SIDEBAR: Portrait of a Friend--Relationally Based Ministry

Connecting From the Bottom Up

by Warren D. Bullock

The story of David and Jonathan is a classic example of a relationship forged in the fire of adversity. First Samuel records some of the qualities and acts of their friendship. They provide a portrait of a godly friendship.

  • They became one in spirit (18:1). This was a process. They became united in heart.
  • They abandoned self-interest and replaced it with love (18:1). Jonathan loved David as himself, even though he knew David had been anointed to be king instead of him.
  • They established a covenant between them (18:3). This pledge of friendship bound them to each other.
  • Jonathan warned David about Saul’s intent to kill him (19:1–3; 20:35–40). Even though Saul was Jonathan’s father and king of Israel, Jonathan subverted Saul’s plans to destroy David.
  • Jonathan defended David to his father, Saul (20:32,33). He was grieved at the injustice of Saul toward David.
  • David mourned greatly after Jonathan’s death (2 Samuel 1:25,26). Love inevitably brings the pain of loss. But loving someone else is worth the pain.
  • After Jonathan died, David remembered his family (1 Samuel 20:15,42; 2 Samuel 9:1,11). David allowed Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, to eat at his table like one of the king’s sons. This was done for Jonathan’s sake.