Jonathan’s Covenant Faithfulness

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In , David (who is the anointed King of Israel), is forced to flee from King Saul. Saul’s son, Jonathan, has earlier knitted himself to David in a covenant (see ). This is clearly no small matter, as in this chapter Jonathan places himself in great danger to release David to safety. After his investigation of Saul’s stance toward David (see ), dodging a spear thrown by Saul, and giving Saul a piece of his mind, Jonathan returns to David to warn him of Saul’s anger toward him.

Jonathan is remarkable in a number of ways. Firstly, he is Saul’s son and yet he gives up his sonship to be identified with David in a covenant (). Secondly, he gives up his own claim to the throne of Israel for, in supporting David, he is supporting the fall of his own hereditary claim to throne (). Thirdly, Jonathan respects Saul by not assuming the worst of him (see ). Lastly, Jonathan is willing to say farewell to someone whom he dearly loves ().

The most remarkable thing about Jonathan, however, has very little to do with Continue reading Jonathan’s Covenant Faithfulness

20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the young man, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.

Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”

And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?”

42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

Our Faithful Shepherd

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”

When we became Christians, what did we expect would happen to our lives?

We would have a clear purpose and direction to follow. We would have peace in our hearts, being filled with joy every waking moment. We would develop more sincere and pure relationships. These are definitely aspects in our lives that will develop as we walk with Jesus, following His lead each day.

However when we became Christians, did we think life would be tougher; seemingly filled with more challenges and troubles?

Not Exempt From Trouble

It doesn’t take long for Christians to realise that they are not exempt from the troubles and pains of life. In fact, we are faced with challenges that the world is ignorant to. In responding to God’s call for us to obey and live for Him, we are faced with daily struggles and opposition of our sinful nature, Satan, and this depraved world. We should not expect to be exempt from troubles, but know that God is always with us and will deliver us from them as we follow Him. That is a hope that all Christians can claim with absolute confidence! God has promised to lead us along a good path – that doesn’t mean an easy one.

There was a period in my life where, for about two to three years, I faced some of my greatest trials. I faced a relentless storm filled with loneliness, despair and insecurity that had threatened to engulf me on numerous occasions. If I am to be blatantly honest, there had been many times when I had felt completely broken, wallowing in tears of self-pity and sorrow. However, then I realised how good and faithful God had been to me. I remembered the path He had called me to travel and the relationships He would have me develop and nurture. I remembered the good and fruitful work He had for me to do. I remembered His promises to me of fulfilment, peace and eternal security.

Change of Focus

I took my focus off myself and put it on God, my heart was filled with joy! My sorrow then turned to thankfulness for this tumultuous struggle because it had drawn me closer to God then I had ever been. Every time I cried out in pain and confusion, God graciously touched me in some way, giving me what I needed to push on. He has taught me that His purpose for my life is based firstly on holiness and not happiness. Despite being unhappy many times during those two to three years, I am truly thankful and in awe of how good and gracious God was in teaching and developing me through it. It had been one of the most fruitful and blessed periods of my life.

If we look back over our lives, when were the times we drew closest to God, and grew the most?

What have been our attitudes in times of trouble and confusion?

Let’s use those times to draw closer to God. Let’s be honest with Him about how we feel and ask what He would have us learn. Let’s claim His promise that He will deliver us, walking confidently in His presence, boldly trusting and obeying Him despite the circumstances.

That is faith in action! That brings joy to God’s heart and He will bless us for it. So when troubles come, look up and never lose hope… for we have the Master at work in our lives!

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.