1 Samuel 18:1-5; 19:1-7; 20 True Friendship

After defeating Goliath the Giant, David’s life changed forever. He was now brought to serve King Saul full time which meant he could no longer tend sheep for his father. Saul placed David in charge of the army which he led with skill and success which was a surprise to many because he had never led in that capacity before.

David’s life also changed because now he would become best friends with one of Saul’s sons name Jonathan. It is with the story of David and Jonathan that we learn the true meaning of friendship.

Friendships is something we all need because none of us are made to walk this earth alone. We were created to be in relationships first with God, than with others but because we live in a virtual world where friendships are not what they should be many people do not know what a true friendship really is. So today we will see what a true friend really is and how we can be a true friend and how to find a true friend.

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5

A True Friend:

1)   Wants you to succeed

Jonathan was in line to get the throne as soon as his father Saul died. This is something Saul knew, Jonathan knew and David knew but David was also anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel.

The transaction that takes place between Jonathan and David shows that Jonathan was laying down his future Kingship to allow David to be King. He gave David the clothes of a prince signifying that David would be the next in line for the throne. David received one of the best swords along with the royal armor which would have given David the royal presence for others to see his position. Jonathan knew David did not have royal clothes he only had shepherds clothes and to serve as a leader in the Kingdom his appearance would need to change.

When people only are you’re so called friends to help them succeed then that is not a true friend. Jonathan saw how God used David to slay the giant and he knew that David was Gods anointed for the job as King. David was a special person because of the Spirit of God on his life and Jonathan, being a Godly man, could sense this and he was drawn into a friendship with David.

Jonathan what was a great leader himself and  was alright with being led by David because He knew that God was in it.

“He loved him as his own soul”

Jonathan cared so deeply about David that he treated him as if they were one.

In Matthew 22:39 Jesus said you should love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Jonathan treated David the way he would want to be treated if the roles were reverse. There could have been jealousy and tension between the two of them yet Jonathan by his demonstration showed David that no position of power would come between their friendship.

To be a good friend then you have to want the other person to succeed as much as you do. Many friendships have been lost when one person makes a team or gets a promotion and the other one does not. A true friend will be happy for them and give them the proper tools to help them succeed.

At this point in the story Saul begins to become jealous of David because of the success and admiration he is getting from the people through his victories.   His Jealousy has led to him attempting to kill David repeatedly. Now Jonathan will have to choose between believing his father, who is also the King, or his friend David.

Read 1 Samuel 19:1-7

2)   Will speak up for you

Saul let Jonathan know the plans he had to kill David so Jonathan warned David so he could hide. Jonathan went to his father on David’s behalf to remind him all the great things that David has done to make Saul more successful and to remind him that to kill an innocent man would be to go against God. Jonathan was pleading with his father for David’s and his fathers sake.  Jonathan knew what it meant for others to speak up for him because his father was going to have him killed for disobeying an order he did not know about. (1 Samuel 14:39-45)

An easy way to know if someone is your friend is to see what they are saying to others about you.If they are bad mouthing you and talking negatively about you does not mean you are not nice back but you have to know that you do not treat them as you would a close friend.

What does the person say about you when others are bad mouthing you? No one is a perfect friend because we are all sinners with our own sins but if a person is talking one way to your face and another way behind your back then they are not a friend.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

We are discussing what a good friend would look like but we have to keep in mind that many people are never going to meet these qualifications perfectly. So when they don’t meet them then we love them anyway because we want to be a good friend to them even if they are not one to us.

1 Samuel 20:1-17

Saul tried to kill David four times in one day so David fled to get away from Saul. David told Jonathan about what had happened but Jonathan was surprised because he did not know that Saul was no longer telling him his plans to kill David along with the fact that Saul swore an oath with Jonathan that he would not take David’s life. Jonathan, being David’s friend, was put in a difficult spot because of his father Saul. Jonathan  could either be close to his father and help kill David or stand with David and be ostracized by his father. David and Jonathan devise a plan to really see if Saul was trying to kill him so Jonathan would know for sure. David already knew for sure because he was the one who had the spears thrown at him. But David knew this was difficult for Jonathan to accept and so he wanted to prove to him that Saul was really trying to kill him.

