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David and Jonathan

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

1 Samuel 18:1
David and Jonathan Book Cover

a covenant friend

Have you ever received a friendship bracelet as a young girl? This tiny band of embroidery floss and beads symbolized unity, loyalty, and love. In today’s lesson, we are going to see how loyalty and love existed between David and Jonathan.

What is “covenant friendship”? Is this type of loyal love still a possibility today? A covenant is a legal agreement that formally binds two parties. It implies intention, promise, and a guarantee. Do we approach earthly friendships with that kind of intensity? Do we see the need to commit on that level? Today’s passage holds principles that inspire us to rethink the way that we view friendships. We will see how two friends loved well, in spite of competition and conflict, and explore what it means to have friendships that bring glory to God and withstand earthly challenges.

In 1 Samuel 18, we read about Israel’s messy monarchy. Saul is the current king of Israel; Jonathan is Saul’s son. David, who God anointed as king in 1 Samuel 16, has just struck down the Philistine giant, Goliath. Despite the odds, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (18:1).

tight knit

It is almost as if God’s hand wrote the DNA of this friendship. The Hebrew word for “knit” is qashar. It means to bind or cleave together. This word is also used throughout Scripture to mean “knot” or “tie together.” Jonathan and David had a deep and abiding love for the Lord, and that love fueled their friendship. The overflow of their own relationship with God manifested in the friendship they built together.

Is the love of the Lord the foundation upon which our friendships are built? If not, what are they built upon?

Jonathan made a covenant with David. To seal it, Jonathan removed his royal robe, all of his armor, his own weapon, and presented them to David. This may seem strange, but it was very culturally significant. Jonathan was the rightful prince and heir to Saul’s throne. Shedding his royal trappings signified his abdication of his role. He was saying to David “Indeed, you are God’s anointed.”

Good friends see our God-given gifts and support us in pursuing them according to God’s will. To be a good friend, we get to shed the defenses and privileges that prop up our will over God’s. In 1 Samuel 18, Jonathan was the rightful heir to the throne, but he recognized God’s will for David and bowed to that will. Philippians 2:3–4 says that in humility, we should consider others more significant than ourselves. This doesn’t mean we should be doormats; it means our friendships should model the love of Jesus, who shed His heavenly defenses and invited us into His transformative love.

We likely won’t be shedding armor or abdicating royal rights. However, we must ask ourselves what we guard most fiercely, and what we refuse to yield. For most of us, time is something we hoard for ourselves. Are we willing to be interrupted, to stop what we are doing, and meet the practical needs of those God has put in our paths, even if it’s sometimes inconvenient? Friendships are not only for our benefit, they are for others and the glory of God. As we continue to explore the purpose of friendships and the practical ways to carry them out, let’s ask ourselves: “Am I a committed friend?”


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Daily Question

Is God calling you toward a greater level of service or sacrifice in a particular friendship?

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Comments (6)

I think God is calling me toward a higher level of sacrifice for certain friendships that I have placed at a certain distance for some time now. I have a deep fear of being hurt because of my past and so I find that whenever I start to get really close with someone other than my husband or family, I get uncomfortable. I start coming up with ideas of this person being out to get me or being the wrong type of person to be around. I find that I will get excited and start opening up and then all of sudden wake up and feel funny….nervous…that I may be doing this too soon or too fast or too much and that this person is going to hurt. Then I put my walls up. This is frustrating because the past is having a negative effect on my current friendships. I realize I do not have to have super close friendships with all my friends, but I would like to have the courage to let people in more and let my guards down more to those who deserve ….because I deserve it as well. I just need to be smart about it. Some friendships are not the easiest and can be challenging at times or uncomfortable. Instead of running from those situations and friends, I need to work through them to a certain degree in order for both parties to both benefit once we get to the other side.

I feel like God is calling me to a greater level of service to be an even better friend by using my experiences to help my friend walk through her journey of hospice with her dad. I’m not sure what that looks like but I am waiting on God to show me.

I’m sure it’s all intertwined, but I have been feeling a call towards showing up and prioritizing friendships. I had drifted from three of my closest friends in college – Egzona, Elmine, and Jess. Some of that was due to the busyness of life. Some of that was due to distance with half of us living on different continents. Some of that was due to minor conflict that was left unresolved at the end of our college years. The three of us have been through a lot together and shared a lot together and these are friendships worth preserving. Recently, we started putting time together on the schedule to talk and to watch movies over Zoom. It’s a commitment to set the time aside, and it’s a commitment to schedule the time and make sure too much time doesn’t pass. It’s a commitment to share openly and honestly how we’re doing. I just hope that God does something special through this friendship

I believe God is calling me toward a greater level of service. I believe it’s prayer. I feel as though I want to be a great
prayer warrior. I feel as though I fall short. I know it’s so much more to prayer then talking to Jesus. I’m learning as
I spend time with God. I know I must be open to learn about the unkno

I feel god is calling me towards a greater level of service in many things in my life. To me I hold friendship dear to my heart. I am open and honest with many people. I am learning to figure out the difference between,people who I are my real friends and people who are not. I like to help people and so I think that those people are my friends.Some might be but not all of them are. As for sacrifice if it is something that my friend needs or wants. I will give it to them.

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