Covenant Friendship

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I Samuel 18:1-7

On this day he looked more like a man than a boy. The gore of war had spattered and stained his person. Adrenaline laced fingers intwined themselves in the trophy’s scalp – a bodiless head swinging slack-jawed before the king’s throne.

David presented the head of the giant to King Saul. The king grunted his approval. The palace court humbled itself into silence. No warrior had been found to stand for Israel against the blasphemous enemy – none but a young shepherd with his sling shot and an unwavering faith in Yahweh.

From the corner of the room, King Saul’s son, Jonathan, watched and listened.

“Whose son are you, young man?” the king inquired.

Bowing his head, David replied, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

At that moment Jonathan’s heart swelled with affection. A love that only the power of Yahweh could provide burned within the young prince. Jonathan saw beyond the simple clothing and the country accent. He saw a brother in the Lord and a friendship that would endure for a lifetime.

If David could slay a seasoned warrior with a smooth river rock, what could he do with the proper equipment?

Pulling the young shepherd aside, Jonathan began to disrobe the finery he was born into. The opportunity to outfit a new hero would not be lost to the prince. Jonathan saw potential. He would play his part in shooting this champion to stardom!

Over David’s rough, wool tunic a royal robe was draped, and a fine belt was strapped. David’s heroic heart was protected by princely armor. A well-balanced sword and a finely strung bow completed the arsenal in the shepherd’s hands.

Jonathan gave David a royal outfitting. He gave his beloved friend power, protection, and a new identity.

David was a more than a man when he hit the return road home. He was a celebrity.

From every city, clogging every road, women surged forward with instruments and voice. Colorful skirts twirled in delight. Eyes sparkled with victory. Bracelets jingled on dainty wrists to the beat of the tambourines.

The contagious smiles reenergized David on this day that was for him. This day the women celebrated and sang:

                Saul has struck down his thousands,

                and David his ten thousands. 

The Blessing of Godly Friendships

God unites people together for all sorts of reasons. He places encouragers to lift us up when we’ve hit a low point. He rallies champions when we’ve lost the power to fight another minute. He brings admonishers and counselors to guide us through sticky decisions. He gifts us lovers and friends to sweeten our days with laughter and joy.

Godly friends are easily identified by their actions.

They spend time building us up instead of tearing us down. (I Thess. 5:11)

They are patient with us through difficult seasons and graciously offer forgiveness when we’ve wronged them. (Col. 3:13)

They are trustworthy in big and small ways. They will never gossip behind our back or stir our emotions against another person. (Prov. 16:23)

They show us respect and love. (Rom. 12:10)

They encourage us in all purity and peace. (I Cor. 15:33 and Ps. 133:1)

They give of themselves sacrificially. (Jn. 15:12-13)

Just as those supporting actors come onto our stage from time to time, we are also called on to read that script in someone else’s theatre production. In today’s selfie culture, it’s hard to remember that it’s not all about us. We need to give as generously as others give to us. Godly, healthy relationships should look like two-way streets – not sponges.

Pay attention to when the Spirit nudges your soul. Is there someone who could use an encouraging text message, a wholesome pot of soup, a personal job recommendation, or a friendly hug? Sometimes all it takes is a warm smile and a listening ear.

The Blessing of Christ’s Friendship

If you are claimed by Christ, you have access to a Son of the King more fabulous than Jonathan, son of King Saul.   

Just as Jonathan’s heart was knit to David’s, you have been loved before the beams of the earth were laid out by the hand of God. (Eph. 1:4) Just as David received a royal robe to cover his blood-stained shepherd’s garb, Christ the Sinless Sacrifice has washed you clean and replaced your depraved rags with the purest robe. (Rev. 7:9) Jonathan bestowed upon David weapons forged of strong metal and fine wood. Christ has conferred upon you an infallible armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. (Eph. 6:14-17)

Christ has given you power, protection, and a new identity that extends into eternity. You have been claimed by the King of Kings!

Blessings to Model

The friendship of Jonathan and David is one to be admired, studied, and imitated. They are the original Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, a better Buzz and Woody, a real-life Frodo and Sam. They helped each other survive and succeed. The listened and loved well. They promised each other a friendship in the Lord that would endure between their offspring forever. (I Sam. 20:42)

Each one of us has been given so much. We have been given gifts, talents, possessions, and personalities by our Heavenly Father. We live in a society where there is always someone who lacks the very thing we have. We are created for relationship and interdependence.

As sisters in Christ, we need to always be on the lookout for ways to boost each other up. Pray for a sensitive heart. Practice generosity. Strive to strengthen your sister – not kill your competition.

The world will try to disturb and distract us. Even our own thoughts will deceive and betray. None of us can travel this life-journey alone. We need godly friends, covenant sisters, and a holy Savior. Thank God for the “Jonathan’s” in your life and be a “Jonathan” for someone else.

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