A Friend That Sticks.

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-10, 20:1-32.

1 Samuel 18:1-4
1After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

1 Samuel 19:1-10
1Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. 3I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. Iʼll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”
4Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
6Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.”
7So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
8Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.
9But an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

1 Samuel 20:1-32
1Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”
2“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesnʼt do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isnʼt so!”
3But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”
4Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, Iʼll do for you.”
5So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. 8As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”
9“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldnʼt I tell you?”
10David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”
11“Come,” Jonathan said, “letʼs go out into the field.” So they went there together.
12Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14But show me unfailing kindness like the Lordʼs kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of Davidʼs enemies from the face of the earth.”
16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call Davidʼs enemies to account.” 17And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
18Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”
24So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but Davidʼs place was empty. 26Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.” 27But the next day, the second day of the month, Davidʼs place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasnʼt the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”
28Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the kingʼs table.”
30Saulʼs anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Donʼt I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”
32“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

David and Jonathan identified with each other almost instantly, producing a very strong covenant bond relationship. Initially King Saul welcomed David into the royal house. Saul had a powerful position of control over Jonathan, David, and all the remaining subjects. Without warning Saul would instantly explode in anger, yelling vulgar accusations at Jonathan, and throwing spears at both Jonathan and David. The Ten Commandments gave Jonathan conflicting messages between ‘honor your father and mother’ and ‘you shall not murder.” Which one does he choose to obey? Jonathan decided to save David’s life. Do you have friends who are extremely close to you? What are their qualities? Do you have the same qualities?

© 2017 Schweitzer United Methodist Church
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