Jonathan and David
Keys to Good Friendships—Part 3
computers and the Internet
cubicles and long work hours
become a people who are more and more isolated.
are becoming 140 character interactions rather than face-to-face
conversations. The Bible is not 140 characters. It deeply reveals the
character, thoughts, and emotions of a personal and caring God. That
is our example.
parents lived in houses with porches in the front so that they could
see their neighbors. Now we build houses with decks in the back so
that our neighbors won’t see us.
One of the
tragedies of today’s culture is a lack of genuine, committed
Camus, the existentialist and novelist, said, “I have no friends,
often it is not a question of what our friendships are like but who
they are with. We can find many who strive for friendships with the
rich, the powerful, the popular and the influential. And it becomes a
question of who we can get the most from.
boasted, “I have friends I have not even used yet.”
wants us to develop intimate, trusting relationships.
past two studies we looked at twelve keys to good friendships.
willing to be the first to open up to the other person
that not every situation will work out the way that you might have
return anger or digs right away in like manner
not judge other people.
become a pest
the difference between discernment and judgment in dealing with
you expect mercy then give mercy
defend yourself at another’s expense
force Christians to meet higher expectations
to re-mold negative traits into positive traits
are going to see in the Bible one of the best friendships ever and
how we can learn from it.
1 Samuel 18:1
soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, Jonathan loved him as
God word this verse this way? Why didn’t He just say, “Jonathan
was knit to David”? Or “Jonathan and David were very close”?
Bible the word “soul” has several senses to its meaning. In its
broadest meaning it denotes the very life and essence of a person.
When people were counted for a census, the Bible says that they were
counted as souls, that is, as persons (Exodus 1:5 and Deut. 10:22).
So, in this sense, soul means the very person himself.
refers to “My soul” as another way of referring to Himself. Thus
when God speaks of His soul He is summing up all that characterizes
God in His love, holiness, wrath, and faithfulness.
narrower sense the soul denotes man in all of his varied emotions and
inner powers. A person’s soul contains his desires and his
emotions. In the Bible the soul is said to weep (Job 30:16), to have
patience (Job 6:11), to have knowledge and understanding (Psalm
139:14), thought (1 Samuel 20:3), love (1 Samuel 18:1), and memory
(Lamentations 3:20). In today’s language we would say that the soul
is our personality or ego.
In the NT,
“soul” is often translated as “life.” So we read that Jesus
gave His soul as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28) and He laid down
His soul for His sheep (John 10:14).
So to say
that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” is to
say far more than “Jonathan was knit to David.” It means that
every part of Jonathan to his deepest emotions was intricately
intertwined and woven to every part of David. What this meant was
that they could be emotional with each other, they could share
anything with each other. And because their souls were knit or bound
together it meant that one of them could not experience their
emotions alone. The other one would surely feel and participate in
those same emotions.
of this was that Jonathan loved David with a total and uninhibited
love; he “loved him as himself.”
someone with the love that you have for your own self is the greatest
love that you can have.
a love that sacrifices. John 15:13, “Greater love has no
one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
It is a love that
looks away from self and onto others. Philippians 1:3-4, “Do
nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind
let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for
the interests of others.”
never love another person as completely as we might until we are
willing knit our souls to theirs.
of relationship is one of vulnerability. It means being willing to be
And as we
work through this study on relationships you might ask yourself
willing to share my deepest emotions with another person?
willing to be vulnerable?
willing to hold nothing back?
willing to intertwine my emotions with someone else so tightly that
I will hurt with their hurt and feel their joy when they rejoice?
willing to take my eyes off of my needs and desires so that I might
fulfill their needs and desires first?
you willing to do this with someone who is less than perfect?
are some obstacles that keep us from knitting ourselves to other
are some ways that we can overcome these obstacles?
1 Samuel 18:3-4
Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it
to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his
Of all of
the things that Jonathan could have given to David why did he give
David these items and what did they symbolize?
