Bigger Picture: Jonathan

1 Samuel 20

We pick up in 1 Sam 20 right after we see Saul layed out prophesying at Ramah, the place where David was in hiding with Samuel and where it seems that no one can go without being overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. 

Do you think there are places like this today? Places where you approach and are changed? Maybe not to this degree, but to a degree where someone asks something different about your life just by you bing there?

So at this point, Jonathan, King Saul’s son,  has talked to his dad, and he thinks things are good, but Saul is clearly not making Jonathan privy to the plan of hunting down and killing David? 

Why is Saul trying to kill David? David keeps succeeding and has the favor of the Lord. Saul cannot handle it. David’s existence of faithfulness offends Saul to the point of him feeling the need to take revenge. Have you ever wondered why someone seems more blessed than you…Do you think saul would have been so offended if he had realized that God had offered him the same blessing? Do you think it was possible for Saul to honor God through supporting David’s life? 

In this chapter we are going to see intense family dynamic among Jonathan, David, and Saul. Saul is hunting, Jonathan is hurting, and David is running. We see Jonathan honor God through supporting David’s life. 

1 Sam. 20

Vs. 1-4

David approaches Johathan to get the scoop! Jonathan is like,”You are good, if you weren’t. I would totally know.” David assures him this is not the case and suggests that Jonathan doesn’t know because Saul knows that they are besties. Jonathan vows to David that he is on his team!

Vs. 5-7

David is supposed to be at the celebration of the new moon. The new moon, or beginning of each month, was celebrated with special sacrifices and blowing of trumpets. Number 10:10 gives us a reference to this. David is supposed to be there, but makes it clear that its probably a good idea for him to not show up. In fact, if he leaves for 3 days and Saul is angrily looking for him, this is a good indication that he wants to kill him. 

Vs. 8-11

David is heartbroken and confused. He truly does not know what the heck he did wrong and he is begging Jonathan…He is saying, “If I did anything wrong, kill me. Don’t turn your back on me and if you feel like you need to due to something I did then just take my life.” Jonathan assures him, “Wouldn’t I tell you if I knew anything?” David believes him and then follows up with, “Wait, what if your dad does want to kill me? How am I supposed to find out?” They then move out to the field where David will be hiding to hatch a plan. Lets see what they come up with. 

Vs. 12-17

Jonathans gives David the run down, “When I know, I will let you know so that you can run in safety.” And Jonathan sort of blessed david. He does this end of life speech…and it is crazy. It says in vs. 16 that Jonathan makes a covenant with David. This is where we see Jonathan depart completely from the ways of his father. He supports David to the point of saying, “I know you are blessed by God and there will be a time when the Lord cuts off everyone of your enemies, but will you remember me and not cut your love from my house. I am not your enemy!” 

Jonathan is not offended by losing his kingship, he is blessed by being a part of God’s work in Davids life. 

Vs. 18-23

We have a plan. David is to wait in the field where apparently Jonathan practices shooting his bow and arrow. Once he knows, he will shoot some arrows out near David and will then call to the “Ball Boy” (I imagine the person who shags tennis balls during a match) “ON THIS SIDE!” means we are on the same team. “IT’S BEYOND YOU!” means…its beyond us, run!

But before they finish this conversation, Jonathan reminds him one more time…Don’t cut off your love from me and my house when it comes down to it. I love you, I am not against you.

Vs. 24-29

In 26 we see an inner dialogue from Saul, “Maybe he just didn’t do his ritual cleansing so he couldn’t come.” Curiosity gets the best of him on day two and he asks Jonathan – and here we go..

Vs 30-31

Saul shames David’s Dad, Jessi. He shames Jonathan and Jonathan’s mom, And he threatens to withhold the kingdom from him…and ends the rant with a war cry. “Bring him to me for he shall surely die!”

Vs. 32-34

Jonathan asks why…and then he is on the receiving side of the spear throw.  Notice how vs. 34 ends. Jonathan was grieved for David because his father had disgraced him. 

When is the last time that you were grieved for someone else because they had been disgraced…maybe recently? We tend to fight for ourselves, we stand behind #1 (us) ready to fight to the death, but here we see a spirit of holiness in Jonathan. Jonathan doesnt care about HIM holding a place of kingship. He sees the bigger picture and KNOWS that David is the one who is meant to rule. 

Vs. 35-42

They carry out the plan. I can just see Jonathan yelling out,”Hurry, be quick! Do not stay!” and I can imagine David’s heart sinking. 

Jonathan sends the boy home with his weapons and waits to talk to David. Why do you think it is important for us to know that David is weeping the most? God has called David to a role that feels impossibly hard to come by. I can imagine David asking God, “Are you serious? How are we going to pull this off!?” 

We see Jonathan encouraged David, “I’m on your side, our offspring will be knit like we are…no evil will come between us.” What a gift to have Jonathan. 

Let’s look at Jonathan. Jonathan could have been right at his dad’s heels barking orders for David to be killed. We know the Lord did a work in between David and Jonathan, because frankly, how else could Jonathan have lived with knowing that some shepherd boy would take his place as king?  We always focus on David, but without Jonathan, Davids story may have looked a lot different. 

How often are we willing to let someone else succeed? How often are we willing to sacrifice “success” because we are willing to do what God is calling us to do. I think more times in our lives we are asked to live like Jonathan than to live like David. Only a few of us will have positions of leadership like David has, but all of us are capable of playing a role in life like Jonathan. We just have to look beyond ourselves to see the bigger picture.

What do you think?

-Sarah

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