And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
1 Samuel 23:16-17
Once again I find myself drawn to a couple of things - the words we say and the friendships we have. As I read the above passage, God kept pointing me back to 1 Samuel 23:16 where it tells of how Jonathan strengthened David's hand "in God." Do you have a friend that will come along beside you when things aren't going so well, take your hand and put it in the "hand" of Jesus? Are you that kind of friend to someone else?
David needed his friend. He was running literally for his life from a man whom he'd loyally served in his courts and in battle. David had done nothing wrong to deserve Saul's wrath except have a heart to do what God told him to do. Could David help it that God chose him to succeed Saul on the throne rather than Saul's son, Jonathan? Was it David's fault that Saul repeatedly chose to disobey God by taking matters into his own hands and thus prematurely cost himself the kingdom? I think not. Saul was merely jealous of David and to top it all off, Saul's son Jonathan was David's best friend. Go figure.
Yes, David needed his friend, and despite the potential wrath that Jonathan faced from his father for meeting David, Jonathan came. More than once he came. In previous passages we've seen Jonathan weep with his friend. In this though, we see Jonathan encouraging David in his faith. He strengthened David's hand in the Lord. Remember, that David was no spiritual baby. Everyone needs to be "picked up" from time to time. I wonder if David was crying in fear of his life when Jonathan said "Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father will not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel.." (1 Sam 23:17). I can imagine, upon hearing these words of encouragement combined with the promises of God, David slowly gathering his composure as the tears stopped and his strength returned. The comfort of a good friend is priceless, isn't it?
I admire the loyalty of Jonathan. I admire the availability of Jonathan. Jonathan was a true friend. After all, he didn't care that David would take Jonathan's place on the throne as king someday. He didn't care that his father probably preferred he not be friends with Jonathan. He was simply following his heart and possibly God's direction in being a support and a friend to a future king. We all need friends like these. Are you this kind of friend to someone? I'm sure there is someone out there that needs you too.