Robe was generally a very ornate piece of clothing oftentimes
only wore by the most wealthy and powerful people. In Ezekiel
26:16, foreign princes were often notable for their luxurious
embroidered garments. So by giving David his robe, Jonathan was
saying that my wealth and power and prestige are yours. Use them in
any way that you see fit.
of course, was used for protection. By giving David his armor
Jonathan was making himself vulnerable and, therefore, proving his
trust in David as an equally caring friend.
you have a very valuable and fragile china set. You meet someone that
you like. When that person comes over you might at first you might
give that person a small piece to hold, something like a saucer. If
they are gentle with it then the next time you might give them a more
important piece. And, with each piece, if they prove themselves to be
sensitive and caring then eventually you might entrust them with the
entire set. It is the same with our emotions. We will reveal a little
each time and see how the person cares about what we share. If they
are callous or uncaring or, even worse, a gossip then that is where
it ends. But they are sincerely interested then we will give them
more and more. We need to be people who are very careful and caring
with what other people share about themselves. If they share
something with us then even if it doesn’t matter much to us it must
matter to them and that is indeed its true value.
sword was generally a short, two-edged blade used for close in
fighting by using quick jabs and thrusts. By giving David his sword,
Jonathan was ensuring to David that he would not attack him or in any
way personally hurt or offend him when they were together.
The bow was a
long-range weapon. Oftentimes the person who was killed by an arrow
never saw the person who fired it. It was almost an anonymous attack;
the archer knew whom he was attacking but the victim never saw it
coming. So by giving David his bow, Jonathan was saying to David that
David never had to fear that Jonathan would talk about him behind his
back or slander him or gossip about him.
The belt was a
fabric, usually leather, linen or wool folded to around 5-inches in
width. In it was carried coins, knives or food. On a dusty journey or
when work was being done, the undergarment was often tucked around
13 it is used to symbolize two things: 1) usefulness and 2)
faithfulness and loyalty.
11:3 it is used to symbolize two things: 1) righteousness and 2)
So, in the
Bible, the belt did more than just hold up someone’s trousers. It
symbolized usefulness, righteousness and faithfulness.
giving David his belt, Jonathan was, in essence, telling David that
he wanted to be useful to him and that he would be faithful and loyal
picking these particular items Jonathan was telling David that
had all of Jonathan’s wealth and power for his use.
Jonathan left himself vulnerable to David and trusted him to return
Jonathan would never hurt or offend David.
Jonathan would never talk wrongly about David to others.
that David had Jonathan’s full usefulness, faithfulness, and
These are vital keys to
right relationships. And Jonathan didn’t just pledge his
friendship; he wanted to prove it and to give David confidence that
he really meant it. Jonathan didn’t just pledge generalities; he
pledged specifics. And by doing so, he told David that he was David’s
faithful and trustworthy friend.
we don’t usually carry around robes, swords, armor, bows, and large
belts. So what are some things that we can symbolically give to
1 Samuel 19:1-3
Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to
death. But Jonathan, Saul's son, greatly delighted in David. So
Jonathan told David saying, ‘Saul my father is seeking to put you
to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay
in a secret place and hide yourself. And I will go out and stand
beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my
father about you; if I find out anything, then I shall tell you.’”
“delighted” oftentimes comes with the idea of giving or wanting
to improve the other’s person’s life.
Samuel 22:20, “He [God] also brought me forth into a broad
place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
Jonathan had to take sides. There was the king, his father, who was
wealthy and powerful and from whom he could ask for and get anything.
On the other side was David who was a shepherd boy, not terribly
wealthy and who probably didn’t have much in the way of wealth or
power to give to Jonathan.
did Jonathan choose? He could have set David up, had him killed and
been the hero. Instead, he chose loyalty and friendship over
When you’re forced to
take sides, do you choose
the best looking
the most powerful?
Or do you
willing to shun the immediate reward for the sake of a friend?
willing to help someone out of a tight jam even at the possibility of
your own personal expense?
anyone have any examples of when you sacrificed a great deal to help
someone out of a jam or perhaps someone sacrificed a great deal to
help you out of a jam?
1 Samuel 19:4-5
Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, ‘Do
not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not
sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to
you. For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and
the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it
and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, by
putting David to death without a cause?’”
case, Saul was speaking ill of David.
had three choices.
could have taken the easiest route and agreed with Saul.
could have simply ignored the comments or changed the subject.
could defend David.
did Jonathan choose? He picked number three; he defended David. And
notice how he defended him.
pointed out to Saul that Saul’s attitude was wrong or potentially
wrong (“Do not let the king sin…”).
pointed out to Saul that David had done nothing wrong to him (“he
has not sinned against you”).
pointed out to Saul that David had been helpful to him (“his deeds
have been very beneficial to you”).
gave specifics to prove his points (“he took his life in his hand
and struck the Philistine…”).
