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Summary: David & Jonathan illustrate key traits of friendship. But this is more than a how-to lesson on friendship. Their friendship reflects the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. (A) The characteristics of friendship (B) The failures of earthly friendship

Text: 1 Samuel 20:12-17

Theme: Friendship Excelling in Love: A Case Study of Jonathan and David

A. The characteristics of friendship

B. The failures of earthly friendship

Season: Easter 5c

Date: May 2, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts with the love of Jesus is 1 Samuel 20.

"Jonathan said to David, "By the LORD, the God of Israel, I will search out my father in three day's time as to whether he intends good for David. If not, then I will send to you and tell you. May the LORD deal harshly with Jonathan and even worse if my father wants to harm you and I do not tell you and send you away so that you go in safety. May the LORD be with you as he used to be with my father. As long as I yet live, show me the LORD's loving-kindness so that I don't die. And do not ever cut off your loving-kindness from my house, not even when the LORD cuts off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth."

"Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David that the LORD punish David's enemies. And Jonathan again had David swear by his love to him, because he loved him as he loved himself. " (1 Samuel 20:12-17)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A thread by itself. One pull and it snaps. But twist two threads together, now it's much harder to break it. "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12), Solomon writes.

Friendship takes many forms, from casual acquaintance to bosom buddy, from those whom you see just about every day to the long-distance friend whom you might only get together with once a year, if that. Maybe your best friend is your husband or wife, your brother or sister, your school mate from years ago or your partner at work. Let's learn about friendship as we watch the friendship of Jonathan and David. Their friendship excelled in love.

A. The characteristics of friendship

1. Tell the story of Jonathan and David.

Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul, King of Israel. He appeared to be next in line for the throne. As an able soldier, he defended his father's kingdom. For example, the Philistines had been harassing the Israelites and raiding their territory. To make matters worse, the Philistines had a monopoly on blacksmithing. The Israelites would pay them to sharpen their farming tools, and the Philistines made sure that there where not many swords or spears in the hands of the Israelites. In fact, only King Saul and his son Jonathan had them (1 Samuel 13:17-22). Although their numbers were small, Jonathan trusted a sign from the Lord, and with only his armor-bearer he attacked a Philistine outpost. He knew that the Lord could save by many or by few. In that first attack the two of them killed twenty Philistines. That started a panic among them -- a panic sent by God. King Saul and the rest of the Israelites pursued in victory (1 Samuel 14:6-23). That's Jonathan for you.

The Philistines eventually regrouped. This time they brought a giant along, Goliath. You know well how David trusted the Lord. So even though he was too young to be a soldier and only had his sling and some stones, he went against Goliath saying, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head . . . for the battle is the LORD's" (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV). With one stone from the sling, Goliath was down and David finished him off with Goliath's own sword. That day Jonathan and David became one in spirit, and Saul took David into his service.

David led campaigns, and the Lord gave him success. The people loved him and sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands" (1 Samuel 18:7 NIV). But Saul became jealous and fearful of David. He even tried to pin David to the wall with his javelin (1 Samuel 18:5-16). For you see, the Lord had said he was taking the kingdom away from Saul's family because of his disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22, 23), and it seemed that they Lord was giving it to David (1 Samuel 16:12, 13).

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