July 11: Best Friends Forever
1 Samuel 18:1–19:24; James 5:13–20; Psalm 120:1–7
This generation has more opportunities for communication than any before it, with email and social networking making it possible to interact with others 24/7. Yet suicide rates are higher than ever, and antidepressant medications have become almost standard fare. We have more connections than ever before, but they’re not relationships. We still feel alone. People need authentic community—a sense of communing with someone—to feel whole and healthy.
The story of David and Jonathan portrays the true nature of friendship: “the soul of Jonathan became attached to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam 18:1). Jonathan could easily have been jealous of his friend; David was a great warrior and had just been brought into the household of Jonathan’s father, the king, as the king’s protégé (1 Sam 17:48–58; 18:2). Instead of being jealous, Jonathan responded with love and kindness, and the two became the most steadfast friends.
Authentic relationship is built on trust, which often starts when one person sacrifices himself for the other. Jonathan made such a sacrifice: “Jonathan stripped off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his fighting attire, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt” (1 Sam 18:3–4). Because Jonathan loved David as a friend, their relationship grew into a deep-rooted loyalty. When we share that deep trust and loyalty with a friend, we can grow in God’s will together. We all need someone we can rely on; David and Jonathan demonstrate how powerful such a relationship can be. They teach us what it means to follow Yahweh with someone else at your side.
In the early Church, authentic relationships were not just an idea—they were a way of life: “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the elders of the church and they should pray over him, anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas 5:14). The early Church didn’t respond to sickness or pain by saying, “I’ll pray for you.” They actually prayed. Just as Jonathan, in one swift action, gave David the honor of being like the king’s son, so the early Church swiftly took care of their own. They made friends by being loyal, as Christ was loyal to them. They created community by showing love and kindness without requiring that kindness to be returned. But the return on investment was great: It laid the foundation for a worldwide movement.
How can you show authentic friendship to others?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, the son of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him, as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would not let him return to his fathers house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant: for he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan put off the robe that was upon him, and gave David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: so that Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. When they came again, and David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, the women came out of all cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet king Saul, with timbrels, with instruments of joy, and with rebecks. And the women sang by course in their play, and said, Saul hath slain his thousand, and David his ten thousand. Therefore Saul was exceedingly wroth, and the saying displeased him, and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousand, and to me they have ascribed but a thousand, and what can he have more save the kingdom? Wherefore Saul had an eye on David from that day forward. And on the morrow, the evil spirit of God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house; and David played with his hand like as at other times, and there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul took the spear, and said, I will smite David through the wall. But David avoided twice out of his presence. And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul. Therefore Saul put him from him, and made him a captain over a thousand, and he went out and in before the people. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; for the Lord was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he was very wise, he was afraid of him. For all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and in before them. Then Saul said to David, Behold mine eldest daughter Merab, her I will give thee to wife: only be a valiant son unto me, and fight the Lord’s battles: for Saul thought, Mine hand shall not be upon him, but the hand of the Philistines shall be upon him. And David answered Saul, What am I? and what is my life, or the family of my fahter in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the King? Howbeit when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, she was given unto Adriel a Meholathite to wife. Then Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they showed Saul, and the thing pleased him. Therefore Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the had of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law in the one of the twain. And Saul commanded his servants, Speak with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath a favor to thee, and all his servants love thee: be now therefore the King’s son-in-law. And Saul’s servants brought him word again, saying, Such words spake David. And Saul said, This wise shall ye say to David, The king desireth no dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the King’s enemies: for Saul thought to make David fall into the hands of the Philistines. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well, to be the King’s son-in-law: and the days were not expired. Afterward David arose with his men, and went and slew of the Philistines two hundred men: and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them wholly to the King that he might be the King’s son-in-law: therefore Saul gave him Michael his daughter to wife. Then Saul saw, and understood that the Lord was with David, and that Michael the daughter of Saul loved him. Then Saul was more and more afraid of David, and Saul became always David’s enemy. And when the Princes of the Philistines went forth, at their going forth David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was much set by. Then Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David: but Jonathan Saul’s son had a great favor to David. And Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father goeth about to slay thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed unto thyself unto the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself. And I will go out and stand by my father in the field where thou art, and will commune with my father of thee, and I will see what he saith, and will tell thee. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David: for he hath not sinned against thee, but his works have been to thee very good. For he did put his life in danger, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and thou rejoicedst: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, and slay David without a cause? Then Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, As the Lord liveth, he shall not die. So Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all those words, and Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past. Again the war began, and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter, and they fled from him. And the evil spirit of the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house having his spear in his hand, and David played with his hand. And Saul intended to smite David to the wall with the spear: but he turned aside out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the spear against the wall: but David fled, and escaped the same night. Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told it him, saying, If thou save not thyself this night, tomorrow thou shalt be slain. So Michael let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped the same night. Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michael David’s wife told it him, saying, If thou save not thyself this night, tomorrow thou shalt be slain. So Michael let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. Then Michael took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow stuffed with goat’s hair under the head of it, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him to me in the bed, that I may slay him. And when the messengers were come in, behold, an image was in the bed with a pillow of goat’s hair under the head of it. And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou mocked me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go, or else I will kill thee. So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him: and he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth. But one told Saul, saying, Behold, David is Naioth in Ramah. And Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw a company of Prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God fell upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise: again Saul sent the third messengers, and they prophesied also. Then went he himself to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu, and he asked, and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah. And he went thither, even to Naioth in Ramah, and the Spirit of God came upon him also, and he went prophesying until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he stripped off his clothes, and he prophesied also before Samuel, and fell down naked all that day and all that night: therefore they say, Is Saul also among the Prophets? 1 Samuel 18:1–19:24
- Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray for him, and anoint him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Acknowledge your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed: for the praer of a righteous man availeth much, if it be fervent. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again: and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Brethren, If any of you hath erred from the truth, and some man hath converted him, Let him know that he which hath converted the sinner from going astray out of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:13–20
- I called unto the Lord in my trouble, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What doth thy deceitful tongue bring unto thee? or what doeth it avail thee? It is as the sharp arrows of a mighty man, and as the coals of Juniper. Woe is to me that I remain in Meshech, and dwell in the tents of Kedar. My soul hath too long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I seek peace, and when I speak thereof, they are bent to war. Psalm 120:1–7