Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Jonathan

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

Isn’t it funny how things just seem to come together in your life at different points in time to reinforce certain lessons in your mind? In my recent readings through 1 Samuel, I’ve been encouraged to think about friendship again.

David and Jonathan were friends. Fiercely loyal, loving, and dedicated to the good of the other, despite dire circumstances. They were immediately drawn to each other as men of kindred spirits, once Jonathan saw David slay Goliath. Both of them were men of valour and courage, whose love for each other remained loyal, even when it would have been easy to give up.

David reflected on the importance of friendship in Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.

David says, the one who is approved by God is the one who does not surround himself with bad influences. In other words, his friends are full of wise counsel and godliness, quick to speak the word of the Lord.

Last night at prayer meeting, we read Proverbs 1. There David’s son Solomon also reflects the importance of one’s friends in a similar way:

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; … we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse’–my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.

Again, this powerful truth is illustrated. The people you surround yourself with will influence you. Only the proud person thinks ‘I can hang out with whoever I want and I won’t be changed by them.’ That’s an unbiblical thought.

I was saddened a little while ago when I got to meet some friends of a friend of mine. His friends were spiritually (and otherwise) immature. Their conversation was godless and irreverent. I was saddened, because I was made to wonder what that said about my friend. Friendships and allegiances speak something about you, and they will inevitably influence you.

Friendships are important to God. In the New Testament James says that ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God.’

All that to say this: Are you intentional about your friendships? What types of people do you surround yourself with? Are you careful to seek out friends who will be an influence for good in your life rather than bad?

Are you deliberate in trying to be a good friend to those you are already friends with? Do you redeem conversations and turn them godward? 

A good friend is a good influence. Are you a good friend? Are you seeking them?

Which Wisdom?

Saul is a foil character. A foil character exists as a backdrop against which the positive traits of the protagonist may be displayed. It’s bizarre that Saul would be one, because everyone in his day thought he was going to be the hero. It’s also bizarre because he is supposed to be the hero: he is the king of Israel!

In 1 Samuel 12, Saul experienced great victory in battle against the enemies of God’s people. All the people showed great faith in him as their leader, and the kingdom was renewed under him. 1 Samuel 13, however, tells a different story.

When the people lose faith in Saul (because they are astronomically outnumbered), Saul does the ‘wise’ thing from a human perspective. He goes ahead with the sacrifice that they needed to carry out before heading into battle. He knows there’s a time to act, and this is it, and the prophet who was supposed to do it isn’t here. It would be foolish to wait. Waiting would mean less people to fight with you. Waiting would mean looking silly as a king. Waiting would mean people would lose even more confidence in you.

When Samuel arrives, he pronounces judgement on the king, who has acted ‘foolishly,’ and announces that he will lose more than the battle–he will lose his throne.

Saul is the foil for Jonathan in the next chapter. Jonathan looks at the drastic situation (impossible by human standards), and says, ‘Hey, why not try something great and see if the Lord will bless it?’ So he grabs his armour bearer, and the two of them head off to take on the Philistines all on their own. That seems foolish–or at least foolhardy. 

But sure enough, brave Jonathan, who ventures everything on God, is blessed! They show up and immediately strike down about twenty men, cause panic in the Philistine camp, and lead the whole charge for the Israelite army. Even the chicken-hearted soldiers who fled from his father’s poor leadership came out of the caves and graves where they were hiding to follow Jonathan. 

Man’s wisdom resulted in condemnation. Saul rushed ahead and did what seemed wise from his vantage point. Jonathan examined the situation, but calculated how the Lord may be pleased to work, despite how things looked. He made the ‘foolish’ decision of risking much on God.

May God give me grace to know that kind of wisdom!

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