A Heart for God: David.
A Faithful Friend
Readings: 1Sam18:1-4 & 20:12-17, John 13:34-35, 1John3:16-18
Sermon: Sun 4th October 2015
Setting the scene:
The friendship between David and Jonathan is one of the most significant, moving and tragic relationships in the scriptures. It has come to represent a depth of loyalty and true friendship across the centuries. In some respects it is an unlikely friendship (especially in our context of first loyalties being to the nuclear family) as David nurtures a deep and lasting friendship with the Son of the King that he deposes. David’s success is a direct threat to Jonathan who as son of the King is also his heir. But somehow the friendship grows and lasts throughout all of the military and political intrigues and challenges that it faces.
In the Hebrew Mishnah the love that Jonathan and David had for one another is praised and held up as an example:
‘ “Whenever love depends on some selfish end, when the end passes away, the love passes away; but if it does not depend on some selfish end, it will never pass away. Which love depended on a selfish end? This was the love of Amnon and Tamar. And which did not depend on a selfish end? This was the love of David and Jonathan.’
Friendship brings privileges and responsibilities.
You can also learn about someone by finding out who their friends are.
As Jesus taught in John 15:13-15, the greatest honour that we can receive is to be called a friend of God by God.
Many are blessed to have ‘best friends’. Describe the character traits that you look for/expect in a best friend.
A) Understanding David:
Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 20:12-17
(see Helpful Hints)
1. Describe the friendship that Jonathan and David shared - what was it built on?
2. How does this passage reveal Jonathan to be faithful to the Lord through his commitment to David?
3. What are the parallels between Jonathan and Jesus?
B) Learning from David
1. How does the story of Jonathan’s love for David inspire us to grow in love for our brothers and sisters in Christ? (see John 13:34-35 and 1 John 3:16-18)
2. Jonathan’s commitment to David is empowered by his relationship with the Lord. In John 13 and 1 John 3, Jesus and John connect our love for one another with the love that God has for us.
a) How might someone evaluate your relationship with the Lord based on your care and love for fellow believers?
b) Having prayerfully considered this, where and how might your relationship with Jesus need to grow?
3. The covenant that Jonathan made with David is a shadow of the commitment
that Jesus made to us.
a) When might it sometimes be difficult for us to fully receive that Christ has made a covenant with us?
b) In what ways can we train our hearts to trust that Jesus’ love for us is unconditional, personal, good, sovereign and constant?
C) Praying with David
Re-read John 13:34-35. Ask God to show you one person who He is calling you to
share His love with, and how you might demonstrate this in practical ways.
Who is God calling you to be a Jonathan to?
Pray together Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians that you know the richness of Christ’s
love (Ephesians 3:14-21).
A) Understanding David:
1. The friendship of David & Jonathan – at least on Jonathan’s part - is
characterized by four features (see overleaf). Fundamentally, their friendship that is built on love. In this context, we are to understand their love as ‘philia’ love (i.e. brotherly) and also, ‘agape’ (unconditional selflessness) love. It is not sexual love. It is a misuse of scripture to read in things due to our socio-cultural understanding of the world today. The relationship of David and Jonathan has echoes of 1 Corinthians 13 and tells us that men can enjoy deep plutonic relationships.
Four features of their friendship:
a. Admiration – Jonathan respects David as a warrior. It would have been understandable if Jonathan, who was courageous himself, had been jealous but he wasn’t.
b. Humility – Jonathan is heir to his father’s (Saul) throne. He could have viewed David as a potential threat to his accession but he does not. When Saul (1 Samuel 20:30-34) pointed out to Jonathan that David will prevent him rising to power, Jonathan is more concerned about Saul’s’ appalling behavior towards David. For Jonathan, relationships appear to be of greater importance than personal success or power.
c. Generosity – The gifts (1 Samuel 1 18:4) that Jonathan gives David are symbolic and precious. Jonathan is a royal prince and the things he gives to David denote his status. His voluntarily act of generosity reveals the depth of his commitment to David and many suggest, is also a prophetic act in which he “hands the throne” to David who is God’s anointed.
d. Commitment – the gifts (see above) and the covenant that Jonathan makes with David reveal their commitment to each other and to God.