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table.”
o FACT -Wow, what an amazing postscript to this great story of friendship. David, perhaps belatedly, remembered his covenant with Jonathan. He had the opportunity to now share the riches of his royalty with the pauper whose grandfather was a king.
§ Is there an old friend you can reach out to?
· If so, maybe you can let them know the example of Jonathan and David served as motivation for you.
§ Do you have a friend in a tough situation? A brother is born for adversity. How can you help?
§ As Jonathan asked of David, show the kindness of the Lord to a friend. The FACT is you will be richly blessed in return!