Read 1 Samuel 20:4

3)   Will do whatever you need.

Jonathan basically gave David a blank check and told him to fill it in with whatever needed to be done. I do not recommend this all of the time but a true friendship can handle this open invitation to help because a true friend will not take advantage of the individual. Not many relationships can handle a person being open to do whatever the other person needs because most people are not being led by the Spirit of God but only their own flesh and therefore take advantage of other people.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

What David asked Jonathan to do could have cost him his life because Saul being the King could have anyone killed for almost any reason he chose. For many of us it is not life threatening things that we have to lay our lives down for but it is  our time, energy or even financially. A true friend always sacrifices the things that are the most valuable to them for the sake of the other.

Read 1 Samuel 20:18-23;30-38

4)   Can be Trusted

David’s wife already had to help him escape her father and now David had no one else he knew he could trust but Jonathan. In verse eight David said if he has done anything wrong that he would rather Jonathan kill him than to die by the hands of Saul.

Saul tried to shame Jonathan by talking bad about Jonathan’s mother and how Jonathan has disgraced her by his actions. Saul tried to use power and greed to see if Jonathan would switch his loyalty to David by saying things like,  “You or your kingdom will not be established as long as David lives.” Saul also tried to demean Jonathan by not mentioning his name but only called him the son of a perverse woman. When people want to make you less than you are they stop using your name and start calling you by other names. We have all been called and have called people by other names and what we are really doing is making them into something that they are not.

Saul then ordered Jonathan to bring David in and when Jonathan questioned him he was almost killed. Then Saul tried to Kill Jonathan for a second time with a spear so there was no more convincing Jonathan that his father was set on killing David.

Jonathan could now warn David about his father’s intentions but if Jonathan would have lied to David and told him that Saul was not going to kill him then David would have been put in harms way. Jonathan also could have told Saul where to find David and Saul could have sent armies to go and get him.

Jonathan was given sensitive information by David and he was able to keep it to himself. A true friend will always guard the information you have given them to protect you.

Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Just because you know something about someone that does not mean you need to share it. David’s life was literally in the hands of his friend Jonathan and he knew no one else he could trust. Many people have been hurt by those who said they would keep a secret and then they went and told others. When you trust someone and let them know things about you that no one else knows it is difficult to trust again and that is why many people are guarded and do not have true friends.

The Lord has sent you away  (VS 22)

Even with all of this happening because of  the evilness of Saul, Jonathan realizes that nothing happens that God does not allow to happen. This is difficult for us to imagine sometimes because God allows evil (not causes it) and yet He uses it to fulfill His will. (Just like the cross) If you have been hurt by others you can know that God is using it in your life, if for not other reason, than to  develop you into being more like Christ (Romans 8:28) You can be like Joseph who said “what you meant for harm God meant for good”. (Genesis 50:20)

Read 1 Samuel 20:40-42

5)   Is Vulnerable

Jonathan did two things when he laid down his weapons. He first made himself vulnerable to David and he also let David know that no harm would come to him. Remember, David had already had attempts on his life and so Jonathan knew he needed to put David’s mind at rest.

David and Jonathan were also vulnerable to each other because they allowed each other to express emotions of heartbreak and sadness. They knew this was goodbye because of Saul and David promised Jonathan that when he took over the Kingdom his family would not be killed. These were fighting men who had each had victories in battle that were unprecedented yet they allowed their true emotions to be shown for each other.  These guys were not wimps but this was a very emotional and confusing time in both of their lives. Because of the jealousy of Saul it was ruining their friendship and they knew they had to separate in order for David to live.


We all need a Jonathan in our lives or we need to be a Jonathan to someone else because there will always be a Saul who is destroying relationships.

Do you want others to succeed? Do you speak up for others? Do you do whatever they need or just what you need? Can you be trusted with information that could destroy them? Can they be vulnerable with you without you thinking less of them?

If you answered yes to those questions then you can be a true friend to someone. Who is it that you need to be a true friend to?

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