Today we continue our study of the life of David as a following servant and how we can implement that into our own lives.
The topic for our study today is that A Best Friend Helps Us. In 1 Samuel we get to see how the friendship between Saul’s son Jonathan is a great help to David’s mental and physical survival.
As leaders we are often tempted to be like a lone soldier who does not need anyone. A man or woman who is a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, but as leaders it is ok to have friends who help us and who are there for us when we need them. In fact, as a leader those friends who can help us are vital for our success in being a leader long-term. If you have been a leader for any length of time I am sure you know that friends can be a great help (if you have a story of how a friend has been a great help, feel free to share it in the comments section below).
One thing that I have noticed in my own life is that who our friends are often dictate how we make it through tough times. The actions we take and who we become through tough times is often dictated by the friends we spend time with. Or, as @HollyCotterill on Twitter recently stated, “Without relationships what’s the point? Leaders are only effective to the point they are influential. Friends influence friends.” Well said Holly!
Today we are looking at David in 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-5, and all of chapter 20. In this story David has fled to be with the prophet Samuel at Naioth which is where they are living.
Several times throughout the period when David had been anointed to be king but was not king we see Saul’s son, Jonathan helping David. Here’s a few examples:
1After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.2From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home.3And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.4Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. – 1 Samuel 18:1-4
1Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David,2told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields.3I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.” 4The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could.5Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”
These are both examples of Jonathan extending his influence for David.
1 Samuel 18:1-4 shows that Jonathan identifies David as being a great warrior by giving David his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt. Many theologians believe this was a symbol of Jonathan handing over the throne and kingship to David.
Then in 1 Samuel 19:1-5 we see Jonathan stick his neck out for David to defend him and try to keep Saul from killing David. That must have been a tough thing for Jonathan to do to his father who was the king.
The main chunk of scripture we see David and Jonathan’s friendship take place is in chapter 20 of 1 Samuel which you can read here for free.
To orient us to the lesson, let’s look at a few observations from these passages where we can learn about how a best friend helps us.
- Jonathan loves David and knows that David will eventually become King. (18:3-4)
- David appears to be frustrated with Saul. (20:1)
- Even though David has been anointed to become king, he stills bows to Jonathan. (20:41)
Jonathan’s friendship is a great gift to David
In this story we clearly see that Jonathan protects David, Jonathan saves his life, and is loyal to him. Despite all of the attacks on David from Saul, Jonathan was that one person David could count on to be there with him in his corner.
The position(s) of the friendship between David and Jonathan often put Jonathan in difficult situations.
The friendship between David and Jonathan put a lot of stress on Jonathan. Their friendship drove problems into the middle of Jonathan and Saul’s relationship as father and son. Their relationship began to have so much tension that Saul throws a spear at Jonathan intending to kill him in 1 Samuel 20:33.
Leaders need a best friend who will be there for us when we need him or her
As leaders, we need a best friend who will be there for us when we need him or her. For David, that best friend was Jonathan who was there for him no matter what. Jonathan stood up for David so much that he even had a spear thrown at him and was yelled at by his own father. For you and I, our best friend might be a spouse, a close friend we have known for a long time, or it might be a mentor. Whoever it might be, we all need a best friend who will stand with us and help us.
Question: Who is your best friend?