Real Friendship

1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 
(1 Samuel 18:1-4)
15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”  

(1 Samuel 23:15-17)
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.  

(2 Samuel 1:26)
This week we are looking at how God wants to empower us to reflect his glory in our friendships with one another. One of the greatest examples of this in the Bible is the friendship between David and Jonathan. We are told that they ‘became one in spirit’, that David ‘loved him as himself’ and that David felt closer to Jonathan than he did to his own wife. All of this echoes what we learned together yesterday – that friendship isn’t somehow second-best to marriage. These two married men brought great glory to the Lord through the depth of their friendship together.

Our culture has drifted so far away from God’s plan for real friendship that some modern readers speculate that perhaps David and Jonathan were gay. Deep Christian friendship is so alien to them that they cannot understand two people loving each other this intensely any other way. Jonathan gave expensive gifts to David. When he heard that David was in trouble, he undertook a dangerous journey to ‘strengthen him in God’ – that is, to remind him of God’s promises and to pray with him in his hour of need. Jonathan was even willing to surrender the throne of Israel to his friend. That kind of sacrifice is alien to our culture, but not to those who follow a crucified Saviour.

The Lord would like to ask us is whether that kind of sacrificial friendship is alien to Everyday Church. Has our high view of marriage caused us to neglect the importance of platonic friendship? Do we place too heavy a burden on our romantic partners and too light a burden on the wealth of other friendships that God has given us to enjoy? Do we act as if romantic love is an essential ingredient to a happy life, while neglecting to invest enough of our time and energy towards a wider group of friends? Let’s make David and Jonathan’s friendship normal in our church!
1)   Yesterday, we saw that friendship is spelt T-I-M-E. Looking at these passages from 1 and 2 Samuel, how else is friendship spelt? How can you grow in expressing your friendship towards people in these ways too?
2)   These verses suggest that the opposite of friendly isn’t unfriendly. It is selfish. How might the Lord want to turn your eyes away from yourself today so that you can express his sacrificial love towards others?
3)   Who needs your friendship this week, just as David needed Jonathan’s? How can you ‘strengthen them in God’? What Bible verses and prophecies could you text to them? How might you pray for them and with them?
Father God, I confess that my culture treats friendship as a consolation prize for those who can’t find romantic love. Help me to value friendship as much as you do. Help me to strengthen many people in God. Help me to make Everyday Church a family where people find deep friendships, like the one between David and Jonathan. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.