The other day I was having a bad day. In fact truth be told it was a bad few weeks that seemed like it had the potential to morph into a bad ‘season’ (classical christianese style). After feeling sorry for myself for a few hours I went on my knees and asked God for an intervention. I told God about how weary I was and right now what I needed was Jesus-in-the-flesh. That is when it dawned on me to call four of my sisters in Christ to hold me up in prayer and checkin on me. Being a seasoned christian you would think that these thoughts would come sooner or be second nature by now? Not quite. But all this did remind me of the story of Jonathan and David described in the books of Samuel and one or two other parts of the bible.
A number of things stand out about this relationship. Jonathan was in line to be king by man’s order but by God’s ‘order’ David was God’s choice. Jonathan accepted this as not only God’s will but was supportive and loyal to David when he could have been bitter and jealous like his father, Saul.
I cannot imagine the battle that went through Jonathan’s heart and mind as he chose between his father (flesh and blood) and a friend he dearly loved and God. Imagine the thoughts that went through David’s mind as he encountered a man who not only relinquishes his birthright to be king but enables David to ascend to the throne through his courageous acts. So strong was the love and brotherly bond between the men that when David had the opportunity to wipe out Saul’s household he chose not to. Instead he showed them kindness.
After watching a few Hollywood and some made-for-family accounts of biblical events one can easily forget the violence and danger of the time. Death was a constant companion to these men of war. In his life, many sought to kill David. Before he was considered a man he had fought wild animals and challenged Goliath to a duel that could only see one survivor. He hid in caves and forests as his life was sought by Saul and later his own son. Although Jonathan was a prince he was not excluded from going to war. Losing a war often meant that you could lose your life, family, fields and any wealth and prestige you had. Winning often meant the lives of your enemies. This was not a CGI enhanced daisy field.
In the midst of this backdrop the bible says that the soul of David was knitted with the soul of Jonathan. A portrait of this great friendship is that offered in an article by HolyBible.com.
“In discussing the relationship between David and Jonathan, we must take care not to impose today’s culture and its problems onto the biblical record. Two words of caution are in order. First, North American men are notorious for being superficial in their relationships with other men. Friendship and brotherhood mean very little to most; thus it may be difficult for them to understand or appreciate the love between these two ancient Israelites. Likewise, given the modern male’s uncertainty and confusion about masculinity, we may find aspects of the story of Jonathan and David disturbing. Modern culture tends to sexualize every relationship and to reduce love to erotic desires and actions. Read in this sexually loaded way, Jonathan and David may appear to be involved in a homosexual affair. However, from first to last, the biblical account of their relationship is devoid of eroticism.”
David is quoted as being a friend of God relating to a time when there was a barrier between God and the people. Despite the dispensation we live in, few christian relationships can compare with that of David and God but when Jonathan died David mourned greatly.
Even as God is with us always and is our rock and our salvation, He places around us and amongst us those who will be Jesus-in-the-flesh to us. Sometimes in deep relationships, as with David and Jonathan, sometimes in a passing stranger. Likewise we are called to do the same.
So today we pray that you are surrounded with loyal, supportive friends who encourage and hold you accountable to remain in God’s perfect will, irrespective of the price. We also pray that you are that friend too.
About the Author
Jolly is the Founder and CEO of Mokorosi Financial Consulting, in the recent past she was acting CEO of the Municipal Councillors Pension Fund. She has a passion for members’ rights in the pension fund industry and a desire to see women shine in the business arena. She is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she resides with the husband of her youth, Sam. Together they have five children, a grandchild and several pot plants.