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Devotional: January 28, 2021

Saul spoke to his son Jonathan and to all his servants about killing David. But Saul’s son Jonathan took great delight in David. Jonathan told David, ‘My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself…

Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.’ So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

First Samuel 19: 1-2, 6-7 NRSV

The story of Saul, Jonathan and David’s relationship is an interesting one. Jonathan befriended David as soon as his father King Saul brought him into the Royal Household. Jonathan and David were probably close in age, and were most likely best friends.

Yet eventually, Saul struggled with some mental health issues. Unfortunately, he came to see David as a threat. Yet in reality, Saul’s fears were unfounded paranoia, as David bore King Saul no ill will.

Jonathan’s loyalty to his friend David meant that he would not betray David into the hands of his father Saul. In this sense, Jonathan was a “buffer”, a negotiator, and even an intercessor for David.

Jonathan pleaded his friend’s case before his deranged father. In a sense, he stood up for his friend. Thankfully, Saul listened to Jonathan and promised not to kill David.

Due to his loyalty, and his friendship to David, Jonathan is well-regarded by many people. The name Jonathan means “gift from God”, and Jonathan was truly a gift to David. These positive associations are part why Jeana and I named our oldest son Jonathan. (Today is Jonathan’s birthday: perhaps that may be why this scripture stands out to me more on this particular day.)

When my mom’s cousin, Rev. Bob Albertson met Jonathan for the first time, Jonathan was all of three months old. As Bob held him, he could not resist asking Jonathan, “Are you a friend of David?” as he grinned from ear to ear…!

Sometimes, our faith finds expression in solid and enduring friendships. Our faith may even take the form of standing up for what is right, as Jonathan did against his father Saul’s aggression.

Who or what are you advocating for, right now, in your life?

For whom would you be “a friend to count on?”

Such questions are important, and may cause us to desire to grow more mature in our faith, and to grow deeper in our friendships. After all, healthy and positive Christian spirituality is all about relationships.

Prayer

Thank You, Jesus, for your invitation to call us Your friend. I am so thankful for Your deep love, knowing that You will never unfriend me. Forgive me when I let the world, or others influence me, preventing me from showing them who You are. Help me to be someone who makes others curious about having their own relationship with You.

With an open heart, I pray this prayer in Your name. Amen


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