Cultivating Godly Friendships
Explore the Bible Series
October 19, 2008
Background Passage: I Samuel 18:1-23:18
Lesson Passage: I Samuel 18:1-4; 19:4-7; 20:12-13; 23:16-18
True friendships are a rare thing.† We enjoy many gracious acquaintances in life, but true friends come along only a few times in life, friends who remain loving, supportive, loyal, and thoughtful, whatever lifeís circumstances. †I have lived for over half a century, and I can give witness that one does not find real friends very often.† Like Jonathan of old, I have a wonderful friend named David (among other close friends), and I count our relationship as one of the greatest blessings of my life.† We met in college, and he quickly became the brother I never had.† Many years and trials have passed since we met, and I have found David a genuine, loyal friend.
Unfortunately, many people have acquaintances like Saul.† At first, Saul expressed love for David, but, as time passed, Saulís ďfriendshipĒ turned into a charade, a charade that masked the kingís murderous intent toward David.† Of course, most of our relationships do not degenerate to this degree, but many people have endured the agony of betrayal by persons they believed were their friends.† David did nothing to merit Saulís treachery; in fact, he remained loyal to the king despite the hateful designs that conspired against him.† Perhaps one factor in Davidís loyalty to Saul related to his friendship with Jonathan.
As son of King Saul, Jonathan must have anticipated becoming
the ruler of
I donít know where Jonathan learned about friendship, but he certainly did not inherit his relational skills from his father.† Saul was a hypocrite who feigned friendship with David to conceal his lethal hatred for the young man.† Over and over, we will, in this lesson, observe Saulís conspiracies, conspiracies he veiled with the veneer of friendship and generosity. He verbally expressed love, gave his daughter to marriage, and showered David with praise (flattery).† All the while, he despised the young soldier and sought his humiliation and death.† May God save us from ďfriendsĒ like Saul.
I hope all of you have a ďDavidĒ in your life.† If you do, treasure such relationships and thank God for his blessings.† Furthermore, make certain that you remain a loyal and trusted ďJonathanĒ to your ďDavid.Ē† Thereís much for us to learn in this lesson.
I. The Contrasting Character of Jonathan and Saul (18:1-30)
A. Jonathanís love for David (vv. 1-4): The text describes this friendship in striking terms.† This relationship was grounded in a deep spiritual bond between the men; that is, their souls were knit together, became part of the same fabric.† They sealed their friendship with a covenant and the generous gifts of Prince Jonathan: a royal robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt.† These gifts not only demonstrated Jonathanís generosity, but these tokens befit the station of the new king and Jonathanís recognition of Davidís status.
genesis of Saulís hatred toward David (vv. 6-16): In the aftermath of Davidís
defeat of Goliath, the hearts of
marriage to Saulís daughter (vv. 17-30): Saul had promised to David the hand of
the royal eldest daughter, Merab, but the king had not fulfilled his
obligation.† Finally, he agreed to let
David marry Merab, but, just as David prepared for the wedding, Saul gave his
daughter to another man.† Undeterred,
David discovered that another daughter, Michal, loved him, and he determined to
ask for her hand.† Saul decided to give
Michal in marriage, but the text reveals the sinister ulterior designs that
motivated this choice.† The king believed
he could use Michal as instrument in a murderous scheme.† The ruse demanded that David ďpayĒ for Michal
with the foreskins of a hundred Philistines.†
Of course, Saul hoped the Philistines would kill David (See vv. 21 and
25), but the plot backfired, and Davidís impressive military conquests (David
killed two hundred Philistines) endeared the future king to the people of
II. Saulís Continued Efforts to Kill David (19:1-20:42)
A. Jonathanís intercession for David (19:1-7): Saul told Jonathan of his plans to kill David, and Jonathan pleaded with his father to spare Davidís life.† Reason seemed to persuade Saul, but the hate-crazed king did not keep his word that he would not seek Davidís life.† For a time, Saul allowed David to reenter the royal household, but soon the king returned to his schemes.
military success and the return of Saulís anger (19:8-24): War recurred with
the Philistines, and, as before, David won impressive victories over the
C. Jonathanís warning to David (20:1-42)
1. Davidís plea to Jonathan (vv. 1-11): David was puzzled by Saulís wrath, and he sought understanding of the situation from Jonathan.† The prince offered no explanation, but he assured his friend that the kingís conspiracy would not succeed.† Jonathan agreed to sound out his father to determine if Saul still wanted to murder David.†
2. David and Jonathan agreed on a method of communication (vv. 12-42): The friends agreed that Jonathan would speak with his father, and, if the kingís heart remained intent on killing David, Jonathan would communicate the situation by firing three arrows near a rock pile, in a nearby field.† After speaking with Saul, Jonathan warned David of the kingís determination to murder David.
III. Davidís Flight from Saul (21:1-22:23)
escape to Nob (21:1-9): After Jonathanís warning, David fled to Nob (about a
mile north of ancient
sojourn at the
D. Saulís murder of the prophets of Nob (22:6-23): When Saul heard that Ahimelech had helped David, the king ordered his soldiers to kill the priests of Nob.† The soldiers, in the fear of God, would not raise their weapons against the Lordís servants.† Saul turned to Doeg the Edomite and ordered him to murder the priests.† Doeg killed Ahimelech, the priests, and all the people of Nob.† Only Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, managed to escape Doegís cruelty.
IV. Saul Continued to Seek Davidís Life (23:1-29)
rescue of Keilah (vv. 1-14):† The
Philistines attacked the city of
in the wilderness (vv. 15-29): Saul pursued David into the wilderness of Ziph