David did was right (“the LORD brought about a great deliverance
for all Israel”).
kills gossip faster than turning around and speaking well of the
person. Do you not like the way that someone that you know puts down
another friend of yours? Then, the next time that it happens, say
something good about the person.
douses the hot coals of gossip better than the cool water of a good
to stand up for and defend a friend.
1 Samuel 19:6-7
Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, ‘As the
LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.’ Then Jonathan called
David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought
David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly.”
the result? Even Saul, whose heart was so filled with loathing
towards David, relented and was willing to reconcile.
worked hard to reconcile his friend to someone who hated him.
friendship does not take the attitude that rifts between two other
people are their own business and so let them fight it out. True
friendship seeks a solution and tries to bring those people together
did not say to Saul, “Well, obviously, you and David have to work
some things out. Call me when it’s over.” No, he made an effort.
He worked as a middleman or mediator.
Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator also
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
definition of a mediator “is someone who resolves or settles
differences by acting as an intermediary agent between two
what Christ did. This is what God wants us to do likewise.
5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called
sons of God.”
find yourself in the middle of a conflict
Or do you
get involved in trying to promote reconciliation? Are you willing to
be a mediator?
1 Samuel 20:1-2
David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, ‘What
have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your
father, that he is seeking my life?’ 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. So why should my father
hide this thing from me? It is not so!’”
three points to make here.
was a friend that David could share his troubles with.
able to pour his heart out to Jonathan.
able to talk to him about his confusion and his anxieties.
that Jonathan would be patient and not condemning.
the type of friend that people are able to open up to?
you be like this?
learning to patiently listen.
asking questions to draw out that person and to show that you are
truly interested in their life.
showing with your body language that you really do care. For
example, don’t look past them as they’re talking to you. Don’t
have a far off look as though you’re thinking about who’s going
to win the game this weekend.
being trustworthy with the information that they tell you; i.e.,
don’t tell this to others no matter how juicy it is.
asking them about the situation later. Perhaps it’s later that
night or the next day or next week. But follow up with the
an effort, if possible, to find some kind of solution if they come
to you with a problem. Even if that means doing nothing more than
praying with them.
didn’t use this as an excuse to start talking about himself.
shared his anxiety with Jonathan, Jonathan didn’t listen for a bit
and then use it as an excuse to share his own troubles. He didn’t
say, “Well you know what happened to me? I was sitting at the table
and my own father tried to run me threw with a spear.”
Jonathan come back with a “I know exactly what you are going
through because I…”
people share their troubles with you
see it as an opportunity to turn it around and talk about yourself.
necessarily try and relate to their situation especially if you
can’t. If someone is suffering through the tragic loss of a
relative don’t say, “You know, I can sort of relate because I
once had this goldfish that I really loved and then one day I came
home and there he was on the top of the water.”
if you can relate or if you can share something from your own life
that will help them then do so.
offer your loyalty and support.
did not use his own problems as an excuse to make Jonathan his
was adored by the multitudes.
killing Goliath he saved his nation from possible conquest by the
was being persecuted not because he did something wrong but because
of someone else’s envy and jealousy.
was being chased like a rabbit though the harsh and lifeless
wilderness while a king and his army were trying to kill him.
Can any of
us relate to this? Probably not.
we are going through far less trials do we ever have the tendency to
take out our frustrations on our close friends or relatives? I would
bet that some of you do.
never once lashed out at Jonathan.
once treated him poorly.
have the habit of kicking people who are loyal to you just because
you are frustrated then you must repent and stop that behavior.
1 Samuel 20:3
David vowed again, saying, ‘Your father knows well that I have
found favor in your sight, and he has said, “Do not let Jonathan
know this, lest he be grieved.” But truly as the LORD lives and as
your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.’”
In verse 2
Jonathan said that he thought that his father, Saul, didn’t really
want to kill David and that his attacks only occurred during his
times of madness.
knew, however, that Saul’s attacks were more than fits of temporary
insanity. He knew that Saul’s heart was first envious and then
fearful and that Saul’s solution to these feelings was to eliminate
we see that Jonathan and David’s friendship was well known. It
wasn’t hidden; it wasn’t kept in a box. It was nothing to be
shouldn’t be ashamed of our friendships either.
