Occasionally in life we have to choose- living for ourselves or living for Jesus.
1 Samuel 20:24-42
24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty.26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.” 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”
28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”
32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.
34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”
41 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.
42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.
In the book of Luke, Jesus states that anyone who does not give up everything they have, can not be his disciple (Luke 14:33). There are few more difficult sayings of Jesus than this. For me, everything means anything holding us back from following Christ. It means following him, worshipping him and serving him wholeheartedly. This may sometimes involve making certain sacrifices in order to do so.
In this particular story, Jonathan was in the middle of a conflict. His father, Saul, wants to kill David because he sees him as a threat to his kingship. But Jonathan knows that David has done no wrong, so he comes up with a plan to send a message to David in case Saul intends to do him any harm. There is a feast and David is not there. When Saul asks where David is, Jonathan makes up a story. Saul sees through it and flies into a rage. He demands Jonathan bring David to him to die. When Jonathan asks why, Saul even throws a spear at David, intending to kill him. This was a direct command from Saul to his son to conspire with him to kill David.
Jonathan was faced with a terrible choice- to obey his Father’s will or the Lord’s will. He asks Saul what has David done- a question to which Saul had no answer. What David had done was kill Goliath and damage Saul’s real enemy, the Philistines. It was clear through these events that David was God’s choice for king. Jonathan decides to choose to follow the path that God wants instead of what his father wants. He sends the secret message to David and they wept together. David had no desire to harm Saul, nor to destroy Saul’s relationship with his son. This was all Saul’s doing. Saul had made it unavoidable.
Saul lost his kingdom because he turned away from God. He couldn’t let go of his grudge against David in order to follow him. Jonathan, however, chose the way that God wanted. He chose God’s future king over the wishes of his own father. Jonathan is a great example of choosing God’s way no matter how difficult life is for us.
Head: Why do you think Jonathan chose to save David instead of following his father’s orders?
Heart: What things do you struggle to let go of in order to follow Jesus? How does Jonathan’s example in this passage make you feel about your own struggle?
Hands: How can you take action to triumph over this struggle and give up everything for Jesus?
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for sending us someone who did give up everything to follow you- Jesus. He took all of our sins on himself and his sacrifice and resurrection. Nothing that we do can ever make up for this. We want to give up our lives for you, but so many times there are things that hold us back. Please help us to address and work through these things. Whenever we fall short, help us to stand up again and reset us on the path of living for your glory. Amen.
A song to listen to: Take My Life