10 October 2013

Finding Friends Worth Keeping (David and Jonathan, Day 10)

We heard all about Saul, his troops, the way they wouldn't face the giant who defied their God.  We hear David's firm testimony, both to fearful Saul and proud Goliath.  But in the story of David and Goliath, the Bible gets just about to the end when there's a chapter break, cutting off from the victory stories the last blessing and perhaps most lasting gift of the event.
It's Jonathan.
We haven't heard anything about him through all the story of Goliath, yet when we read without stopping through the end of 1 Samuel 17 and into the beginning of 1 Samuel 18, the Bible's spotlight finally shines on Jonathan.
"And it came to pass, when he [David] had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."  1 Samuel 18:1  Three times throughout the story, the Bible uses this same description of Jonathan's love for David--he loves him as his own soul.
You've heard about friends who would give you the shirt off their backs, so to speak, right?  Well, Jonathan may have been the first friend to actually do it.  He and David make a covenant of friendship, and his robe, sword, armor, and all go to David.  Emblems and equipment of the prince of the kingdom, given to the man who would eventually take the throne.

Jonathan remains loyal to David, even saving his life, and David honors Jonathan when he takes the throne by providing for Jonathan's descendants.  Jonathan's friendship is selfless in a special way, because he knows David will eventually take his place in line for the throne.

When they must say goodbye for the safety of David's life, both men--both who have been so strong in battle that we can hardly imagine anyone of their strength today--weep bitterly.

Finally, it's Jonathan who pulls himself together, reminding them both they have the Lord to trust, telling David to go in peace committing everything to God.

And don't you think that's what Jesus designed friends to be?  Strength for each other when life can't seem to get any more difficult, and joy for each other when life is at its brightest?  God's representatives to us when we need to remember He is near?

I think we could learn from the way Jonathan chose his friends.

He watched David take on Goliath in the name of the Lord, and overcome.  He saw in David a character of strong courage, and unshakable trust in God.  And since he had the same characteristics (when you get a chance, it's well worth spending some time reading all the Bible stories about Jonathan found in 1 Samuel), they made a good match.  

Jonathan didn't just choose to befriend David because his exploits in battle made him popular with the ladies (although that's exactly what happened).  He went for character.

I think we could also learn from the way Jonathan treated his friends.

He took every risk to his own life and future to be true to his friend.  He sacrificed.  He had at least one delicate and risky conversation with Saul, defending David even though he knew Saul wouldn't like it and might turn on him as well.

Jonathan didn't just support David when it was easy.  He stayed loyal, no matter what trials presented themselves.

Let's look at our friendships today.

Do we have friends in our circles who have solid character?  

I'm not going to tell you to dump any friends who aren't perfect, or who might need your support.  I am going to tell you that if most of your friends are not the kind of people you can turn to when you need support, you might want to branch out a little.  Watch quietly.  Look at character like Jonathan did.  Then love those solid friends as you love your own soul.

If you already have friends like that?  Remind them today how much they've blessed your life.  As I think over the many, many friends who have blessed my life, I am deeply and incredibly humbled.  Many of them don't even know the depth of joy and blessing they've given me, but their influence, their words, the memories I have of them have reached into my life and reminded me of what's important in ways they wouldn't have dreamed were possible.

If you have friends right now who need a friend like that?

Get creative.  Go be the blessing of Jesus to them in whatever way you can.  You never know but that your simple gestures of friendship might make all the difference.

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1 comment:

  1. This kind of friend is very hard to find- but worth gold when you do. So glad I have meant you- you are a treasure! Lisa :O)


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