A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
1 Samuel 20 describes how Jonathan, who just could not believe his father really meant to kill David, stuck by David’s side and learned of his father’s murderous intentions. David was expected to attend the three-day Festival of the New Moon with the king at his table. But he didn’t dare because Saul was determined to kill him. Although Jonathan was naïve to his father’s state of mind, he remembered his covenant to David and the LORD and remained steadfastly loyal to him. He was certain David was wrong and wanted to prove it to him. David was certain Jonathan was wrong and wanted him to understand how dangerous Saul had become. Verses 1-4 read,
Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” 3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”
The two hatched a plan. If Saul asked about David’s absence from the festival, Jonathan would tell his father that David was in Bethlehem to sacrifice. If Saul reacted angrily, Jonathan would know he wanted to kill David, if not then David would be safe.
Well of course, Saul was angry and this time his anger was directed at Jonathan as well as David since he understood the deep bond they had. He realized Jonathan had no plans of ever being Israel’s king because he was happy to let David take the role, the LORD had anointed him to take. Verses 30-34 describe it.
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.
Saul knew in his heart that the LORD had chosen David to be his successor but he was resolute in making sure it was his family line that continued on Israel’s throne. Once Jonathan understood it, he was all the more devoted to David and went to tell David that he was right and Saul wanted him dead. He had seen Saul’s true nature when his father said such horrible things to him. He had seen David’s true nature throughout. David had never sinned against Saul. They said goodbye to one another knowing it would be a long time before they might see one another again, if ever. Verses 41-42 read,
And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.
Jonathan and David’s bond, their friendship was based on God. He was between them and would forever be what united them. Though at times they doubted one another, they always came back to faith in each other because it was God between them and He is Steadfast, Faithful, and True.
When your relationships include God, you can trust the relationship and you will know that it is an eternal one. The relationships you have with fellow believers, ones where you intentionally include your Lord are powerful. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 in The Message reads,
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
11 Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
12 By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Real friendships strengthen you, support you and keep you protected from enemy attacks. Deliberately inviting Jesus into the relationships makes them even more wonderful. Jesus told us,
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:18-20).
When we walk this walk together with Jesus, the Holy Spirit works even more within us. He is able to work through each of us to edify all of us. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us,
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
And 1 Thessalonians 5:8-24 says this,
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Believer, Jesus calls you His friend but you were not meant to be friends with Him alone. You have brothers and sisters in Christ to commune with as well. There is a world of lost people who need to interact with you, to have a relationship with you so they will know Jesus. In John 15:12-17 Jesus gave us this encouragement and commandment,
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
What does it mean that Jesus is our friend? We’re in on God’s will. He tells us what his plan is. But there is more! Job 16:18-22 in The Message describes Jesus this way,
“O Earth, don’t cover up the wrong done to me!
Don’t muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name--
My Champion, my Friend,
while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.
“Only a few years are left
before I set out on the road of no return.”
David was a man after God’s own heart and he had a profound friendship with Jonathan. If we are to be men and women after God’s own heart, then we too must have those relationships. We can’t do all God’s will if we are walking a solitary walk.