1 Samuel 20:4
Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you say, I will do for you.’”
was willing to do whatever it took for his friend David.
didn’t weigh the perils to his own life.
didn’t weigh out his lose of power.
his loss of riches.
off someplace and ponder, “Is this worth it?”
No, he was
2:5-7, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in
Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not
regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied
Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in
the likeness of men.”
Why did Jesus Christ empty
It was solely for the
purpose that God could have a relationship with us.
God Himself placed no
limits on the sacrifices to be made for a friendship.
are some ways that you can empty yourself for another person?
1 Samuel 20:27-29
And it came about the next
day, the second day of the new moon, that David's place was empty; so
Saul said to Jonathan his son, ‘Why has the son of Jesse not come
to the meal, either yesterday or today?’ Jonathan then answered
Saul, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, for he
said, “Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the
city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have
found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my
brothers.” For this reason he has not come to the king's table.’”
Once again we see here
where Jonathan defended David and protected him.
When our friends are being
maligned, God does not want us to be silent.
But notice that in
defending David, Jonathan did not attack Saul.
Defending one person does
not necessarily mean attacking the other.
If you are defending
someone, don’t start out with
Learn to be gracious even
in the midst of sin.
1 Samuel 20:33
Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down [“him” being
Jonathan]; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David
stuck by his friend even to his own possible hurt.
1 Samuel 20:34
Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food
on the second day of the new moon, for he was grieved over David
because his father had dishonored him.”
had deep feelings for his friend David. His was not a utilitarian
friendship. It was not one where the friendship only existed for what
they could get from each other.
friends allow themselves to feel deeply.
willing to express those emotions.
1 Samuel 20:41
the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face
to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and
wept together, but David more.”
showed humility towards his friend and he acknowledged with gratitude
all that Jonathan had done for him.
ever take your friends for granted or do you appreciate what they do
thank people for what they do for you or do you act as though they
are rendering service due to you?
are some ways that you can show gratitude towards a friend?
1 Samuel 20:42
Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to
each other in the name of the LORD, saying, “The LORD will be
between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants
forever.”’ Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into
all of the problems, they still reaffirmed their loyalty to each
wondered if their relationship was too much trouble.
willing to verbalize your loyalty to another person? Sometimes it’s
not enough just to show it. People need to hear it also.
their relationship was centered on God.
trusted that by doing right that God would bring them through the
trusted in the promises of God.
strength of their relationship was bound up in their commonality of
the things of God.
4:12, “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can
resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
is usually used in the context of marriage. But it is also true for
“him”? Many would say that this is the devil.
will have a difficult time not being deceived by the devil.
will be able resist the devil, but the implication is that it will be
difficult and that, eventually, they will be split apart.
there is the third person of God, then that union will stand strong.
strongest and most secure relationships should be with fellow
not to say that your relationships with non-Christians should be
abandoned or considered to necessarily be weak.
relationship humbly based on God should be able to stand the test of
1 Samuel 23:16-18
Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and
encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, ‘Do not be afraid,
because the hand of Saul my father shall not find you, and you will
be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father
knows that also.’ So the two of them made a covenant before the
LORD; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.”
the last meeting that Jonathan had with David.
We can see
several points here.
knew that David was potentially discouraged. David had been running
all over the wilderness hiding from Saul who was trying to kill him.
Jonathan didn’t wait for David to call him; instead, he went to
David. When you know that someone is struggling, don’t wait for
him to come to you. Even if it is inconvenient, go to him.
went to be an encouragement. He didn’t go to share in a
pity-party. He didn’t go and agree with David about how rough his
life was, “I know how hard it is David. You’re running all over
this miserable wilderness. You’re dirty. You’re hungry. You’re
tired. You have every right to be miserable.” No, he went to be an
encouragement, not to agree with his misery.
got David to look to the future; not to wallow in the present.
though Jonathan was next in line to be king he willingly
acknowledged David’s right to the throne and his own willingness
to be subservient. He exemplified Philippians 2:3, “Do
nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind
let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”
reiterated his loyalty to David.
reaffirmed that the LORD was the center of their relationship.
2 Samuel 1:26
distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant
to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women.”
David hears that Jonathan was killed.
