Warrior. Poet. King, Pt. 3 David and Jonathan

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Warrior. Poet. King.
Pt. 3 David and Jonathan
John 13:34

I hope I’m not the only one when I say this, but when I was in high school I allowed myself to be talked into some dumb things. Through those years there were some bones broken, some visits by police officers, typical drama, and a whole lot of stupidity. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun times while I was in high school. But I’ve learned something since then. I’ve learned what friendship is really about.

During that time, my standard for friendship was pretty low. I’m not saying my friends were bad people, but I didn’t have any idea what made a good friend. I tried finding friends who were in my grade. But that wasn’t deep enough. I tried finding friends who had the same interests. But that wasn’t deep enough. I tried finding friends who had similar hobbies. But that wasn’t deep enough. In college I even tried finding friends who were studying ministry like I was. But even that wasn’t deep enough.

True friendship is deeper than fun times, hobbies, and interests. True friendship is a deep, soul connection.

Check out how two friends in the Bible cared deeply for the soul of the other.

I Samuel 18:1-4 “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. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.”

What’s happening here is Jonathan is taking off everything that marked him as royalty. He wore a robe, belt, and sword that were probably custom made just for him. They were probably the best of the entire kingdom. And then he gives these things to David as a symbol of his recognition that David is the anointed one of God. He acknowledged that David would inherit the kingdom. NOT HIM. This is probably the greatest sacrifice Jonathan could have made for another human being, short of giving his life.

I love the language in these verses; Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s. Meaning this was a friendship that was deeper than sharing similar hobbies, classes, or interests. This was a friendship based on deep, soulful connection. True friendship sacrificially cares for the other person.

So here are some questions I encourage my students to ask themselves and answer honestly: Do I normally get in trouble with my friends? Do my friends know/care that I go to church? Would I introduce them to my grandparents? If I share personal things with them, do they change the subject? Ask these questions about yourself as well. Are you being a friend that cares for them?

Remember in the last section of this series how Saul was crazed to kill David? During that whole escapade, Saul tried to convince Jonathan to kill David as well. Check it out:

I Samuel 19:1-3 “And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.”

About two years ago, at teen camp, we had a vivid glimpse at what this looks like. Our speaker told the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer. How they stood back to back, fighting against an enemy that outnumbered them. How they fought for each other. It so moved our teens that they started a deal in our student ministry of defending one another by shouting, “Armor bearer” and sweeping in (playfully) to fight for their friend. Jonathan was an expert at defending his friends. And in this particular story, Jonathan chose to defend David, even from his own father because he truly cared for him.

What does this mean for you? You can start with defending against rumors, against bullying, against temptation, against sin, etc. Just think: what if you had someone willing to fight for your purity and sanctification? What if YOU were willing to fight for THEIR purity? That would be quite a strong relationship I should think.

I Samuel 20 talks about the strength of Jonathan and David’s relationship. It was a relationship that some people have even speculated might have been homosexual because of their closeness. Obviously I don’t think it was of that nature, I just think that a deep emotional connection between two people, especially two men, is rare and uncomfortable.

Emotional connection is something I never really understood until I came to TX. I have a lot of difficulty connecting on that soul level like David and Jonathan. So here’s what I try to do: I make a phone call at least 3 times a week. I really try to make it every day, but I’m no good at it. And in that conversation, I do what I call a “check-in”. I talk about anything significant that happened that day, I literally say, “That made me feel…” And I also confess any sins that I am aware of. The other person doesn’t try to fix me, judge me, or gossip about me. These are people I trust and usually they simply speak truth and encourage me.

For instance, I called my friend Joey the other week, and said, “Man, I feel like I’m just not going anywhere. I feel like nothing is really working.” And he said, “Do you think you’ve just gotten complacent?” And he nailed it. Do you know why? Because he then told me he was feeling the same exact thing. This is how I try to connect emotionally with my friends. And when I make conscious efforts to do that, I find that I am much more ready to connect on a more natural level.

Do you open up about your feelings? Do you confess sins? Or do you care more about having fun than the actual health of the other person?

Now before we end, I have to say, this blog isn’t really a lesson on “How to be like Jonathan and David”. This is a lesson on “How to be like Christ”. He does all of this the best. Jesus cares for us. Defends us. And wants to connect with us. Look at this:

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

When we do these things for others we are reflecting the Gospel like David and Jonathan and we are loving like Christ. Jesus made a covenant with us when He died. He said that there would be no condemnation for those who are in Christ. And Jesus is a man of His word. He will forever be faithful because He made a covenant with us.

When Jonathan gave David his robe, belt, and sword, that was actually a covenant action. He was, in that moment, swearing to David that he would forever care for him, defend him, and connect with him. The best way for your friendship to connect on a deep, soulful level is to make that covenant with a friend. To promise to each other these things. And to stick to your word through the thick and thin.

In conclusion: there is one of three places you might find yourself in: 1. You need new friends. 2. You need to go deeper. 3. You need to experience this friendship with Jesus. Where are you? John 15:15 says Jesus is our friend. He wants to connect with you emotionally. You know what you need to know. You have what it takes. Now is the time for action. Go quickly and do what needs done.

James Robinson has been the Youth Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX since June 2014. He was drawn to work with students because he believes teenagers are in a highly moldable stage of life where it is absolutely imperative they allow the Gospel to identify who they are. As a Student Pastor, James says he has the inexpressible joy of regularly speaking that life-shaping Gospel into the students' lives.