1 SAMUEL 20:24-42
24So David hid himself in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat at the feast to eat. 25The king sat upon his seat, as at other times, upon the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood, while Abner sat by Saul’s side; but David’s place was empty.
26Saul did not say anything that day; for he thought, “Something has befallen him; he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the feast, either yesterday or today?” 28Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; 29he said, ‘Let me go; for our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your sight, let me get away, and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king's table.”
30Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32Then Jonathan answered his father Saul, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33But Saul threw his spear at him to strike him; so Jonathan knew that it was the decision of his father to put David to death. 34Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, and because his father had disgraced him.
35In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. 36He said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is the arrow not beyond you?” 38Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry, be quick, do not linger.” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39But the boy knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. 42Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, for ever.’” He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.
There is no greater friendship that's dramatized in the Bible quite like the friendship between Jonathan and David. Barnabas and Paul. Naomi and Ruth. Daniel and his friends. Peter and Jesus. These come close but, again, no other friendship comes as close to the narrative power and poignancy as the friendship between David and Jonathan. The passage above is one example.
Friendships in life (whether Christian or not) seem as natural as the sun, moon, rain, or snow. Friendships -- if we can think back to our earliest ones -- seem to just happen. We did not devise some clever plan to make friends as first-graders. We had no forethought, we had no preparation, we had no coaching. It just happened. Many of us, in fact, have a hard time recalling how our friendships got started.
As we get older we shed some of our friendships and pick up new ones. From there, a few friendships last into our adulthood.
The heart of every good friendship is enjoyment. If the joy is absent, that particular friendship has seen its better days.
If we list the things we like about our friendships, the list would probably look something like this: joy, laughter, being at ease, encouragement, stories, food, conversation, intimacy.
From what we can tell about Jonathan and David, they had all of the above. Yet, they had something else too, which not all friendships have.
They had prophetic fulfillment. Hmmm ... ???
Given how the story unfolds in David's life, from the day he is anointed by Samuel to the day he is crowned as king, he is dependent on the love and friendship of Jonathan. Without Jonathan, David would be dead. Being dead, David would not have become king. The Lord uses Jonathan to save David's life and to ensure David is alive to become king. The kingly prophecy (i.e., Samuel's anointing) gets fulfilled because of Jonathan's protective friendship. Hence, a friendship that leads to prophetic fulfillment.
For all of us who feel we are fulfilling our calling, think about the friends who made this possible. (Friends include our spouses too.) Their encouragement, their prayers, their insistence, their faith, their wisdom, their ability to see things in us better than ourselves, and so forth. Friends in and through the Lord move us to where we need to go. Without friends, we would be lost. And for a few of us, we would be dead.
Let's thank the Lord for the friends in our lives: Father God, we thank you for sending us friends. Though we think of friendships as natural parts of our lives, we recognize that these friendships are also supernatural gifts. Gifts from you. We thank you for the all good things we've received from our friends. We thank you that in your providence our friends have helped us get to where we need to go. The fact that friendships are so enjoyable is an added bonus. Thank you for loving us through our friends. And may we be good, prayerful friends to others. In Jesus' name, amen.