There is one fascinating story in the Bible, I don’t think I have paid so much attention to it as I did presently. It’s something we are all familiar with, the story of David, Jonathan and Saul.
In what became overbearing jealousy, bitterness and anger against David for stealing his shine, Saul became a sworn enemy of David, making every move to take the life of David. Mind you, he wasn’t doing this under the influence of an evil spirit which supposedly takes possession of him on a temporal basis. In fact, one of his attempt of killing David was when David was ministering with music, the same music that usually guarantees him deliverance.
David and Jonathan were very good friends, they were so much emotionally attached that the Bible likens their love for each other as that which a man has for a woman. Both were loyal to their friendship even though Jonathan had every reason to side his father.
David was a threat to the throne, not just against Saul but against his lineage of which Jonathan was the supposed heir. For Jonathan to leave all of this to side David tells a lot. Maintaining the friendship meant trading his office as the heir. While Jonathan tried reconciling both to no avail, he refused to be enlisted as David’s enemy but rather warned David of Saul’s anger causing David to go into hiding and stay protected.
I am not so sure this is what many people would have chosen to do, I am not sure a lot of people would rather trade the throne and risk getting the wrath of their father just for the sake of a friendship. Saul may have also been fighting for his son, he may have been trying to secure the throne for his son but his son was rather ready to stand on the Lord’s side even if it meant losing precious things.
Jonathan and David entered a covenant of friendship and this covenant was worth more than the throne for Jonathan. In C.S Lewis’s The Four Love, he wrote
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art … It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
There were lots of things that are remarkable about their friendship. Speaking from a point of the flesh, Jonathan had more advantages over David. Jonathan was a prince, David was a shepherd boy. While Jonathan grew up in the King’s Palace living the life many would have envied, David came from a lowly background being the last born and the one who takes care of the sheep. Jonathan had his experience in the palace but David had his experience in the Bush.
David was a threat to the future of Jonathan and his dreams, David was winning the heart of the people much more than his father, how much more him? But Jonathan never felt insecure, he never felt threatened. His first impression of David was amazing and the Bible records
“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” 1 Samuel 18:1
Jonathan was a spiritual man, he wasn’t seeing what mere eyes could see, he saw just what God was seeing in David, there was a spark in the Spirit that created a spiritual connection between them. You can tamper with physical bonds but never spiritual bonds. Jonathan was a man majorly led by the Spirit, else he wouldn’t have seen what he saw in David. Even Samuel didn’t see it, it only took God’s voice for Samuel to anoint David. The siblings of David and Saul inclusive had doubts when David made a move to fight Goliath but Jonathan, at first sight, was able to recognise the Spirit in David.
In one of Jonathan’s move when he entered a covenant with David, he handed his robe, armour and weapons to David, he became bare and vulnerable before David which was done out of trust.
Jonathan made a statement that moved me emotionally, he said to David in 1 Samuel 23:17
“Don’t be afraid, my father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”
Look at that! Jonathan saw a king in David and wasn’t willing to fight it even when his father was. This brings me to my point.
Don’t fight whom God has appointed, instead establish yourself in their hearts. If you were due for a certain position and you eventually met someone who in all sincerity has been gifted by God for that position, give a hand of friendship instead of signing up for war.
While Saul wanted to enlist Jonathan into the enemy camp against David, Jonathan played him. The lessons are just too many to mention but never let anyone sign you up into the enemy camp against someone because you may be fighting God and his will!
Here are a few notes to take away:
- Jonathan was able to discern the manner of man David was and build a friendship on that revelation.
There are people you just shouldn’t let go, there are people you ought to be friends with. They may be threats to your position in the future, but you must accept whom God has made them so that you can have your own peace. There are friendships whose bond are spiritual.
- It’s okay to leave the throne for another if that is the will of God.
Greatness is not tied to a position, it is tied to purpose. We all cannot be kings but we all can be great. Although much wasn’t said about Jonathan, we do know that Jonathan fulfilled purpose and was used by God to protect David through whom Jesus would come many generations later. We can’t tell the story of David without telling the story of Jonathan. When you recognise your David, be willing to stop eyeing the throne and start working with them.
- Your father’s enemy must not be your enemy.
This may be a hard saying but sometimes we run into an error when we think our father’s enemy is our enemy. Sometimes, we are designed to become mediators between our father and his enemy. Jonathan served as a mediator between the two, he refused to be used by his father against David. It’s not every one of your father’s fight you should jump into. Recognise your role in life and start playing it. Sometimes, your father’s hatred for someone isn’t justified, you don’t have to follow your father into that error. While wisdom demands you maintain decorum and honour for your father, you also don’t jump into their fights.
- Let no one enlist you into the enemy camp of another.
Saul tried using Jonathan against David but Jonathan was tough meat that appeared rather soft. Instead of fighting his father’s supposed enemy, he was protecting him. Not everyone who is brought into a position that was supposed to be yours is an enemy of progress. Make the transition smooth for them by extending a hand of friendship and working with them. When your eyes are on purpose, you see less of yourself and see more of what needs to be done. If God has chosen someone for a purpose many looked up to you for, decide in your heart to also chose that person.
- Recognise the king in your David.
If you were Jonathan, would you have taken advantage of your friendship with David to demoralize him, to discourage him from fulfilling God’s purpose? Would you have called him ambitious and power-hungry? Jonathan recognised the king in David even as the crown prince of Israel by every standard. He didn’t just recognise the king in David, he affirmed it by saying “You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”
- Our friends don’t have to necessarily match our status, our pedigrees, our class, our achievements and so on.
David and Jonathan were two different classes of people judging by human standard but they didn’t see those labels, they looked beyond human judgements and connected from the place of the Spirit. So many of us couldn’t build covenant relationships with people simply because we thought they were too high or too low for us.
- There is always a price for any genuine friendship.
We are in an age where the first thing that comes to mind when we think of friendship is social media. Social media is good, the internet is a blessing and the advantage is numerous to mention but beyond the social media, it is worth it to build genuine friendships, friendships where we can be vulnerable and yet not afraid, friendship where we don’t care about the other person’s background but about purpose. If you happen to build genuine friendship, never trade it for anything and let no one instigate you against another even if it is your father.
- God can raise allies in the most unlikely places.
Who would have thought that an ally of David in the situation where he found himself would be the son of his very own sworn enemy?
You see, it doesn’t matter who is against you, God can raise allies for you from the least expected places. They just behold you and feel a spiritual connection, you may not even be an amazing sight to behold, you may not have the kind of power they have and there may be nothing about you that would have been too wonderful to attract them but they just connect to you and stand with you.
Have you learnt anything? Let us know in the comment section.