“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.” – Dan Buettner
The Bible is full of friendships. We can learn a lot about genuine friendship by observing the friendships throughout Scripture. In particular, the friendship between David and Jonathan. The close, intense relationship between the shepherd boy turned warrior/anointed king-in-waiting and the reigning king’s son has been told and retold throughout history. We could all benefit from being like Jonathan.
The Old Testament friendship between Jonathan and David is contained in Samuel chapters 1 and 2. Scripture shows us that Jonathan is a unique kind of friend:
“And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.” (1 Samuel 18:3).
“Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David.…” (1 Samuel 18:4).
“…But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David,” (1 Samuel 19:1).
“Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed.” (1 Samuel 20:4).
“Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).
David was saved by the sacrificial friendship of his friend. In addition, Jonathan made significant sacrifices. The strongest friendships often include sacrifices. It doesn’t have to be life and death like David and Jonathan. It can come in the form of making time to hang out with a friend instead of doing something that you planned to do. Or vice versa by understanding that your friend may not have time to hang out with you because they planned to do something else.
Jonathan championed, served, and was vastly loyal to David at great personal cost. When we look at the example of Jonathan, we see a friendship marked by service and pursuit of others, not self. Maybe we need to change our view on friendship. Instead of wondering why others aren’t befriending us maybe we should be thinking how can I be a better friend to others? How can we serve and spiritually strengthen those who God has put in our path?
Friendship is a precious gift from God. When we have friends, we have someone to laugh with, cry with, and lean on in times of trouble. Friendship is one of the most important relationships we will ever have here on Earth. The friendship of David and Jonathan is a good example of what it means to be friends. If we want to have solid and lasting friendships, we must learn from the examples outlined in Scripture. By following the example of David and Jonathan, we can build friendships that will stand the test of time.
- Have you seen God use friendships to bring people closer to Himself?
- Why should we pursue a friendship like Jonathan and David? Why does it matter?
- What is different about Jonathan and David’s friendships from yours?