Summary: We need to be and have Christian friends who sacrifice, and encourage us in the Lord.
What are two of the most popular comedies in syndication (reruns) on television right now? Seinfeld and Friends. Why do these shows continue to be so popular even after the show has ended? Is it because they are so well written and funny? Well probably. But it is interesting that they share something in common, both shows revolve around the friendships of a small group of people. Maybe I’m reading more into the show than it deserves, but I believe the reason the show maintains its popularity is not only because of its humor but because it connects with people’s deeper desire, the desire to connect with another person or person’s who will stick with us, who will be there for us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. In other words, a friend. Deep down, whether we realize it or not, we have a need for friendships. God has wired us to need real meaningful relationships with himself first, and with other people. But God hasn’t just wired us to need just any kind of friendship because most of us have friends. The kind of friend God wants us to have is a friend like Jonathan, who demonstrates what a true friendship is like.
We continue in our summer series on “Lessons from the Life of David” with the extraordinary friendship between David and Jonathan. Prior to our passages this morning, the boy David had just killed the Philistine giant Goliath and was brought before King Saul. In our first verse this morning, David had just finished talking with Saul about his victory, and for the first time it mentions the friendship between David and King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Although David and Jonathan probably already knew each other because David had served in Saul’s court, there is no indication that prior to this occasion they had become friends. The passage doesn’t explain how they met, over what occasion, or how they first became friends. It just tells us that “Jonathan’s soul became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. The imagery is of tying two cords together. The same word is used by God in his instructing the Israelites to bind His word upon their forehead and their hands. If we apply that concept to the knitting together of David’s and Jonathan’s souls it is a picture of an inseparable bond between friends.
In verse 3, it goes on to say that Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him. A covenant is an like a promise, however it differs from a promise in that it is never meant to be broken, like a marriage vow, or like God’s covenant he made with Abraham and Moses, the eternal promises God made. The Bible doesn’t tell us what the covenant David and Jonathan made, but I can imagine it is like the covenant childhood friends share together, a covenant to be friends forever.
1. A True Friend is Willing to Sacrifice
After Jonathan made a covenant with David, he demonstrated his commitment to friendship with David by giving him things which were very personal to him. In 18:4 it says: