Living for Jesus! Focus: Biblical Friendships
1 Samuel 23:15-18
David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” 18 And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1
We are going to spend the next couple of weeks looking at Living for Jesus. Today we start by looking at Biblical Friendships. People who are growing in the faith and moving on with the Lord have Biblical Friendships. Not all friendships are Biblical. Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” In other words choose your friends carefully.
Biblical Friendships are life giving, faith affirming, steadfast and loyal and always caring. Let’s look at some examples of Biblical Friendships: First I would name Abraham and Sarah, then Moses had his father-in-law Jethro and his brother Aaron. Joshua had Caleb, Ruth had Naomi and Boaz, Esther had Mordecai. In the New Testament I would name: Paul had Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and Luke, Peter had Andrew, James and John. Jesus had the seventy, and the twelve, and the inner circle of 3, (Peter, James and John). And Jesus always sent them out in twos. We need each other! You don’t need friends in the flesh. They want you to do things you used to do, go places that are filled with temptation and bad news. Given enough time they will only lead you away from the Lord.
Now one of the best examples of Biblical Friendship in the entire Bible is the amazing relationship between David and Jonathan. You know the story of David and Goliath, after David’s victory Jonathan is his biggest fan! Think about it for forty days the Giant came out taunting and challenging the army of Israel to send someone out to fight him. No one dared, until the shepherd boy David came to check on his brothers. To see his bravery and living faith in God Almighty stirred something in Jonathan’s heart. Here is our Scripture meditation: “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1 Jonathan loved David, and David loved him, closer or better than any brother!
I need to make sure you know what’s going on between King Saul and David. Saul made two major blunders that displeased God, and the Lord withdrew His favor from Saul. David has been anointed to be the next king of Israel. The Lord keeps blessing David every time he goes out to face the Philistines. At one point the army is returning to Jerusalem, and the women begin to sing that “Saul has slain his thousands; and David has slain his ten thousands!” Hearing that song, made Saul extremely jealous of David. After David killed Goliath as a reward, David married Saul’s daughter Michal. So, David lived in the palace. As his popularity grew, so did Saul’s jealousy. On two different occasions Saul tried to pin David to the wall by hurling his spear at him; both times David narrowly escaped!
Let’s get into this Biblical Friendship. Biblical Friendship holds you up when you stumble! This friendship was doomed to fail; consider: David was alone, far from home, persecuted and very needy. Would you want to be his friend? He is emotionally distraught, up and down. Jonathan isn’t perfect, he had a passive mom and an insane tyrant for a dad. Jonathan was heir to the throne, but David was anointed as the next king--how was that going to work out? Out of this adversity comes a powerful picture of Biblical Friendship.
“David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”
Jonathan was a true and faithful friend.
- Notice presence. In the midst of adversity and bigtime troubles; Jonathan rose and went to David. Jonathan was risking his own position and his life. David was alone and afraid. He was feeling the pain of false accusation. And there was no way Jonathan was going to let his friend down!
- Notice prayer. Jonathan strengthened his hand in God. He didn’t come to David to talk about the weather, or baseball, or to tell him things will get better--it will be ok! David was going through the dark night of the soul--he needed some help. The text simply says Jonathan strengthened his hand in God. It doesn’t come out and say he prayed; but I believe that is what is implied. “Look I don’t know what to say here--but let’s put this in God’s hands. Why don’t we come to the Lord in prayer!
- Notice protection. Verse 17, Jonathan knows that David is emotional, maybe a little high-strung, so he anticipates the situation and tells him, “Do not fear.” Then to reassure him and redirect his focus, he tells him, “the hand of Saul will not find him. You will be king and I will stand next to you. Look at Jonathan’s humility. You shall be king. He was born to be king--it should have been him, but he knows it will be David.
Look at the loyalty. What is better than a loyal friend? We all need friends who will protect us with fierce loyalty. If somebody begins to criticize your friend, do you listen and say nothing? Or in that moment do you stand up for them and defend them. Criticism’s only goal is to tear down! In the Church we need Biblical Friendships-- What power would be released if we would do and be what God has calls us to BE!
- Notice the promise. Verse 18, “And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord.” Friendships should be verbalized. People need to know they can count on you. You will be there for them. Notice they made a covenant. Making a covenant was very significant and meaningful in their day. In our day, sometimes we make a commitment based on who we think you are. Then when they fall short--instead of building them up and standing with them--you bail on them: “I didn’t make a commitment for this!” What is lost in that instance is power! God’s power of grace--and the power to witness to those who are watching. You have to be careful not to make commitments based on what you want people to be, or need them to be.
How many times have young couples come down the aisle--they thought they were in love; make a commitment that would last a lifetime. Then they get hurt and disillusioned when the person failed to live up to their dream image of what they wanted! Now one feels trapped in the relationship, the other person feels betrayed. Love is broken, the commitment is gone, a relationship is destroyed!
What if we aimed for A C T Absolutely Totally Committed. What does that look like?
A equals Absolutely all that I have--is yours.
T equals Totally for as long as it takes.
C equals Committed, I am committed to you!
If the church could make that kind of commitment to one another--it would be amazing! If people could make that kind of commitment and keep it, live it out--that would be a powerful force on the earth for God. We have the Holy Spirit of God and in our faith a tremendous capacity to befriend and love people; that the world does not have!
This is the power of Biblical Friendship.
The key ingredient is love. Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” You find out very quickly who your real friends are in times of trial and adversity.
Think about your relationships, do they help you Live for Jesus? Do you have people who affirm you? Build you up? People who are committed to you with deep loyalty? Do your friendships show that you are Living for Jesus? May God add his blessings to your reading and meditations.
Grace and Peace to you,