Lord, your power made all things; your wisdom governs them; your grace sustains them. Grant me your power, wisdom, and grace.
Read 1 SAMUEL 20:1-23
David and Jonathan
20 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”
2 “Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”
3 But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”
4 Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”
5 So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. 8 As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”
9 “Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”
10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”
11 “Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together.
12 Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”
16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family’ (Proverbs 18:24, The Message). Think about your closest friends and thank God for them.
Saul’s determination to destroy David even though he was God’s anointed king put both David and Jonathan in an impossible position. David couldn’t understand why Saul would want to kill him, but recognized the seriousness of the threat (v 1). Jonathan, meanwhile, was convinced that there was no threat because Saul had said nothing about it (v 2). The upcoming New Moon Feast would bring things to a head. As the king’s son-in-law and an important figure in court, David had to be there. But he would also be running into serious trouble. His absence would be obvious, so David comes up with a plan to discover whether Saul still intended to destroy him (vs 5-8).
Jonathan went along with the plan and promised to find out. But he also remembered their covenant (18:1-4) and repeated his oath (v 16). He saw the bigger picture and knew that David would one day be king. Sometimes our friendships have a wider significance than we realize.
For now though, there was the issue of how Jonathan could tell David about Saul’s intention without him finding out. A bit of target practice was his ‘cunning plan’ (vs 20-22)!
Do any of your friends need your support just as David needed Jonathan’s? Perhaps there is something practical that you could do for them today.
Gracious God, I remember those who face persecution for their faith. Bless and sustain them during hard times; and Lord, I put you first in my life.
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