In my last installment of this blog, we learned that God chose Saul as the king. Saul started out well but later on we know that God regretted that he had made Saul king because Saul had “turned away” from him and had not carried out his instructions. As I was reading through 1 Samuel, one more thought caught my attention. It is a lesson that perhaps is sometimes overlooked, and that is the lesson we can learn about being a friend to someone as demonstrated in the friendship of David and Jonathan.
As we read in 1 Samuel 18:1-4, we see that Jonathan (Saul’s son) was faithful and loyal and loved David as himself. Truly, David had a real friend in Jonathan. God knew that David needed a faithful friend to encourage him and help him in the tough times. Intimate friends are rare or uncommon in one’s life. You may only have a few faithful friends in your lifetime. The Bible has many references about why we need friends. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 talks about how a good friend can help the other up. What a great friend Jonathan was to David, no pettiness, no envy, no jealousy. After all, Jonathan, as Saul’s son could have been the heir to the throne. He could have desired the praise from the people, yet his friendship to David was more important.
Real friends are willing to take great risks for each other. We see this in 1 Samuel 19:4 when Jonathan defended David to his father, Saul. Jonathan defended his friend, and he also rebuked his father for his attitude toward David. An intimate friend won’t talk against you behind your back.
Another important thing we see is how their great friendship included God. We see this in 1 Samuel 23:16 as Jonathan encourages David in the Lord. A true friend is not only loyal, but encourages you to grow in your relationship with the Lord. On the other hand, you should question the friendship of anyone that tries to dissuade you from following God. That is not what a true friend should do.
Another thing I noticed is how awesome it is when a friend is willing to share our burdens like we are called to do in Galatians 6:2. Jonathan was that guy. He encouraged David by saying something uplifting or just by listening. We need to try to remember that. Sometimes when our friend is hurting, we can be there for them. As a good friend, you don’t bail.
Often a close friend is someone that you don’t need to implore for a favor. Jonathan was that kind of friend. In 1 Samuel 18:4, we read that Jonathan gave David his robe, armor (including his sword and his bow), and his belt. He wanted to give David something that was meaningful to him. He wasn’t miserly with him but knew what he needed and responded willingly. Jonathan was a true friend with his possessions but also told David in 1 Samuel 20:4 that he would do whatever David asked. That’s a true, intimate friend that doesn’t keep score, but is willing to assist whenever and in whatever way is needed.
How about you? Do you have an intimate, true friend? Are you a true friend to someone else? Think about the friends that God has placed in your life and don’t miss out on having a friendship like Jonathan and David.