Forever Friends

Jonathan then said to David, “Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the Lord when we said: The Lord will be a witness between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city. 1 Samuel 20:42 HCSB

Some people have friends that date back to childhood. Because my father was a minister, we moved often and I did not have the opportunity to develop close friendships with other children. Some of my closest friends are those with whom I went to seminary, with whom I worked or with whom I taught leadership training conferences. One of my best friends is Mark Miller, state Sunday School Director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We developed a close relationship while I served at Lifeway Christian Resources and at two other churches in Tennessee. We have done several Sunday School leadership conferences together and we enjoy playing golf together. I keep in touch with Mark and I am sure our friendship will last for many years to come.

Jonathan and David promised to be friends forever, and their friendship would even carry over to their children. David kept his promise. After Jonathan’s death, David found Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, and brought him to live in his court, where he enjoyed the privileges of being part of the kings’ family (2 Samuel 9:1-10).

Challenge: Love, trust, and loyalty are key ingredients for any friendship. Jonathan and David did not let adversity and challenges pull them apart. Thank God for your best friend or friends. They are gifts from God. What can you do to support and strengthen your friendships?


When the young man had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone Ezel, fell with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and wept with each other, though David wept more. 1 Samuel 20:41 HCSB

I just read an article about how Hilton hotels had a picture of two men in bed together in a travel and leisure magazine. When asked why they utilized this picture rather than two men having lunch or playing tennis together, they said they had a very diverse base of clients and they wanted to relate to everyone. They were proud of portraying homosexuality. It seems that more and more people are becoming comfortable with homosexuality, and it is more acceptable today than ever before.

Some people use this verse to support homosexuality saying that Jonathan and David had a homosexual relationship. This is not true; kissing was a common expression of greeting or parting between close friends in that culture and would not have indicated a homosexual relationship. says: The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22;20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God.

God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may develop a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, but it does not excuse the decision to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person develops a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into such desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.

Challenge: Nearly every family has been touched by homosexuality in some way. Pray for those who have chosen homosexual lifestyles and pray for family members who have been impacted by homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a greater sin than any other sin. We are called to love the sinner, not the sin. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Protecting Your Friendships

He came to the location of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, but Jonathan called to him and said, “The arrow is beyond you, isn’t it?” Then Jonathan called to him “Hurry up and don’t stop!” Jonathan’s young man picked up the arrow and returned to his master. He did not know anything, only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 1 Samuel 20:37-39 HCSB

A friend of mine was under attack by another person who was trying to imply that my friend was a liar and a cheat. I could have asked my friend to come to my office at the church, but I did not want to risk others potentially hearing our conversation so I called my friend and asked if I could meet him at his house. I was able to share with him what was being said and suggest how he could best respond to the person making the attacks on his integrity and character. I wanted to protect my friend and his reputation.

Jonathan had discovered that his father was intent on killing David and wanted to protect him from his father. Jonathan and David devised a plan to use arrows to signal to David if he was in danger and needed to flee or if he was safe and could return to the city. Jonathan must have been torn between his loyalty to his father and his loyalty to his friend. Jonathan and David’s friendship stood the test. Jonathan decided to protect David and his friendship.

Challenge: We may not have a king who is trying to kill our friends, but there are times when we need to take a stand to protect them. Friends can protect each other from gossip and lies, from temptation and sin, and from unwise decisions. What have you done to protect a friend or what has a friend done to protect you? Thank God for your faithful and trustworthy friends.

You Are the Next King

Then Jonathan removed the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt. David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the soldiers, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. 1 Samuel 18:4-5 HCSB

In today’s world we incorporate Facebook as a part of our social media whereby we invite many people to be called our “friends”. But are they truly friends or merely acquaintances ? It seems that the more “friends” someone has on Facebook the better. We can accept friends and even “unfriend” someone. In so doing, have we possibly cheapened the value of a real friend?

Jonathan and David had reason to be enemies or at least rivals. Jonathan was the heir to the throne, but David was God’s chosen one to be the next king. Instead of a rivalry between Jonathan and David, there was the closest of friendships. Jonathan demonstrated his commitment to David by giving him his royal robe and other items that David would need in battle. This illustrated that Jonathan understood and accepted that David was to be the next king and was committed to serving him even if it meant going against his father, Saul.

Challenge: A true friend is one who is trustworthy, honest, dependable, kind, and usually shares a common interest. We have to carve out time in our busy schedules to spend time with friends. Good friends are gifts from God and worth the effort and investment of our time.

Close Friends

Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 18:3 HCSB

Many times in the Bible we find that the Israelite people made a covenant with God. A covenant can be defined as a promise or a commitment to do something. When I married my wife I made a vow or a covenant to love her, to protect her, and to be faithful to her in sickness and health, in poverty and in wealth. In marriage one should seek what is best for the other person rather than what is best for himself. It seems that in today’s world there is very little commitment in marriage, much less in a friendship.

Jonathan and David were close friends and committed to each other. This Scripture records that Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. Their friendship was based on a commitment to God and to each other. This is an example of what Jesus commanded when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Christ also said, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Only Christ is capable of perfect love and friendship. He laid His life down for all of us so we could have forgiveness of sin and gain eternal life.

