Friends

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 18:1-4 (NIV)
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

1 Samuel 18:1-4 (MSG)
By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. Saul received David into his own household that day, no more to return to the home of his father. Jonathan, out of his deep love for David, made a covenant with him. He formalized it with solemn gifts: his own royal robe and weapons—armor, sword, bow, and belt.
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“When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bonded to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took David that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword, his bow, and his belt.” -AMPLIFIED

We all need to have friends. In fact, friendship is scriptural and we will address the need for us all to have friends. It was John Donne who wrote these words back in 1624; they still apply to us today. “No man is an island, entire of itself.” -Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

After David had his great victory over the giant, Goliath, we find him reporting back to Saul. We are told that once his debriefing was over Saul’s son, Jonathan, who must have been standing near-by was deeply impressed with this young man, David. Jonathan was probably around David’s age. Scripture tells us that a bond was formed between these two young men that was very strong.

No doubt Jonathan was awed by David’s courage that day, but what truly cemented their friendship was the time that David took to speak with Jonathan’s father, Saul. We do not know exactly what was said in that meeting, but it must have impacted Jonathan immensely.

Saul was impressed, more so, by David’s audacity and courage. We are told that from that day Saul took David into his family as one of his own. (We will find that this fondness did not last.)

What we need to understand as this friendship between Jonathan and David was budding is that Jonathan loved David as he loved his very self. This was not a perverse love, as some these days would insinuate, but a righteous, brotherly love. These two young men saw something in each other that they respected and honor. They chose to encourage each other on to goodness.

Right from the start we find Jonathan taking the initiative; willing to make a covenant with David. In essence he was acknowledging that David was to become the next king of Israel and he was fine with that bit of knowledge. There was to be no jealousy in their friendship. “And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as he loved himself. He took off the robe he wore and gave it to David, and also his armor, sword, bow, and belt, symbolically transferring to David his right to ascend the throne.” -1 Samuel 18:3-4 (VOICE)

“Jonathan is willing to relinquish his right to the throne and to serve David as God’s choice for the next king. No such spirit is found in Saul. At best, Saul is excited about David because of what David can do for him. As usual (see 14:52), Saul is eager to add skilled military men to his forces. Thus, Saul promotes David to a full-time employee.” -Bob Deffinbaugh

The friendship between these two men would become a thorn in Saul’s side. For David and Jonathan though it was a blessing from God. Time and time again Jonathan was there for David when Saul had it in for David.

We all need friends in our lives. God made us with the internal, innate need for friends; being one and having some.

* “A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times.” -Proverbs 17:17 (VOICE)

* “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” -Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)

* “Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone? In the same way, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm. But how will the one who sleeps alone stay warm against the night? And if one person is vulnerable to attack, two can drive the attacker away. As the saying goes, “A rope made of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12(VOICE)

* “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” -John 15:13-15 (MSG)

I remind you that we all can have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. His name is Jesus. Also, remember that it was God who took the initiative in this friendship, “While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die. But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8 (AMP)

Thank a friend for their companionship today.

My Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the friends in my life. Thank you that you give me those who are close to me to be supportive, encouraging and helpful. Help me to be a good friend to others, I pray. Lord, most of all, thank you for being my closest friend. You are the One that I can always count on, no matter what. I can say that I am a friend of God and for that designation and distinction I feel honored and privileged.

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