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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 3: Jonathan – Friend Of David


1 Samuel 18:1-4 & 19:1-7.

Friend Of David

In a fast-paced self-centred world where we are all just trying to survive, relationships seem to become the last thing on our minds. There is enough pressure trying to hold down a job, cover the mortgage and credit card payments without trying to meet other people’s needs or seek their friendship.

Who was responsible for promoting the concept that the leader, employer, supervisor or even pastor should make sure they don’t get too friendly with their peers, subordinates or congregation – you should develop an air of independence and aloofness so as to maintain your position. That is totally erroneous and just reveals a lack of wholesome self-esteem.

The reality is we were created for relationship. The Bible tells us that God created Eve to satisfy Adam’s loneliness.

We all need relationships – first with our Creator God and then with other humans. Our spouse should be our best friend after Jesus. We also need friends of our own gender.

Jonathan was a very interesting person. The firstborn son of Saul and thus the heir to the throne. He was the Prince of Israel. Through his military exploits and unmistakable valour he had become the obvious successor to King Saul. He had everything that was going for him.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, a young shepherd boy arrives on the scene and steals all the limelight. Yet, instead of becoming jealous and vindictive like his father, Jonathan befriends the youngster.

David had been catapulted onto centre stage through the arrogance and mocking of the Philistine champion – Goliath – who had taunted Israel everyday for six weeks. Saul and his entire army shivered in fear and hid in their tents.

When David arrived with provisions for his brothers and heard the taunts of Goliath, he evidently heard something most of the others missed. David recognised the mocking of the God of Israel and instinctively knew that Goliath was as good as dead – and the rest, as they say, is history.

However, upon his success David came to the notice of both Saul and Jonathan. Saul was jealous, whereas Jonathan recognised David as a man of God, someone with whom he had a kindred spirit. He saw in David that wonderful trait – someone who knows and loves God and is obedient to Him regardless of the cost to himself.

Jonathan’s heart must have leapt for joy. Here was someone, at last, who would understand how he felt about God and with whom he could have an exciting relationship. A fellow soldier and spiritual equal. Someone who knew what it was to trust God wholeheartedly and who would risk his life for the sake of God’s Kingdom. There were not many others like that around.

It is a wonderful privilege to find someone else who shares your faith and who has had similar experiences of God – someone with the same level of faith or more. No wonder Jonathan leapt at the opportunity of getting to know David better. He was so serious about the friendship that he entered a covenant of life with David.

However, it wasn’t long before that covenant was tested when Saul issued orders for David to be killed. But Jonathan, true to his word, reasoned with Saul on David’s behalf, and saw David restored to the royal household.

How strong is the covenant you have made? To God? To your spouse?

Jonathan would say to us today...

Find a true friend – your life will be enriched, and so much more invigorating when you do.


Thank You Father for all those who have made a positive input into my life and especially those I can count as friends. Please help me to be a good friend to them. Help me, too, to be a good friend to others I am in contact with. Amen.

Additional readings

Proverbs 27:1-17; Acts 11:19-30; John 12:1-8.


Who is your best friend?

Why are they a good friend?

Who would call you their best friend?

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