“distressed” in the Hebrew means “to bind,” “to tie up,”
“to be restricted or cramped.”
this picture of David bent over on the ground in great sorrow.
unashamed in expressing his emotions for his friend.
love to me was more wonderful than the love of women” is a very
strange phrase to our ears. But you must remember that David had a
number of wives and a number of concubines and, as we read through
the Scriptures, we don’t seem to find him particularly attached to
any of them. Many of his marriages were for political reasons and his
wives and concubines don’t seem to show much loyalty to him. It may
be possible to say that none of them were what we would think of as
the traditional loving union between two people.
relationship to Jonathan was different. It might well have been the
most honest, intimate, and loyal relationship that David had.
he could say that Jonathan loved him more than anyone else ever did.
2 Samuel 9:1
David said, ‘Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I
may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?’”
And it was
discovered that Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth.
2 Samuel 9:9-11
the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, ‘All that
belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's
grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the
land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your
master's grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your
master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly.’ Now Ziba had
fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king,
‘According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so
your servant will do.’ So Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one
of the king's sons.”
This is a
was gone, yet David still wanted to honor his memory and to bless
those whom Jonathan would have wanted him to bless.
never forgot Jonathan.
blessed even the relatives of Jonathan in his honor.
likewise, should honor our loved ones loved ones. We should not see
them as competitors that draw away our friend or spouse’s
affections and attention. Rather, they are ones who help complement
this community or family of relationships. We all need each other.
Two people who isolate themselves from others are doomed to problems.
quickly looked at one of the greatest friendships in all of history.
some of the key characteristics of the deep friendship that Jonathan
and David had for each other?
the other’s reputation
to reconcile other broken relationships
yourself to be vulnerable
yourself to feel emotions towards that person
being ashamed of the friendship
there for that person when they are struggling
to that person
to be an encouragement to that friend
the friends and relatives of your friend
these things and more were exhibited in the relationship that
Jonathan and David had for each other.
out to find a friend,
not find one there.
I went out
to be a friend,
friends were everywhere.”
times in this series we mentioned the four levels of friendship.
will look at some practical ways of developing and strengthening
those friendships at each level.
Levels of Friendship
Based on occasional contacts
Freedom to ask general questions
involving public information
alert to the person that you are talking to. Don’t look around as
though you are trying to find someone more interesting. It was said
that John Kennedy gave such undivided attention to whomever he was
talking to, that he made that person feel like he was the most
important person in the world to him.
and remember his name.
him appropriate questions that reflect interest and acceptance.
how God has a deep interest in that person.
Levels of Friendship
on common interests, activities, and concerns
Freedom to ask specific questions,
opinions, ideas, wishes, and goals
his strong points through observation.
appropriate specific questions.
honest about yourself.
about God and what we are learning about Him.
what to pray for about him.
Levels of Friendship
Close Friendship and Fellowship
on mutual life goals
Freedom to discuss more deeply
life goals and desires
him to reach the goals in his life.
about his struggles and be there to help him when they occur.
your goals and desires with him.
freely what God is doing in each other’s lives.
Levels of Friendship
Intimate Friendship and Fellowship
on commitment to the development of each other’s character
Freedom to deeply trust each other
to be truly concerned about the other
to be a comfort and support through his trials.
him to overcome his temptations.
willing to correct him when needed.
willing to work through conflicts.
your trust of each other.
to make God a deeper part of each other’s lives.
Alex and several other people have been good friends for a number of
years. All of you have spent a lot of time together and have talked
about a lot of things. You all go to the same church and are
Christians. But then Alex starts to have some struggles. He is having
a problem at his job and that is stressing him out. He has had an
ongoing bad relationship with one of his relatives take a turn for
the worse. The result has been that Alex has gotten moody and
discouraged. He hasn’t been hanging around with the “gang” as
often. Then you notice that when Alex is not around that the others
start saying some bad things about him. They attribute some or all of
his problems to a wrong attitude in his life or possibly even as a
result of sin. You notice that when Alex is around, the others aren’t
as friendly with him. You know that some of what they say is somewhat
true but most of it isn’t.
are some practical things that you can do to try and help out Alex
with his personal situations?
will you do the next time that your friends say negative things
one of your friends says, “Alex’s always in a lousy mood. If
he’s going to act like that all of the time then he might as well
stay home.” What should you say in response?
you tell Alex what his friends have been saying about him? Why or
you ever been in a situation where some mutual friends were
maligning one of your friends? What did you do? Would you have done
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