When people talk about friendships in the Bible, they usually think of David and Jonathan, and with good reason. Not long after David defeated Goliath, the two had an opportunity to live under Saul’s roof together and become very close. Many things about their relationship demonstrate exactly what real friendship is all about.
In 1 Samuel 18-20, we get to see three different kinds of relationships exemplified by how three different people relate to David. These three “levels” of relating to others show themselves all around us every single day…
- Selfless relationships are exemplified in how Jonathan relates to David, never once being jealous of David’s success, but rather recognizing him as someone whom God has chosen to use in a special way. Some scholars even say that when Jonathan removed his own armor and passed it on to David, he was going so far as to transfer the inheritance of his throne over to David. Either way, competition was replaced by true and real companionship. They were “knit” together for life.
- Selfish relationships are exemplified by Saul, who becomes very jealous and envious of David. He even tries to kill him for fear that David is such strong competition for his throne. Saul was tormented by his own selfishness, and rather than mentor David as a young leader, he sought to eliminate him. It was a very dysfunctional kind of relationship and if we’re not careful, we will relate to others this way – seeking only what others might do for us.
- Superficial relationships are exemplified by Michal. She “fell in love” with David and Saul seized upon her infatuation as an opportunity to try to get David killed. Then when David really needed her to defend him, she failed to come through. When Saul was hunting David down, Michal helped him escape his house and even bought him time by using a false idol as a sort of mannequin to stall the soldiers who waited to kill him. But then she told them that David had threatened her life. This was essentially a deal with David that said, “I’ll help you escape, but that’s it, we’re through.”
There are two huge applications of these relationships to our lives…
We Need to Be a Friend Like Jonathan
Everybody around us needs a friend like Jonathan. We live in a very selfish and superficial world, so its extremely meaningful when we’re willing to be selfless and generous toward others.
Jesus Is a Friend Like Jonathan
Jonathan took off his armor and placed it on David. Jesus takes His robe of righteousness and clothes us in it that we might stand before the Father as blameless as He someday. And Jesus sticks by us no matter what.
In fact, Jesus was so selfless that He took upon Himself the guilt and penalty of our sins and died in our place. He wants us adopted into the family of God forever by the forgiveness of our sins. All we must do is trust Him as our Savior, placing our faith in Him, believing that He died for us and rose again.
photo credit: Tábata – Happy Batatinha