A Friendship That Changed A Nation

There is an epidemic in our world that troubles me, and it’s not a disease or something that is happening within politics. Something that I see all the time when I meet with people is an epidemic of loneliness.

I talk to and counsel a lot of different people within my  job. One thing I have noticed is that, as life gets busy, we tend to lose touch with the people who mean the most to us. Many times, we find ourselves just floating in the sea of casual friendships. Yes, we have some people in our lives with mutual interests, like sports or careers. But what about the people we’d call if our marriages were falling apart or we were stuck at a dead end and didn’t know what else to do with our lives? 

We have lost the art of developing Covenant Relationships. Making friends used to be really easy for me. Things changed after college though. People get married. They have kids. Our grass insists on growing every week. We try to juggle providing for and also staying connected to our families. Then time goes by, and we start using the word friend to refer to people we talk to every other week. 

What we lack is our tribe, a posse, a group of guys/ girls who know our lives and are fun to be with, but they also have no problem challenging us if we need it. You know, the covenant, “ride or die,” and “always there for you” kind of friends.

As we’ve been reading through the life of David, one thing that stands out is a special friendship that David had in his life. It’s a friendship that wasn’t based on interests or hobbies but was based on matters of the heart. Without this friendship, I don’t know where David would’ve ended up. His friendship with Jonathan, King Saul’s son, is my favorite example of Covenant Friendship. 

Jonathan was a man of great spirit. He was a bit of a wild man, and something about him seemed to draw boldness out of others (1 Samuel 14). He was a man who was all in and he made others want to be all in too. 

Right after David killed Goliath, Jonathan was standing nearby as David was talking to King Saul. They didn’t know each other yet, but David was telling his life story to the king. Jonathan was taken with the spirit of the man, and he immediately made a covenant with him. Jonathan obviously wasn’t a man to waste time.

Read: 1 Samuel 18:1-4 

Notice that Jonathan was drawn to David and to the Spirit of God in his life and loves him for these reasons first. There is a lesson for us here. It is natural for our friendships to be largely about the things we do. We can have hobby buddies, work friends, and friends we tailgate with. Yet covenant friendships have to be built on something more, on heart, purpose, and matters of destiny. If we want friends who mesh with us at heart, those with whom we can genuinely share our lives, we can’t settle for friendships that are about nothing more than a few hours of fun and distraction. We must do as Jonathan did – find men/women who are devoted to God’s calling on their lives and develop connections with them. 

As you read more about this relationship, you will see over and over again how Jonathan sacrificed to help David reach God’s purpose. In fact, Jonathan glady submitted his claim for the throne. Jonathan did all he could to help David live the life of God’s calling. This is a hallmark of covenant friendship. 

True friends, covenant friends, instill faith and strength in each other. 

How do we live this out? Is it impossible to have this type of relationship? No. It is within reach. We just have to commit ourselves to the principle that we cannot ascend to our best selves or God-given purpose if we walk alone. We need a Jonathan, and we need to be a Jonathan to others. 

Journal Questions:
  1. Take stock of your friendships. Are they shallow, temporary, and unfulfilling? Do they lead you into something other than God’s path for your life? Or do they inspire you to pursue Jesus? Do you trust your friends, connect with them at a heart/spirit level, and rely on their wisdom and their example?
  2. Is there a way to take the casual friendships you have now and deepen them so they look something like the friendship between Jonathan and David? 
  3. What would it look like for you to make a covenant with a close friend? Who would it look like for you to help a friend find strength in God? Looking at Jonathan and David, how would you live their examples out with your friends?

Prayer Prompt:
“Father, I know that You show us relationships like David and Jonathan for a reason. I know that You desire us to have friendships that push us to You. Please begin to reveal relationships that I have that can become covenant friendships. If I don’t currently have any, please begin to bring a few people who can be that type of friend for me. Also, help me to be that friend for others. Help me to be a friend that encourages and instills faith in those You’ve brought along my path.”

Want to see more of their friendship? Read 1 Samuel 19, 1 Samuel 20, & 1 Samuel 23.
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