“When David had finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan committed himself to David, and loved him as much as he loved himself. 2 Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him return to his father’s house.
3 Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as himself. 4 Then Jonathan removed the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt.” – 1 Samuel 18:1-4
So many times, people go through life living day by day, not really having any real direction in their life and they can get the feeling that their lost or confused about what to do. People will ask them, what their plans are for their life or what they plan on doing when they ‘grow up’ and they honestly don’t know or have a vague idea in their head but not really have any steps for their goals in life. If we’re all honest with ourselves, this has been us at one time or another or still is depending on where you are in life. You might be in middle school, high school, college or raising your own kids and you have lived your life with no clear direction and have gotten by so far by your own wits, but you’re tired and need help. We’ve probably all been there, and have the t-shirt and actions to prove it, and if you haven’t, you will be.
If we don’t have direction in our lives from the Bible or from some self help book that we bought or from your parents, we usually get most of our direction from our friends. Those friends can be good or bad for our lives as we all know. For the most part, we are greatly influenced by our friends and they help decide our life choices either directly, by asking for their advice, or indirectly in the case that you feel peer pressure from them and therefore make a decision so you don’t disappoint them or lose their friendship. This is why it is extremely important to find a true friend that help guide, support and point you the direction you need to go with your life. So how do we know what a true friend looks like and how to be one. We can look to the story of David and Jonathan in the Bible as an example.
In this passage, we see two warriors that had fought in battles and won which means that their story is not going to be one of roses and easy lives but is exactly the opposite if you know their story. Jonathan had a father that hated him and went against God when Jonathan was trying to follow God as much as he could and eventually died in battle because of the bad decisions of his father. David would end up being hunted by Saul(Jonathans’ father) and then proceed to have death and chaos in his own life from his own mistakes and also his children’s rebellion after he becomes king of Israel(oops, spoiler alert?). I tell you this to say that, even if you pick a true and great friend, it doesn’t mean that you are going to have a peaceful life that has accomplishment after accomplishment and no setbacks. Just as having Jesus as our Lord and Savior doesn’t guarantee a perfect life and that Jesus is always there for us when we need him, a true friend will also be there for us when we need them and can help us. That’s why we have Church and small groups so we can help each other through our times in the pits of life.
Since we know that now, what can we learn from Jonathan on who is a true friend and how to be a true friend to others? Well the first character trait from a true friend is that of humility and self sacrifice. This is a trait that Jesus especially showed us when he came down to earth and didn’t expect to be worshipped immediately and lived a perfect life to die an excruciating death on the cross when he didn’t have to since he’s God(Philippians 2:8). Jonathan shows his humility when he decides to give David his royal robe, and military tunic showing that he knew David was to be King in the future and gave up his status as heir to the kingdom to him as well as his power that comes with it. He could have done this as a grand gesture in front of others to get praise from the country since David was popular at the time but he didn’t and did it when they were just meeting up. He could have been jealous and angry like his father, especially since it was rightfully his position to receive when his father died. So many times, we have so called ‘friends’ that either end the relationship or try to bring you down by getting mad when you are accomplishing something either with good grades, relationships, getting a raise etc… Jonathan didn’t show anger but rather kindness, not selfish pride but rather humility and genuine excitement for his friend as he knew he was supposed to be King some day.
The second quality is that of a heart for God. Just liked David is told to have had, Jonathan showed that he wanted God’s plan for Jonathan to come true. He could have easily made David’s life a living hell after he found out that he could be a threat to his position as prince of Israel and its future king and he would not be alone in this action since there has been countless cases throughout history of royalty exiling or killing those that they saw as a threat(just look at Roman history in the first century A.D. for example). Jonathan instead showed love and kindness to his friend and gave him support and another sign to him that his true direction was to be king of Israel. Did this make it easier for David in the future? In the physical sense that he would still end up being hunted by the King, no. In a way that probably helped him even more at that moment and in the future was that David knew he had the unconditional support of his best friend and was just another sign from God that made it clearer for David, what his direction in life was to be. This gave him confidence in his friend and confidence in God. He had the princes’ approval. When we are depressed and it feels like the world is against us, it is a huge blessing when we know that we have the support and encouragement of our friends back home or in our company.
There are plenty of qualities of a true friend but the last one here is that Jonathan was loyal. In 1 Samuel 19 and 20, Jonathan tries to reconcile the relationship between his father and David and found out unfortunately that he couldn’t. He then decides to go against his father to protect his friend so that David could live, lead Israel and eventually have Jesus come through his royal lineage. He risked not just his reputation to protect David, but also his life since his father tried to kill him immediately when he found out about it. So many friends leave when it gets hard but a true friend will try to protect you from the devils’ schemes in that they will point you towards God when you start messing up and sinning and also will protect you from harm by either warning you or taking you out of the situation. Now am I saying that we should just disobey our parents if they don’t like our friends? No I am not, but rather in the special cases that our parents or authority figures are going against Gods’ word then we should listen and determine if that is the case and then obey God’s word for us and help our friends.
So at the end of the day, we are wanting direction in our lives and peace and to do that, our friends can help us. A true friend will be humble and want the best for us and not be mad at us when we succeed. A true friend will have a heart for God and will try to guide us and point us towards a relationship with God and his plan for our lives. And last but not least, a true friend will support and protect us from the devils’ schemes in our lives either by helping us in our study, or calling us out when we start falling into the many traps that are laid out for us. Now, will true friends give you a peaceful life or even an easier life, not necessarily as evidence by Jonathan and David’s life in the Old Testament. God can give us peace and our true friends will keep us pointed towards him. Remember, Satan is like a lion prowling, waiting for those whom he can devour, so be careful, be picky with your friends and keep God at the center of your life. Thank you for reading this and if you have any questions or anything to say about this or other things, comment or leave me a message.