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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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When we journey through the life of David, we can start to see that it’s a kind of microcosm because it shows us just about every layer of life. One of the most important layers is also one of the most important features in David’s life . . . friendship. Specifically, his friendship with Jonathan.
God does His most significant work through the channel of relationships, and the relationship between David and Jonathan is certainly a testimony to this. Their friendship was one of the true turning points in David’s life. Consider all that was accomplished through it.
For starters, this friendship was pivotal in bringing David to the next stage of life that God had ordained for him. Jonathan, who was also King Saul’s son, was in the unique position to advocate for David when Saul wanted to do away with him out of jealousy.
“Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you.’”—Samuel 19:4 (NKJV)
David’s bridge of friendship with Jonathan actually enabled him to cross over into a whole new season of life. He was invited into the king’s presence, into the highest court of Israel, which was a necessary step in David fulfilling his destiny. All because his friend saw and seized the opportunity to speak out on his behalf.
Friends like Jonathan will often serve as God’s catalyst to bring us into the next season of our lives. The Lord can lead us forward in His will for our lives via friends willing to advocate on our behalf.
That next season in David’s life wasn’t an easy one, just the opposite. Saul actually tried to kill David, causing him to flee the king’s presence like a fugitive. When you live in a monarchy, where the king’s word is final, and that king wants you dead . . . you’re in a tough spot! You don’t have many people you can turn to. But Jonathan was willing to put himself at risk for his friend’s sake. Despite the danger, while David was a liability to others, Jonathan put his own interests aside in order to be there for his friend in his hour of need.
“David fled . . . and went and said to Jonathan, ‘What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?’ So Jonathan said to him, ‘By no means! You shall not die!’”—1 Samuel 20:1-2 (NKJV)
We can’t overlook how important this must have been for David, who was literally running for his life. Jonathan was an oasis of safety, a true confidant. And don’t forget, he was the very son of the man who wanted David dead!
As events unfolded, Saul’s jealousy and hatred of David only grew. He was bent on murdering him; and surely would have if not for the fact that Jonathan was keeping track of Saul’s movements. Jonathan got so close to Saul’s hate-filled heart towards David that it nearly killed him!
“Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David.”—1 Samuel 20:33 (NKJV)
With his father’s intentions towards his friend clear, Jonathan did what a good friend would do, he warned David. Through a pre-arranged plan, the difficult message was delivered to David that he would have to run far away until the situation changed.
Undoubtedly, this was a very difficult thing for Jonathan to do. Who wouldn’t be tempted to white-wash the situation in hopes of keeping a good friend close by. But Jonathan knew better and did better. He accepted the responsibility of being his friend’s protector. He let go of David in the short term in order to protect him in the long term.
Advocate, confidant, protector. Who wouldn’t want someone to be each of these for them? We all want someone who can speak favorably for us, to be there when we are at our very lowest, and to cover our back when we need to be protected.
Friendship is what makes this a reality. If you have a friend like Jonathan, you understand and appreciate this. You know they’re a gift whose value can never be calculated. And they would be among the very last things you would ever let go of in this life.
However, I know that many reading this don’t have that kind of connection with someone else. Maybe your story is filled with rejection from others, or perhaps you’ve never seen a healthy friendship modeled for you, leaving you clueless on how to even be a friend. Reading about David and Jonathan seems more like fantasy than reality. Don’t lose heart! God has something great in store for you.
First of all, in case you haven’t heard or maybe you’ve forgotten, the Lord is your friend! Remember what He said to His disciples the night before He went to the cross . . .
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”—John 15:15 (NKJV)
All who follow Christ are included in this promise! Jesus extends His personal friendship to everyone. No matter what, regardless of how lonely you may feel in life, if you belong to Christ you have an Advocate, you have a Confidant, and you have a Protector who is perfect in every possible way! He will never fall short or leave you hanging. He stands ready and eager to be there for you in any and every way that you could ever need.
Which leads us to the next thought. If you don’t have an earthly friend like Jonathan, the Lord will provide that for you. He wants that for you, and He will add that to your life.
But here’s one last thing we can learn from David and Jonathan’s friendship. It didn’t revolve around the things of this world. The Lord was the One who connected them. We continually see that they were linked by their common love and pursuit of God.
“Indeed the Lord be between you and me forever.”—1 Samuel 20:23 (NKJV)
When we follow that example, when we seek God first, an interesting thing happens. We find that there are others alongside of us who are doing the same thing. We aren’t alone any longer, and it becomes easy to build relational bridges with people close to you. Jesus is the common connector, just like for David and Jonathan.
If you know what it’s like to have a friend like Jonathan in your life, take a moment right now to thank God for blessing you with them. But if you don’t, remember that you have a perfect friend in Jesus, and as you continue to make Him your primary pursuit in life you’ll also find the best friendships that this world has to offer.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.