In Proverbs 17:17 we read that, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
David and Jonathan are a perfect picture of Proverbs 17:17. Through many circumstances that have been discussed in the past chapters of 1 Samuel, we see that David and Jonathan have a very close relationship. In our chapter today of 1 Samuel 20, we read about the adversity that David is facing and how his friend Jonathan is there for him. This story teaches us much about meaningful friendship, but as always, it more importantly points us to the gospel.
In the first verse of this chapter David confided in his friend Jonathan. He poured out his heart that was full of frustration. He says, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?” Sometimes, we need a friend to pour our our soul to. Someone who will just listen, not judge. Someone who will not tell anyone else what we are saying.
We continue to read in chapter 20 about a plan that Jonathan comes up with to reveal his father’s plans toward David. David was going to skip dinner with the king to go be with his family. If the king was ok with him being gone, then everything was fine and David was not in trouble with the king. But if Jonathan told King Saul that David was visiting his family and the king became angry, then they would know that the king wanted David dead. But David worried about Jonathan’s safety, that King Saul would turn on him as well. Jonathan and David made a covenant (an agreement). In three days after Jonathan knew the answer about King Saul and David, he would shoot three arrows near a certain rock. If he told his servant boy that the arrows were near, then all was well with David. If Jonathan told the boy that the arrows were beyond, then David would know to flee for his life. Jonathan soon learned that the King was furious with David. So, on the third day, Jonathan shot his arrows and announced that they were beyond the boy. When the boy was sent away, David appeared to Jonathan out of hiding. They hugged and wept. Jonathan told David to go in peace and to remember their covenant between them. Jonathan said to David in verse 42, “Go in peace, for we have a sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’”
Jonathan and David were real men who understood what it meant to lay down their lives for one another. How rare is this kind of friendship in the world today! But we can have this kind of friendship with God and Christ. In John 15:13-15 Jesus says to His disciples, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his mater’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
This record of David and Jonathan’s friendship in the Bible is for our benefit. It pictures the close relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ. They desire the same close, personal relationship with every human being. Yes, Jesus is our Savior, and Yes, Jesus is our Lord. But He is also our friend. And that reminds us of the love He has for us. It reminds us of the personal relationship He has with us. It personalizes the gospel for us. Jesus is our friend. Even the great demonstration of David and Jonathan’s friendship pales in comparison to Jesus’ perfect friendship with us. Jesus is the friend who will never fail. He is the friend who will always be there. The friend who loves and cares for us.
Is Jesus your friend??
Also read Psalm 21