Ignite! | 1 Samuel 20:1-17 | Devotional
1 Samuel 20:1-17 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 take my life?" "Never!" Jonathan replied. "You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!" 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." Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you." So David said, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, 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. 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.' 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. 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?" "Never!" Jonathan said. "If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?" David asked, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?" "Come," Jonathan said, "let's go out into the field." So they went there together. Then Jonathan said to David: "By the LORD, the God of Israel, 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? But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 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." So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD call David's enemies to account." And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
The friendship between David and Jonathan was one of kindred spirit. The bond they shared was a healthy, deep, and binding love based on passion for God and His plan for their lives. It was a love stronger than blood, deeper than royal privilege, and threaded with true sense of justice.
The heart of Jonathan is amazing. His love for David was deeply sacrificial. He was losing so David could win. He was risking so David could reign. He was stepping aside so David could step to the front. A live David meant no throne for Jonathan. Yet, he knew that neither tradition nor lineage could stand in God’s way. He was determined to obey God rather than men.
Jonathan had the second great commandment down: Love your neighbor as yourself. No doubt that started with a heart committed to the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we start by loving God with our whole being it flows from there. So if you are having trouble with #2; start with #1.