1/3 REAL COMMITMENT
I was overwhelmed when I listened to the NLT version of 1 Samuel today. (Yes go listen to audio bibles on your Bible app or via online here) The friendship between Jonathan and David left me in tears.
In life, we have probably have had countless acquaintances, many friends, but how many do we consider our close friend? Or “best” friend.
Everybody needs that friend whom you can share your hopes and dreams with. The one who will encourage you in pursuing those dreams yet rebuke you when you are going down the wrong path. A friend who is there not only through the good times, but also the bad—through thick and thin. Someone who will stand by you (and maybe for you) when the world is against you.
It is true that the test of trials simply reveal a true friendship. It is easy because you rarely find that. The busy life of the modern society has left little time for interaction but more for “self-discovering” or in other words “me time”. Friendship sometimes may seem like a chore. Often asking how a person is, bothering about their daily routines and little joys they share; friendship seems like a mundane task of always pestering someone and insisting on being in that person’s life, just to show you care. And more importantly that you are there when they need you. Rare? Indeed. It is undoubtedly true that friends may come and go, but to have a lifelong, close, personal friendship is truly a great blessing.
Many years ago, a beautiful friendship was formed between two of the most unlikely men of their society:
Jonathan was a prince
A prince of Israel’s very first King. Destined to rule in the event of his father’s death – he had everything he wanted. He could meet anybody he wanted and chose his friends from the most valiant of princes. People of status and wealth. Jonathan was aware of the blessings he would receive if his father was obedient. Yet, he remained the God-fearing, bold, determined man that he was. A mighty warrior himself, Jonathan relied on God and trusted in His strength. For instance when he and his armour bearer were instructed, they both went up against twenty Philistines. This inspired courage in his father and the army which led to a victorious battle.
David was a shepherd
The youngest of the family, David was left to tend the sheep. He was a gifted musician, a wise and prudent warrior and also very good looking. But David too was destined for the throne. He was married to Saul’s daughter Michal and this made him a prince and Jonathan his brother-in-law. Saul knew that if David was not taken care of Jonathan would never be king.
Despite their differences, “(ESV) the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (ERV) He would not let David go back home to his father. After David finished talking with Saul, Jonathan developed a strong friendship with David.” Jonathan realized that they shared much in common in the areas of courage, bravery, strength, loyalty, trust and faith in God. They had an instant liking.
David and Jonathan
Jonathan was willing to forego his throne for David. He loved David so much he disobeyed his father to save David’s life. Often he would warn him before any trouble could befall on David. He would travel to see David and ensure that his loyalty was made known to David. Jonathan even made a pact: (1 Samuel 20:14-16, NLT) “And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!”” By saying this, Jonathan knew that David’s enemy was his own father – King Saul. Yet he made this pact with David. He even tried to reason with his father and defended David’s innocence. Due to life-threatening circumstances David had to run for his live. Nevertheless from then on, they were separated but their friendship stood till the end.
Wow. There is much to learn from the friendship of Jonathan and David. They were both princes of Israel, one by birth, the other by marriage. Both were in line to assume the throne of Israel. Both were mighty men of valor and were respected and trusted by the men they led in battle. Each had accomplished great feats, relying on God for victory. They were zealous, driven, resourceful, courageous, bold, meek, humble and so much more. They knew and respected government, wielded authority, and served those under and over them. They were loyal to one another and to their king. David would never lay a hand on Saul even though he was given the chance to. He revered God’s choice of appointing him as the first King of Israel.
In todays context, they could have been enemies and rivals, yet they set aside jealousy, resentment, bitterness, competition and lust for power (A THRONE HEY), choosing instead to become the closest of friends. They knew how and when to laugh, cry, show their emotions, share hopes and dreams together, thereby cementing their friendship forever. They were real men, who understood what it meant to lay down their lives for one another.
Wow, have you ever thought of dying for a friend? Even today, giving a lift, sacrificing precious time, going out of your way for a friend seems like a monumental task. What more to say dying for a friend? No exaggeration but sometimes I feel like people really take their friendships for granted. Selfish as we humans are we rarely prioritise anyone other than ourselves. Everything must have a benefit – even our friends. Really? Just because he’ll be a worthy connection for future businesses? Because she can help do your assignments. Because you need him to explain to you that formulae you didn’t really understand.
Seriously… how fake can we get? Sadly I’ve seen it. Heard of it.
How blessed are we if we ever are privileged enough to have just a small part of David and Jonathan’s friendship. So much to think.
Got me thinking too – what kind of friend am I?
Articles referred to: RCG, FERVR