Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Real Friendship!!

Readings for the Day
2 Samuel 1, Psalm 140, Matthew 13

Verses for the Day
25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

So begins the book of 2 Samuel. The era of King Saul is over as he is injured to the point of death, and asks a young soldier, an Amalekite, to finish the job. When David learns that this man did not think twice about killing the King, the Lord's anointed One, he had him put to death. Most likely the man did not show honor to King Saul, and handled the matter in a nonchalant way. Though David had plenty of reason to be glad King Saul had met his end, but he has so much respect for the office of King, he calls for the daughters of Israel to weep and grieve.

Meanwhile more personal to David is the loss of his best friend Jonathan, King Saul's son. Jonathan and David made a personal covenant in 1 Samuel 18:3, "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself."

In Samuel 20, David leaves the King's table, which makes King Saul furious. So furious he wants to get David and kill him. He even hurls a sword at his son, when he tries to defend David. He and Jonathan make a pact that if David is to flee from his father, he will shoot three arrows past a young man. If he shoots the arrow behind the young man, David is safe. When David sees the three arrows behind the young man, he comes back and finds Jonathan. The text says this about their reunion,

"After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most."

So now we see the context of David's words in 2 Samuel 1, when he learns of Jonathan's death in battle. Some interpreters have insinuated that the above verses point to a homosexual relationship. But this is clearly reading too much into the text. We know David and Jonathan both have children through women, and we have the story of David and beautiful Bathsheba. The usual Hebrew words for an intimate sexual relationship are glaringly absent.

This is a case of how we often try to read back into a text something that is simply not there. We always have to be careful we don't bring our own agenda in when we interpret the bible. All kinds of horrible things have happened with the perpetrators citing the bible as the justification for their actions. E.g. Slavery This is why as students of the bible we need to learn how to interpret the bible in the context it is written.

The bottom line is that Jonathan and David had a very special friendship, so much so that he calls him his brother that he loved as much as himself. All too often men don't have close relationships with other men who they could call a brother. Men need other men they can confess their sins to, pray with, and be encouraged. Men often stay isolated and avoid close friendships. But the scripture says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

David and Jonathan were sharpened by their relationship with each other. Who do you have in your life who makes you a better man or woman? Who encourages you to be a more committed follower of Christ? I believe God wants all of us to have a Jonathan in our lives. I hope you find someone like him.

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