COSTLY COMMITMENT 1
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.
‘Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.’1
For the first time since David’s troubles began, we hear of his inner feelings (v 1). His distress is a reminder that even those trusting in the Lord can experience the turmoil of emotions that accompanies difficult situations. David has served Saul faithfully despite the king’s manipulative actions and the attempts he made on David’s life. No wonder he is bewildered and in anguish. Nevertheless, he does not presume on God’s choice of him as king and take matters into his own hands to grasp the throne. His commitment to waiting on the Lord will cost him years of persecution.
The price of faithfulness, however, will be even higher for Jonathan. Although he cannot initially believe that his father is again seeking to kill David, he is willing to test it and committed to telling his friend the truth. The young prince is far-sighted enough to recognize that while David defers to him as ‘your servant’ (vs 7,8), one day the tables will be turned and Jonathan’s line will be dependent on David’s mercy (vs 14,15). There is a quiet pathos in his speech as he implies his own loss of position in the future and the uncertainty he faces about whether he will even survive the coming, inevitable conflict. Nevertheless, he sides with David because he recognizes that the Lord is with him, as he had been with Jonathan’s father (v 13).
Commitment to the Lord’s ways is costly. A friend of mine resigned from her job because she was being pressured to accept irregular activity at the firm where she was working. Her action led to a loss of status and income. Others across the globe suffer disadvantages for professing a Christian faith and yet others are in danger of losing their lives for the same.
Pray that we may put God first in our lives and trust him for the consequences. Pray for those who are persecuted for their Christian faith.
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.
1 John 12:26
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