Summary: The marks of a godly friendship is wholehearted commitment, unwavering support and spiritual encouragement.
How many friends do we really need in life? Two hundreds, or just two.
• When we go through our most difficult moments, how many friends do we need by our side? Twenty, or two? (Just got to know that I’ve 226 friends on FB.)
• How many of our friends today are merely acquaintances? How many of them are close - close enough to know what’s going on in our lives?
I know of someone who had gone through a very rough patch, and is still struggling today. He went into drugs, started drinking and stealing, got caught and was imprisoned. He lost his job.
After serving a short time in prison, he was released back to serve the remaining of his sentence from home. He has to observe strict curfew. Trying to get settle down in a job. Nothing much have changed actually. He’s still struggling with his addiction and many other problems.
On his Facebook recently (which was revived after this long hiatus), I saw something that makes my heart feels heavy. It was his birthday and within a short time, >50 friends greeted him on his timeline – happy birthday, blessed birthday, may all your wishes come true…
I felt sad actually. How many of these friends really know what he has been through? How many of them knows what he really needs and how to help him?
This is a sad state of reality but true. Many are in the same place today. They have many friends but feeling very lonely. No one understands them.
• The real need is not the scores of friends that LIKED you, but the one or two whom you can confide with and who knows the deepest secrets of your heart.
• They know your fears and your pains. And they can bring you back to God and help you find strength in God.
Prov 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
• The Lord provided such a friend for David. Let’s read 1 Sam 23:15-18
15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 "Don't be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this." 18 The two of them made a covenant before the LORD. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.
David needs such a friend. God knows and He provides.
• Jonathan played a critical role in David’s life. I want to take a quick glance of their FRIENDSHIP from the beginning, starting in 1 Sam 18:1-4.
18:1 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.
They are ONE IN SPIRIT. ESV: “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David…”
• David had just returned from fighting Goliath. Jonathan can identify with him.
• He himself is also a brave warrior. In 1 Sam 14 we saw how he attacked the Philistine outpost with his armour-bearer.
• They both trusted God to fight the Philistines. They had the same spirit and determination. Same passion to honour God and defend Israel.
Jonathan made a COVENANT with David because he loved him as himself (18:3).
• The author mentioned this TWICE (verse 1 and 3). He loves David.
• Jonathan gave David his robe, his tunic, his sword, his bow and his belt. It’s the robe of the crown prince, the next in line to the throne, but Jonathan gave it.
• He did not see David as his RIVAL (to his throne) but a FRIEND he cares about.
The author highlights this COVENANT they made - 3 times on the 3 occasions they met in 1 Sam 18, 20 and 23. (1 Sam 19 they conversed but not sure they met.)
• They “made a covenant” (1 Sam 18:3, 20:16 and 23:18). Not 3 different covenants but reaffirming the same one they made.
• 1 Sam 20:17 “And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.” That’s the depth of their friendship.