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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A good friendship (1 Samuel 20)

His having to escape from Saul forced David to seek counsel from one he could trust. It is unusual to discover that the friend to whom he could turn was the son of Saul. The unusualness of the circumstances, however, should not cause us to lose sight of the wisdom of David’s decision. In times of trouble it is good to have a friend to whom we can turn. Obviously, the best friend to have is Jesus, and we can turn to him for help at all times. It is also wise to have close Christian friends whom we can trust.

Such friendships are not developed overnight, but are the outcome of meaningful contact over a period of time. So we can see that a good friend is someone whose company we enjoy. What else would a good friend do, in a Christian sense?

Such a person would pray eagerly and persistently for his friend (I doubt that someone who seldom prays for a person can be described as a close friend). He would also speak much about Jesus and the salvation he has provided. Aspects of the Christian life would also be a focus of such a friendly relationship. Encouragements and, sometimes, corrective counsel would be part of the relationship.

Jonathan was a true friend to David. As the son and assumed heir of Saul, Jonathan could have used the situation to get rid of his only rival. Yet there is no hint of any resentment in the heart of Jonathan, or of regret that he would not have the role that God had planned for David. Jonathan’s lack of bitterness is a major feature of this friendship and is a rebuke to those who have used petty reasons for destroying what could have been good friendships.

David was very sensitive to the difficulties their friendship raised for Jonathan's relationship with his father. So he devised a plan, which they developed together, that would make things easier for Jonathan to deal with the situation. The plan did reveal the danger that David was in as far as Saul’s enmity was concerned, and Jonathan did not hide the truth from his friend.

Jonathan and David’s friendship survived the intense opposition of Saul. They looked at their friendship not only from current circumstances, but also included future features. What they wanted was peace between their descendants, which is the atmosphere of true friendship. They made a covenant with one another, made in the sight of God. And an interesting consequence of their friendship is that they are still enjoying it in heaven.

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