1 Samuel 23v15-18 – David, the anointed future King, had his back to the wall; alone, under pressure, and facing real danger, but in these trying circumstances we learn a few lessons about the power of true Christian fellowship. Recognising David’s predicament and physical isolation Jonathan rises to action in order to strengthen his anointed leader in the Lord.
Firstly, in seeing David’s circumstances we recognise that even great men and women need God’s helpers. Prayerful, practical, and in person help. David was in a wood, a place that was necessary for his safety but also as a consequence a place of separation and isolation (how relevant to the times we live in).
Secondly, David the shepherd was Jonathan’s anointed leader but this fact did not prevent him from acting to minister to his future king. David gladly accepts that help in the Lord, and the two men go on to make a covenant together, strengthening a bond, and to share a future vision together.
Thirdly, this was not accidental help, this was intentional help. It says Jonathan arose and acted. Sometimes we help others by ‘accident’ (divine appointment), but this was Jonathan’s active intention to help his future King. He saw a need, and he intentionally acted. He purposed in his heart to be useful and usable.
Fourthly, David received a special kind of help, (to be strengthened in the Lord). Jonathan did not only act to build up David’s confidence in himself, but Jonathan strengthened David’s confidence in the Lord. He reminded David of the promise of God, that he would be king, that what he was going through was not going to thwart God’s plans. He reminded him that God is not slack concerning His promises, he strengthened David’s confidence in God at a difficult time. It was vital this anointed leader of the nation knew the care and help and love of God expressed to him through his friends.
Fifthly, in the help Jonathan provided, there is always a part of that, or any other, ministry, that can only be accomplished by God. It is recorded, that after Jonathan met with David he then left, but David remained in the wood! This is a great difficulty in seeking to help others that, even against our desires to help, we can only enter into their situation to a point but no further. (Not so our Lord who fully and completely took on our burden, and now lives by His Spirit within us! That one who is always with us through every circumstance of life.). Jonathan was unable to change much about the circumstances but he did comfort the man in his circumstances. Jonathan was the willing instrument God used to strengthen David. His action is recorded in Scripture for us as an example to act with intent to help others – As God leads, to yield ourselves as a channel of encouragement, help, and even at times to challenge or rebuke that God can use and work through.
I would encourage you, as you have been doing, over the coming days and weeks, to help, pray and encourage one another. This example of true Christian fellowship, between David and Jonathan, is one we can seek to emulate as we not only take but also make opportunity to minister to others. Like Johathan’s, ours is a ministry that should spring from a genuine love and compassion for our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and our Love of God. We read in 1 Samuel 18v1 that Jonathan loved David’s soul as his own. What a challenging example and indeed high standard of love expressed that we find between these two Old Testament characters. I don’t know about you, but as I finish my thought I find myself challenged by such a shining example. To esteem others as better than ourselves.
Jonathan strengthened David’s hand in the Lord… …because he loved his soul!