1 SAMUEL 23:15-18 – David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
THEME OF THE DAY. UPLIFTING THE DOWNCAST. He knew his friend felt afraid, alone, and weak. He also knew why. His father was after him and it wasn’t for good. We might say, “Jonathan had insightful knowledge of the situation”. And he sure did. His best friend had become chief enemy number one to his father. It wouldn’t be hard to see the turmoil in Jonathan’s heart. The tension between father – son and friend – friend was real, and yet, in the midst we find a fine example of what a believer is to be in relationship with a fellow believer who is in trouble – spiritually, emotionally, physically. Let’s set the stage.
David is running. Saul is bent toward killing him and is in hot pursuit. The emotions are high and draining. David feels it. He is weak, exhausted, and in need of a friend; a friend who would lift him up, encourage him, and remind him of God’s faithfulness to him. Enter Jonathan. Today’s scriptures read, “David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God (1 Samuel 23:16).
Jonathan’s actions toward David show us three things to model in seeking to fulfill God’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34-35).
First, we must go to brothers and sisters in need – Jonathan, Saul’s son rose and went to David. Pray for one another for sure, but let’s also be an answer to our own prayers in reaching out to one another. Prayer without action is simply a way to appear “spiritual” without the costly sacrifice of serving one another. Our love must go beyond words. The Apostle John writes, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Another thing we see from Jonathan serving as a good model of love to other Christians is to go to struggling believers, not to give advice or correction, but to give encouragement. It was said of Jonathan he, strengthened his (David’s) hand. When we are seeking to minister to one another, always pray this before we engage them – “Lord, make me a blessing to uplift, not an anchor to weigh down.” David was strengthened by Jonathan’s willingness to seek him in his pain and then an encouragement through his pain.
Finally, Jonathan points David to the ultimate and only source of strength – God – And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. We minister to one another in Jesus’ name, for Jesus’ sake, and by Jesus’ ways and that is prayer and His Word. In all our ministry to one another, the goal is to point one another to Christ; to give them the hope that is in Christ alone. Jonathan knew the best thing he could do for his friend was to model God to Him and then point Him to the God of all strength. And those are the end goals in our ministry to one another – represent Christ and point people to Christ.
Jonathan is a wonderful example of ministering to God’s hurting, fearful, and afraid people. May the Lord help us follow his model.
PRAYER: “Father, give me eyes to see, a heart to feel and the will to serve the hurting saints in my world.”
QUOTE: “To be like Christ means to act like Christ by reaching out to serve those who are in need.”