Here are some thoughts on friendship based on passages of Scripture about David and Jonathon. I found some documents that got “lost” in my computer, and I originally wrote these for a class. It was an OT class, and there was a series of questions to answer – some on academic issues, and others more applicational.
- A true friend is willing to make a commitment to their friend. In I Samuel 18:1-4, after David had fought Goliath, Jonathan was connected to David in a special way of the heart and loved him as his own soul. In verse 3, we see that Jonathan made a definite commitment to David by making a covenant with him.
- A true friend is willing to intercede to protect their friend, even if their intercession could bring them personal loss. Multiple examples of this can be seen as Jonathan took risks to protect David from Saul who wanted to take David’s life. An example would be I Samuel 19:1-10 where Jonathan warns David to run and hide until the next morning because Saul had instructed Jonathan and his servants to kill David. One was not supposed to disobey the king’s orders. Jonathan spoke to his father Saul and reminded him of David’s accomplishments for Israel, and was able to get Saul to change his mind (for the time being) and not take David’s life.
- A true friend offers words of encouragement in a time of need. When David was on the run from Saul, and hiding in the wilderness of Ziph in I Samuel 23, Jonathan came to David and strengthened or encouraged him (verses 16-18). Jonathan told David not to fear, and expressed confidence that David would be king over Israel.
- A true friend is willing to be in the shadows, or be second. Remember that Saul was king, and Jonathan was Saul’s son, and he had special privileges as a result. Jonathan could have been bitter about his father’s failing kingship, and his loss of opportunity to be king himself one day – yet this was not the case. Jonathan fully supported David as the future king, and was willing to be eclipsed by him.
- A true friend keeps their promises and honors a previous commitment. Jonathan did not forget that he made a covenant with David in I Samuel 18:1-4. Words can be easy to say, but to do what you say is another thing entirely. Jonathan proved the sincerity of his heart by faithfully keeping the covenant he made with David.
While I didn’t use the word loyalty in the post, Jonathan was a tremendously loyal friend. I like personality tests and such, and the results always describe me as a deeply loyal person. It is somehow innate or natural for me to be loyal, so I can’t take any credit for it – as it seems to be a part of my makeup. Because it is normal for me, I expect loyalty from others. Yet, I have found throughout my life, that loyalty does not seem to be a common trait – at all. I’ve experienced little loyalty. But I don’t want to be overly cynical, hopefully just honest, and it got me thinking of a previous post entitled: Remember the forgotten, and keep friendships in repair. Please keep your friendships in repair…and contemplate the idea of loyalty.