In scripture, about halfway between Abraham and Jesus you’ll read about King David. This week the Bible reading plan enters into the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel. This is a book where we’ll see many of the successes of David, and we’ll also see many of his struggles too. You may be able to relate to him in any area or two along the way. 

 

In 1 Samuel David is introduced to Jonathan, someone who became his best friend. He happened to be the son of King Saul, the same King who sought to eliminate David from the face of the earth. At the very beginning of 2 Samuel, David learns that Saul was no longer. He had been killed. At that same time, he learned about the death of his dear friend Jonathan too. As you can imagine, David was really shaken up about this shocking news. 

Despite the fact that Saul tried killing David on more than one occasion, David still mourned and had deep respect for the office of the King. One author put it this way, “it takes courage to lay aside hatred and hurt and to respect the positive side of another person, especially any enemy.” That’s what David did. 

At that same time, he deeply mourned his fallen friend, Jonathan. He and Jonathan formed an instant connection when they met. Has that ever happened in your world? With some people, it seems like there can be instant friendship at times. This is what David and Jonathan experienced.

I wonder if it was their friendship that helped David hang on in the toughest of times. When he was abandoned and left alone hiding out in the caves, when his children were usurping his authority, when his life was hitting the bottom, he knew there was a friend out there that stood closer than a brother, in Jonathan. This shocking news that we read about in 2 Samuel chapter one, rattled David immediately. 

Upon hearing this news regarding his dear friend, David may have reflected on the time when Jonathan gave him his robe, his armor, his sword, and his belt. Recognizing that God was calling David to be King, Jonathan demonstrated real humility during that time. He was saying, “David, when I look at you I see a King, God’s anointed. And every time you wear my robe, and every time you hold my sword, I want you to rem,eber what I see in you, and what God sees in you.” Can you imagine how that must have impacted him? Having a friend like Jonathan was absolutely priceless to David. 

Their dream of David being King, and Jonathan sitting on his right and being second in the country would never come true. David went on to live a long life… without his friend. How often did he pull out the sword that Jonathan gave him, or the royal robe when he felt all alone, because I have a hunch that David felt alone quite often. How often did he think about his dear friend after a great victory, or when he was suffering the consequences from his sin? How often did David think about his dear friend, Jonathan?  

I do know this: Jonathan stayed on David’s mind for a long time. Later in life, King David one time asked, “Is there any one in Saul’s house that I can show kindness to for Jonathan’s sake?” He found Jonathan’s disabled son, sat him at his own table, and treated him as his own son. Every time David looked at that boy he remembered his friend, and their covenant of friendship that nothing could break. 

With all of that being said, let me get practical for a minute, and ask you this: Do you have a friendship like David had with Jonathan? Do you have a life-giving friend who helps you pay attention to God and His way? I can tell you from personal experience that it doesn’t just happen, and it also usually takes a fair amount of time. I can also tell you that it’s worth it. 

In order for a friendship like that to happen you really do have to open yourself up to it. If you’re in a small group, is there someone in your group that you really seem to connect with? If you’re not currently in a group, is it something you’d consider these days? Availability is one of the keys. 

Another key element in developing a real friendship is “prayerability.” I don’t think that’s a real word, but you probably know what I mean. Jesus, before selecting the people that eventually became closest to Him, spent time alone in prayer. It doesn’t mean that it will happen right away. There have been times in my life when I would consider myself “the friendless American male.” There have been other seasons much different than that. If you are hoping for a friend, or closer friendships, I’d suggest that you begin asking the Lord for that person to come into your life. 

One practical step could involve taking a little relational risk. It’s when you move beyond polite conversation. Perhaps you’d even be willing to share an area of struggle in your life. If so, then see how he/she responds. Do they listen well? Do they show empathy? Are they wise in their response to you? Can they keep confidences?

Here’s something to remember. If you’re willing to go deeper in a friendship like David did with Jonathan, then you can count on experiencing a broken heart once in a while. People will let you down. People are not perfect. However, if you don’t allow people in your life on a deeper level, it’s much more difficult to maintain a tender heart. It might be a safe place to live, but it can be so much better. 

Jonathan was a great warrior. He was heir to the throne. He would have probably made an outstanding King. But more than wanting to be the King, he wanted to be a friend. In God’s Kingdom, that’s called greatness. More than Jonathan wanted to be called King, he wanted to be called Friend. What do you want to be called?  

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About the Author: Steve Larson
After working in the marketplace for a number of years, Steve Larson, along with his family, moved to North Carolina to plant a new church. Over the next 15 years, the Larsons were involved in seeing several dozen new churches planted, including 2|42. It’s been 25 years since that move happened, and thousands of people have been reached for Christ by those churches. Steve currently serves on the staff at 2|42 Community Church and has a great interest in “making heaven crowded.”

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