"After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king's son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David"
(1 Samuel 18:1, NLT)
"There are ‘friends' who destroy each other,
But a real friend sticks closer than a brother"
(Proverbs 18:24, NLT)
Doing Bible Studies on the life of David is very interesting. From 1 Samuel chapter 8 onward, David acquired a best friend and a worst enemy at the same time [It just seems to happen that way, right? Jesus had dear Peter but He also had traitor Judas. Paul had faithful Timothy but he also had worldly Demas]. Saul became David's worst enemy, hunting him down like a hunter with a gun looking for a deer. On the other hand, Jonathan, Saul's son, became the friend who "sticks closer than a brother." Jonathan even took a spear from his own father to defend his friend David against Saul. Jonathan was also the friend who challenged David to do the right things, helped him in ways no one else could, and provided a listening ear when David was in despair. Jonathan had witnessed David's victory over Goliath and saw David as someone he admired and wanted to know.
At the same time, Jonathan knew intuitively that David was destined to replace his father on the throne. "You are going to be the king of Israel…" said Jonathan to David (see 1 Samuel 23:17). He knew that he himself would not be the one to rule Israel, yet he didn't wait to start serving the next-king. Like David, Jonathan was bold and he maintained a strong relationship with God (see how Jonathan displayed his courage and bravery in 1 Samuel 14:1-15 just like how David showed his' when he fought Goliath. Both believe and relied on God's strength!). No wonder the Bible tells us that their hearts were chained together (see 1 Samuel 20:42)!
The friendship between Jonathan and David is one of the strongest man-to-man relationships recorded in the Bible. The bond between them was rooted in their faith and commitment to God. It grew stronger when tested, and it could not be broken by circumstances or even the threat of death. Until the end of his life, David honored his covenant with Jonathan. You see, even though David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), God still wanted him to have friendships with others. God is enough, He is all. But He still chooses to use others to speak to us, comfort us, and guide us. In a sense, God revealed Himself to David through his friend, Jonathan. Did David really need Jonathan? Absolutely! Tough times require close friends close by.
Since this article is for men and to encourage men to be men, I want to share this truth: Down deep at the core, every man needs a man friend and a brother to lock arms with. Michael E. McGill observed, "To say that men have no intimate friends seems on the surface too harsh, and it raises quick objections from most men. But the data indicates that it is not far from the truth. Even the most intimate of friendships (of which there are few) rarely approach the depth of disclosure a woman commonly has with other women… men, who neither bare themselves nor bear one another, are buddies in name only." Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror said that while most men have so-called friends, "hardly anyone has a friend he can call at 2.00 A.M." So, how can we find a friend like David? What makes your soul knit to the soul Jonathan? Stu Weber, author of Tender Warrior, list out four (4) principles of masculine friendship:
#1 Share Values. "You have many friends in the course of your life, but you will never have a soul mate who does not walk with your God… David and Jonathan were committed to the same God. They loved the same kingdom. They marched to the same tune… They didn't necessarily have the same skills or values or talents or bends. But they had the same values. That's at the core of all meaningful friendships, particularly man-to-man. At the core level, at the passion level, at the vision level, they were the same."
#2 Unselfish Love. "I want you to notice something else in this David-Jonathan friendship. Something that isn't there. It's conspicuous by its absence. Jonathan stripped himself of his royal robe and gave it to David along with his sword, bow, and belt. What's missing from this picture? What's not there? Jealousy. There is none. There is absolutely no competition or comparison between the two men… Friends stand by unselfishly, and we draw strength from that."
#3 Deep Royalty. "Jonathan's loyalty was so deep he was even willing to defend his friend when face-to-face with his father, the king. Loyalty is absolutely essential to a friendship… A man-to-man friendship says I'll never walk out on you. Barring unrepentant sin against the Lord God, you'll never be able to do anything that will repulse me or break our fellowship."
#4 Real Transparency. "David and Jonathan were not ashamed to embrace and weep together. They were that genuine with one another. They were that unconcerned with their ‘image.' They expressed their emotions with utter and total transparency… What defines our friendship is the telling of ourselves… Boys do need to learn to be men. But being a man does not mean concealing your emotions. Part of being a man is real transparency."
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.