A Model Friendship

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A Model Friendship

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Do you have a really good friend? If not, would you like to? Almost everyone wants to have a close friend, yet for some this goal seems unattainable. Many simply haven't been taught how to make and keep good friends. One of the most famous stories of friendship in the Bible is the one between King David and Jonathan. The account begins in 1 Samuel 18:1 1 Samuel 18:1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
American King James Version×
just after David had defeated Goliath. "Now it came about when he [David] had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan [Saul's son] was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself" (New American Standard Bible throughout). While many are aware of David and Jonathan's friendship, few seem to have noticed the details about how this relationship began. Rather than a mere accident—the way many friendships seem to begin today—the friendship between David and Jonathan appears to have begun over respect for each other and shared values. This friendship was not a Brokeback Mountain kind of story portraying homosexual love, as some try to grossly misrepresent it. Instead, it is a story of two courageous young men who looked to God for guidance and help. Before their meeting in the court of Saul, both men had served courageously in the defense of their nation. Jonathan had led 1,000 Israelites in a successful attack against a Philistine garrison in Geba (1 Samuel 13:1-3 1 Samuel 13:1-3 [1] Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, [2] Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. [3] And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
American King James Version×
) and later single-handedly attacked another garrison to lead the Israelites to a major military victory (1 Samuel 14). A key to Jonathan's success is found in what he said to his armor bearer: "Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few" (1 Samuel 14:6 1 Samuel 14:6And Jonathan said to the young man that bore his armor, Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
American King James Version×
). And God did work for Jonathan and the Israelites. In the confusion that arose over Jonathan's assault on the garrison, God caused the Philistines to start fighting each other (verse 20). Unfortunately the war with the Philistines lasted throughout Saul's reign (1 Samuel 14:52 1 Samuel 14:52And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him to him.
American King James Version×
), and in the course of time the Philistines brought in their giant warrior, Goliath, to intimidate the Israelites. No Israelite dared to go against Goliath one-on-one. No one, that was, until David learned of the challenge and offered to fight him. David's courage was based on his trust in God. Explaining his thinking to Saul, David said, "The LORD. will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:37 1 Samuel 17:37David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Go, and the LORD be with you.
American King James Version×
). So when David appeared before King Saul in 1 Samuel 18, there were a number of good reasons for Jonathan to establish a friendship with the young man. Both had courageously fought the Philistines. Both were heroes. And most importantly, both had relied on God for help. The friendship between David and Jonathan was the kind where each was a good influence on the other. In this issue we examine how to make and keep good friendships. May we all choose our friends wisely, become better friends with the friends we have and grow in our friendship with God. VT

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