Summary: Love is the context for intimacy. Commitment is the promise of intimacy, and trust is the anchor and precondition for intimacy.
When I was young, I like to go to the bookstore’s cards section and browse the cards.
• I like to read the words – especially cards for the different occasions like graduation, wedding, sympathy, love or friendships.
• The words are beautiful and well-thought out. But I like them particularly so because the words are able to express the feelings of our heart in ways we cannot.
• Especially those on friendship. Here is one I like, by an English novelist and poet in the 19th Century – Dinah Maria Craik, in “A Life for a Life” (1859)
Oh! The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.
Oh, the comfort—the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
How often do you have this feeling when you’re in a group? Where you are able to share whatever that’s on your heart without the fear of being laughed at or judged, or misunderstood or rejected.
• Do you have a friendship like that? Besides Jesus, I mean.
• If we are called to be like Christ, then such a friendship is possible and it is something we need to cultivate.
• David and Jonathan in the OT model such a friendship.
1 Sam 18:1-4 “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.”
David had just killed the Philistine enemy Goliath (1 Sam 17). He was honoured by King Saul and was invited to stay in the King’s court.
• That provided an opportunity for King Saul’s son Jonathan to meet up with David and they became very close friends, the Bible says.
• What caused it, we do not know. It might have started with Jonathan’s admiration for David’s courage and faith in God at the battlefield. And they were probably about the same age (because he was able to wear Jonathan’s robe, tunic, and belt.) They must have spent lots of time together in the Kings’ Court.
• Whatever the reasons, the writer made it plain to us right from the beginning that Jonathan loved David as himself. LOVE IS THE CONTEXT FOR INTIMACY.
1 Sam 18:5-9 “Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well. 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands."
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”
Taking on more responsibilities, David proved himself to be the greater warrior.
• That pushed Saul to the edge. He was angry and jealous. His leadership was threatened. His throne was at stake.
• The rest of the story records the sad account of Saul’s many attempts at killing David. Jonathan the son, loved David but his father Saul wanted him dead.
• Despite being sandwiched in between, Jonathan continued to trust David and did not betray his friend’s trust in him. He kept his covenant with David.
• COMMITMENT IS THE PROMISE OF INTIMACY. You are as close as you want it.
As it turned out, the friendship weathered the worse of storms.
• In fact, it would seem that God prepared Jonathan to stand by David in these dark moments of his life.
• Their friendship was firmly anchored upon trust. TRUST IS THE ANCHOR FOR INTIMACY.
• David trusted Jonathan, even though his father was the one trying to kill him.
• Jonathan trusted David, even though his succession to the throne will be shattered, by this very friend.