Friday, November 14, 2008

A Jonathan Kind of Friend

"...behold, the LORD is between you and me forever."
1 Samuel 20:23
"Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, for we have 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.'"
1 Samuel 20:42

I have been studying 1 Samuel with with a precious Precept Ministries Bible Study Group. My heart has been moved by the quintessence of friendship exemplified through Jonathan toward David.

Beginning in 1 Samuel 13, we read of Jonathan's amazing commitment and love as a friend. We see it contrasted with Jonathan's father, Saul, who poised himself against David (to put it mildly).

My heart is saddened for Saul, who went looking for donkeys one day and returned as a king. (1 Samuel 9) Had he yielded his heart to the Lord with this position of honor and responsibility, wonderful fruit could have come forth. Had he obeyed the Word of the Lord, his legacy would have been different. Had Saul honored God, God would have honored him.

Studying this touching account of friendship in 1 Samuel, I have prayerfully purposed in my heart that I want to be a Jonathan kind of friend. By God's grace, love, Spirit and strength. God has been teaching me so much about friendship and calling me to be a better friend, a Jonathan kind of friend. He is showing me how He wants to define the kind of friend He wants me to be before Him, yet I am not to define the kind of friend others should be to me. Love, His love, is the only sure foundation.

Jonathan loved David as himself. Jonathan's relationship was founded in love.
Saul's relationship with David was rooted in jealousy and insecurity.

Jonathan obeyed the Word of the Lord, and he honored God.
Saul disobeyed the Word of the Lord, and he dishonored God.

Jonathan wanted the best for David and helped him achieve that.
Saul was envious of David and tried to kill him.

Jonathan was loyal and committed.
Saul was selfish and wanted to use David for his own benefit.

Jonathan rejoiced in the truth, and he trusted.
Saul followed his own ways. He was suspicious and not trusting.

Jonathan was a servant.
Saul wanted to be served.

Jonathan spoke well of his friend and greatly delighted in him.
Saul cast blame and tried to pin David to the wall with a spear.

Jonathan protected and defended his friend in truth.
Saul put David in harm's way, was critical of him and did not keep his word.

Jonathan was for David. Saul turned against David.

Jonathan desired peace for David. Saul intended harm toward David.

Jonathan was loyal and committed, even in the heat of battle and rough terrain.
Saul wasn't willing to go through the heat with a friend.

Jonathan made a vow of friendship before God. Jonathan revered and loved God.
Saul did not reverence God with his whole heart. He did not honor God through his relationships.

As I continue my study of these precious chapters in 1 Samuel, I am going to keep my heart before the Lord and ask Him to show me how to be more of a Jonathan kind of friend.

My heart is thankful for the Jonathans in my life. How precious is the gift of a Jonathan kind of friend. May we nourish and care for our friendships with great love and thanksgiving to God, the giver of all good things.

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." 1 Samuel 18:1-4


Chatty Kelly said...

As the child of an alcoholic & mentally ill mother, I also see that the sins of the father do not have to be passed on to the son (per se). I can be a Jonathan, even if I had a Saul for a mother.

And I love the Lord so much for encouraging me with that today.

Finding much encouragement from you with ever visit. Thank you.

Jill said...

What a beautiful post!

Our Jonathan has a heart after his namesake. We are so proud to see these very characteristics being built up in him. His heart teaches me so much about mine. God has used him to teach our family many things and we love the story of Jonathan and David - the preciousness of friendship. The same preciousness our love for God must resemble to others. That we cherish His gift of friendship to us that we walk around with it honorably!

I love what you said - I want to bring my heart before the Lord asking Him to make a Jonathan kind of friend! AMEN!

Big hugs to you!

Edie said...

Sounds like a great bible study Sharon. I have thought about Jonathan's comittment to his friendship before and always amazed. I too want to be a Jonathan kind of friend.

Edie said...

Hi Sharon - No problem about the award. I completely understand. I'm always torn between will someone not want to be included and will someone be offended if I don't include them. That's why I always leave the rules out. LOL!

Have a great weekend!

Heather said...

Sharon -

I love this post, devotional, whatever you want to call speaks to my heart. This blessed my spirit.

As I venture out into friendships that God has ordained in my life, I am ever cognizant of the power of a Jonathan friend. I pray with every fiber of my being that I am one of those friends to others and where I fall short, the Lord will show me how to fill the gap. I pray for these friends in my life and am so very grateful when the Lord directs my steps and the steps of others to me.

You are a Jonathan friend and I am so very, completely thankful for you and the faithful God you serve in all that you do.

I love you!

Melanie said...

A very meaningful post...defining friendship.

Amy L Brooke said...

Just thought I'd let you know that I mentioned/linked to you today about your son's project.

I do like this post. Jonathon type friends are so needed!

Fields of gold said...

Sharon, I love this! Thank you for your insight and for sharing. I just passed this post on to one of my dearest "Jonathans".

Blessings and big hugs,

AveryHome said...

Beautiful post! I love the way you contrasted Saul and Jonathan. I think we all strive to be that kind of friend, praise God for such a wonderful biblical example.

Fields of gold said...

Loved this in '08, love it now!! Thank you for sharing the wisdom you glean from the Lord and His Word!! Appreciate you so much. Love, Sam

V said...

This is great! I love your post and it has inspired me to go to the word and study Jonathan. He is the kind of friend I want to be. You presented it beautifully.

KELLY W said...

I agree with Vicki - I never realized this about Jonathan and now I am eager to go to the Bible and find out! Great devotion.

Caroline said...

I love Jonathan and David's relationship. Thank you for sharing on this.

These two differences are so, so important in our walks with God and really resonate with me today:

"Jonathan rejoiced in the truth, and he trusted.
Saul followed his own ways. He was suspicious and not trusting.

Jonathan was a servant.
Saul wanted to be served."

Really nice job pinpointing these characteristics!

Rachel Olsen said...

The Word of God is so rich, no matter what topic we're taking about! Sharon, I certainly see you as a Jonathan type friend. You are kind, loyal and giving ... you speak what builds others up - a real treasure!

Blessings ~ Rachel