Summary: Fully following followers of God express God’s love like Jonathan did with David.
I begin this morning with a question, “Who would you call your best friend?” For some of us, it is our spouse. For others of us, a sibling is our best friend. For others, a childhood friend whom we still communicate with today holds the title of being our “best friend.”
Best friends are very important. Best friends are our confidants. They are our counselors. They are our PR persons. They back us up when others are against us.
We have spent two of the first three Sundays of 2003 looking at God’s vision for us: (Overhead 1) “A fully following and faithfully functioning church.” This month we have been looking at the first part of this vision - “fully following.” Next month, we will be looking at the second part of it - “faithfully functioning.”
So far this month we have looked at 9 people who have given us some guidelines for being fully following persons. (Overhead 2) Today we conclude our study with person number 10 - Jonathan.
A fully following church, a fully following Christian, not only incorporates these characteristics into their lives (refer to overhead 2) but underneath all of these things is a central characteristic that must be a part of a fully following church and believer’s life - love. And we see in Jonathan’s life, a love that must be a part of why and how we live a fully following life.
The story of Jonathan and David begins in I Samuel 18, continues with what would be the final contact between them in chapter 23, and tragically ends with Jonathan’s death on the battlefield in chapter 31. It is a story that covers perhaps 10 years or so. And that, I think, is important to remember because the love that God expects us to demonstrate toward others is not a short-term love but a long-term and life long one. Jonathan and David’s relationship was one that remained until death.
There are three episodes in the story of Jonathan and David we need to briefly review before we consider the why and how of love as part of being fully following persons of God.
The first episode is seen in the passage that was read a few moments ago; I Samuel 18: 1 - 4. Two things are of note: First in verse 1, we read, “There was an immediate bond of love between them and they became the best of friends.”
Have you ever had that happen to you? You met somebody and you “clicked” with him or her. You immediately liked them. You became good friends, even best friends. That’s what happened here. Jonathan and David liked each other immediately and they became “like two peas in a pod.” Where one was, the other one was close behind.
The second thing to notice occurs in verse 3 and 4. Jonathan made a vow of friendship with David and sealed the vow by giving David his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt. What does this mean? It means something of deep significance.
Jonathan was so committed to David that he gave things of great value to him. Now this does not mean that he was trying to “buy” David’s friendship. But, it does mean that Jonathan was committed to David at any cost and he sealed that commitment by giving David items that were of great value to him.
By the way, remember what happened when Saul gave his armor and weapons to David to fight Goliath? They did not fit! David could not fight Goliath with Saul’s armor because it was too big and cumbersome.
But, what about Jonathon’s items? I think that we can assume from the text, that they fit David. They became part of the tools he used to do battle for God, Israel, and Saul, in that order.
Now the second episode is found in chapter 20 where Jonathan intercedes, at great risk to his own life, on behalf of David. The chapter opens with David, running for his life from Saul, Jonathan’s father and the King of Israel, catching up to Jonathan and asking him, as we read in verse 1, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?”
Jonathan denies that his father would do such a thing and David presses him to prove otherwise. So Jonathan devises a plan that allows him to find out what Saul is planning to do and then tell David.
Well the plan is put in place and Jonathan learns, as we read in verses 30 and 31, what his father’s true intentions are - murdering David so that Jonathan becomes king. Then, as we read in verse 33, Saul hurls his spear at Jonathan, which causes Jonathan to leave in anger, find David, and tell the truth about what is going on.