Challenge: Just like marriage, a friendship takes commitment, time, and effort. What are you doing to develop a deeper friendship with your closest friend? Invest in your friendship by showing kindness, being available, forgiving, and listening. Thank God for your friends and commit to pray for them regularly.

The Battle is the Lord’s

Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, cut your head off, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us.” 1 Samuel 17:46-47 HCSB

While serving as the Youth Ministry Consultant for the Missouri Baptist Convention I was responsible for a youth camp at Windermere on the Lake of the Ozarks. We had three weeks of camp that ran back to back with about 500 people each week that came to Windermere from across Missouri and outside the state. It was always an exciting time as we saw the Lord move in the lives of many teenagers. One year the theme for the camp was “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” and we used the song by the same title as our theme song.

David was not intimidated by the size of Goliath or his taunting words. He just responded that the battle belonged to the Lord and that He would hand Goliath and the whole Philistine army over to the Israelites. I can imagine Goliath just laughing when David said that he would strike him down and cut off his head. Goliath was confident in his own strength, but David was confident in the strength of the Lord and knew that He would win the battle.

Challenge: Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord if you will only turn it over to Him and allow Him to take control of your life and whatever challenges you are facing. Listen to the song “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” by Petra on YouTube at

Somebody Making Fun of You?

When the Philistine looked and saw David, he despised him because he was just a youth, healthy and handsome. He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?” Then he cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” the Philistine called to David, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts!” 1 Samuel 17:42-44 HCSB

As a young boy I was sort of the nerd in the crowd and others would make fun of me and call me names. I have observed others being ridiculed and called names as a way of being taunted. God loves everyone, even the nerds, handicapped, and those who are a little different. He wants to protect those who may not be a part of the crowd.

When David came out to fight Goliath, I can just image how Goliath must have laughed, taunted, and called David names. He even cursed David and told him that he would give his flesh to the birds of the sky and to wild beasts.

Challenge: Know that even if others make fun of you, as a Christian, God cares about you and what you are going through. He is on your side and will give you the strength needed to face the difficulties the world presents.

Lacking Confidence

David answered Saul: “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” Then David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37 HCSB

We have all heard personal accounts and tales from others and have wondered if they were really telling the truth. Their stories seemed impossible and unbelievable. The story of David killing lions and bears with his bare hands must have seemed like a fantasy story to Saul. How could a young boy kill a lion and a bear? Obviously, God gave David supernatural power, strength, and ability to be able to accomplish such a great feat.

Since David had previously experienced the protection and power of God, he was confident that God could and would protect him from the Philistine giant, Goliath. The size of Goliath did not concern David because he knew that his God was bigger and more powerful than any giant. He had confidence that God would provide the same power and ability to deliver him from the hand of Goliath.

Challenge: Do you have confidence in God? Why do people lack confidence in God? You will have more confidence as you remember how God has previously worked in your life. Keep a diary of your prayer requests and record when and how God answered each request. Periodically look back at your diary to see how God is working in your life. You can have confidence in God and what He says in His Word.

You Are Just A . . .

But Saul replied, “You can’t go fight this Philistine. You’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since he was young.” 1 Samuel 17:33 HCSB

How many times have you been surprised by the abilities of someone? Pete Maravich was one of the greatest basketball players of all time and was only 6 foot 5 inches and 197 pounds (small for basketball players). He was the point guard for LSU and other players have noted that he is the best ball handler of all times. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division 1 scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. All of his accomplishments were achieved before the three-point line and the shot clock were introduced, and he was unable to play on the varsity team as a freshman under the then-NCAA rules. Just looking at Pete Maravich, most people would not assess that he was one of the greatest basketball players of all-times.

Saul looked at David and all he saw was a small shepherd boy that was not very old and had not been trained as a warrior. Saul assumed there was no way David could go up against Goliath and stand a chance of winning the battle. David was just a youth.

Challenge: How many times do we look at someone and judge him by his outward appearance? God looks on the inside. He is more concerned about the condition of one’s heart than his physical appearance. We too should be looking beyond physical appearance. The other point of this story is that with God all things are possible.

Don’t Be Discouraged

David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!” 1 Samuel 16:13 HCSB

What is causing you to be discouraged? What “giants” are you facing in your life? We all have challenges that we face. It might be the loss of a job, a wayward child, a sickness, or even a marriage that is falling apart. Life is filled with “giants”. We live in a world that has difficulties caused by the sins of mankind. There will always be problems. Different people have varied problems and things are always changing, but we can have confidence in God who never changes. He loves us and cares about the “giants” we are facing.

Saul and the army of Israel were afraid of Goliath, the Philistine warrior. He had challenged any warrior from the Israelite army to come out and fight him. The challenge seemed overwhelming. Goliath was probably about nine feet tall. Nobody in the Israel army even came close to his size. Saul and the army were discouraged because they did not know what to do. Nobody but David had the confidence that they could defeat Goliath.

Challenge: Have the “giants” in your life caused you to be discouraged? Have you wondered what you should do? God knows exactly what to do. With Him you can defeat any “giant” that you are facing. God can provide the confidence you need to face your problem even if it seems bigger than you can handle. Ask God to help you defeat whatever “giant” you are facing today.