David and Jonathan were polar opposites: David was a giant-slayer who played the harp and tended sheep. Jonathan was the coveted prince and extensively trained in battle. The interesting twist to their friendship is that David was anointed to be King of the very throne Jonathan was supposed to inherit. Still, this unlikely pair became the epitome of what friendship should look like.
Their journey to friendship began not long after David slew Goliath. I’m sure this young warrior who could calm his father’s internal demons with the strings of a harp intrigued Jonathan. While either of them had reason to be envious of the other, instead they wholeheartedly supported and challenged each other until Jonathan’s untimely death. While reading of their journey three things stood out to me:
Friendship is Commitment: 1 Samuel 18:1-4 tells us that this pair valued each other so much that a covenant was made to seal their friendship. Even after Jonathan’s death, David continued to honor and love his friend through the raising of his son and through his writing.
Friendship is Loyalty: Proverbs 17:7 teaches us that, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” I think it goes without saying that David and Jonathan dealt with adversity in their friendship. They were in-laws, their lives were threatened over the friendship, they were both headed for the same throne, and then there was the issue of Jonathan’s father attempting to kill David, repeatedly. Still, the two remained closer than brothers.
Friendship is Selfless: John 15:13 is the ultimate instruction for friendship. It reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This pair made many sacrifices for each other in the name of their friendship. They practiced loving each other as they loved themselves, which we know is one of the greatest commandments.
Choose to be like David and Jonathan. Don’t be a fair-weather friend. I’m sure you know exactly what that means. It’s a so-called friend who bails on you as soon as something bad happens. These people are great friends as long as nothing gets complicated or sticky. Usually, this type of friendship is one-way. As long as you do things they want to do or agree with them, everything is fine. But the minute you speak up, cross them, or try being your own person, that friend fades faster than the sun at dusk.
As we see by the example David and Jonathan have set for us, being loyal means being supportive, being ready to assist, and to encourage - even when things are complicated and sticky. That’s why commitment, loyalty, and selflessness are so essential in any friendship. David and Jonathan’s friendship was characterized by these qualities even in the midst of adversity. They loved and encouraged each other in the Lord. They stood together through tough times like a set of identical stone bookends. They met as young men and warriors, and our last glimpse of their faithful friendship is of David mourning Jonathan’s death. Theirs was a to-the-end-no-matter-what friendship. You can read about their friendship in 1 Samuel 20:14-17.
How does your loyalty rate as a friend? Are you “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)?
Lord Jesus, thank You for the example of friendship between David and Jonathan. Thank You for being my closest friend. I know how good it feels to have a friend like You. I want to reflect Your heart and be a Jesus kind of friend to others. Help me be open and available to others who need Your help through me. Amen.
RENEWING RESOURCESGrowing as a man after God's own heart happens one step at a time. Bestselling author Jim George shares quick, focused devotions that will enable you to make every step count. />Learn more about the A Man After God's Own Heart Devotional by Jim George.
Ask God to look into your heart. Pray for an approachable spirit that will reflect the heart of Jesus.
Loyalty in others starts with you being loyal.