New Hope Notes

Jonathan: Everybody Needs A True Friend
The Ohana Factor

Pastor Jon Burgess
May 20, 2018 - W1820

[Video – Scene from the Church Office]

“I needed to turn in a requisition request to Priscilla for youth camp. She said to just put it on her desk, but there was no room so I taped it to the wall. Next thing, everyone else taped their requisition forms to the wall.

“Priscilla comes in to her office for an important Budget Counsel Approval meeting and her office wall is a mess—covered with requisition forms! No one admits doing it and she’s upset and starts yelling because she has just ten minutes before the meeting starts!

“Priscilla has always had my back; good friends are always hard to find, so even though I had a lot to do, I helped her clean up. I learned about friendship today!”

[End video]

In The Ohana Factor series, we will meet a new biblical hero each week who will show us the kind of people we need to be, the kind of people we need in our lives, and to be a true friend with each other because…

Proverbs 18:24 NIV says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.The longer we live it seems that true friends are harder to find. We come to understand that there will be only a handful of true friends in our lifetime—someone we can count on no matter what!

Mom always told me, “If you want a friend, you have to be a friend. You have to be friendly.”

So we need to examine ourselves and ask, “How can my life line up with the true friend that Jonathan was with David?”

We pick up this story in the royal courts of Israel just after David had slain Goliath and is saying to King Saul and his son Jonathan, “My God is the one who gives me victory.” King Saul is realizing that God has chosen this young man to take his place. However, David would never have made it in God’s call on his life without his true friend Jonathan!

To Become A True Friend…

1. I Must Move Past The Superficial.

Superficial is surface level, not deep. Most of our interactions are on a surface level and most of the people we call friends could qualify as superficial, supplemental, and surface—they don’t really know you and you really don’t know them. If you want a true friend (someone who will be with you through thick and thin), you must go beyond the surface.

Jonathan and his armor bearer had just conquered an entire Philistine army, yet no one was talking about Jonathan; no one was talking about his father King Saul, but everybody was now talking about David, who had just come from the shepherd fields, probably still dressed in his shepherd’s tunic! He’s never been in the royal courts before, but is starting a whirlwind of events—from nobody knowing David, to now, everybody in the land knowing him!

What happened next is amazing: Jonathan recognizes David’s faith in God as echoing his own faith. He hadn’t heard anyone talk about God like that until he met David…

I Samuel 18:1-4 NIV says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.”

Of all the people in the realm, Jonathan should have been the most adversarial to David because he is King Saul’s son, the rightful heir to the throne. But instead of despising and mocking David, Jonathan is saying, “I recognize God in you. I’m not jealous. I’m not in competition. I want to support what you are saying.”AndJonathan has joy and takes off his royal robes and clothes David in them; takes his royal weaponry and gives them to David and makes a covenant with David (exchanging things of value). In those days, the Philistines controlled all the metal work and made sure the Israelites didn’t have any swords, except one for King Saul and one for Jonathan. Here, Jonathan is handing over his sword to David meaning, “I recognize God in you.” 

King Saul sees this exchange as unmistakable confirmation that his son sees what he sees and wishes were not true—that God has passed over Saul and has chosen David to be the next king of Israel. Even against his father’s wishes, Jonathan becomes a true friend to David.

A true friend is able to see your weakness and is willing to help you succeed. The only weapon David knew how to use at that point was a sling. Jonathan not only gives David his weapons, but also teaches him to use them and trains him for war. Instead of comparing himself with David, Jonathan gives the very best that he has to see that David succeed!

Social media has made people less sociable and less capable of experiencing deep friendships and strong connections. We accept the conviction of the Lord saying, “I need to spend less time on these screens and more time building relationships with actual flesh and blood people.”

2. Instead Of Being Defensive Or Offensive, Choose To Be Supportive.

Things have changed dramatically for David and he is no longer welcome in the courts of the king. In fact, King Saul throws his spear at David and tries to pin him to the wall! David is running for his life…

1 Samuel 20:1-4 NIV says, “Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, ‘What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?’ ‘Never!’ Jonathan replied. ‘You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!’ But David took an oath and said, ‘Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.’ Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.’

Jonathan could have been defensive when David told him “Your father is trying to kill me,” and said, “You’re calling my dad a murderer?!” Picture your current friend’s parent trying to kill you. Would that put a strain on your relationship? If someone attacks my parent, even if it’s a good friend, I will stand up for my parent and be offended that they would dare accuse my parent of doing such a thing!

Yet, David is spot on with his wisdom, discerning that Saul is after his head! Jonathan is sticking up for his dad, but instead of being defensive or offensive, he supports David and says, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

Jonathan is actually saying, “I will die to see you live, to see God’s will worked out in your life.” Jonathan knows that David will be the next king and positions himself in the most dangerous place possible—between David and Saul!

3. Receive And Give A Love That Is Sacrificial.

To be supportive as a true friend often means we will be put in uncomfortable situations in order to see the will of God happen in the life of our friend. We cannot play it safe or stay on the sidelines. We cannot just simply say, “I’ll pray for you, brother.” We must stand in the gap for our friend even if there might be people who will no longer like us.

1 Samuel 20:14-17 NIV says, “14‘But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.’

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.’ 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.”

Jonathan is literally saying, “God, you take care of my father because I want your will to be done in my friend’s life.” He is standing in the gap between his father Saul and his friend David.

A recent study done by Clinical Psychologist Dan Montgomery talks about the four levels of relationship:

Facade level - your public appearance. (Social media, small talk, weather, sports, earthquakes, lava, families, state of the world, getting acquainted.)

Acquaintance level - you reveal some sentiments and opinions, risk offense. (Things that are touchy, such as, politics, religion, sex, marriage.)

Friendship level - you become emotionally vulnerable. (Begin to share feelings, looking for compatibility, empathy and building mutual trust.)

Intimacy level – you give full disclosure. (Come clean with not just the good stuff but also the dark side—the memories, wounds, and reflections—that make you who you are! This may cause you to feel shame, but you share your heart’s desires because you trust this person implicitly!)

We all need someone we can be completely honest with—share all the bad times and trials and take to the Lord in prayer. If we don’t have that, we will never know the freedom and covering that God has meant for us!

Our culture is so confused that on social media where they’re supposed to be at facade level, some posts are at intimacy level. Psychologically, it is destroying our relationships because things that should be kept secret for intimate relationships are being posted worldwide for all to see. Voyeurism is being fed when people are not being smart about what they’re sharing and with whom they’re sharing.

It’s ironic that in a world full of iPhones, iMacs, iPads (so many I’s) and so many selfies, we don’t have us’s and we’s. We should reclassify Facebook as an anti-social network because we are measuring self-worth by the numbers of followers and likes, while ignoring those who actually love us. This is a generation of media overstimulation.

In this age of going virtual and digital, I’m asking that we go back to analog and old school with a pursuit of true friendships—that we would actually spend time with people over a cup of coffee or musubi, talking story and getting to know each other. Jesus said in…

John 15:12-15 NIV says, “12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

A true friend will always lead us back to the fact that Jesus is our true friend. Know that Jesus crossed time and space and is looking for you and saying, “You will never have a better friend than Me.” The best way to build friendships is to be sure we’re first friends with Jesus Christ.

Study Questions

1. What level of friendship are you most comfortable with?

2. Are there times you consider yourself a true friend?

3. How many people can you count as true friends?

4. What do you consider social media’s good and bad points?

5. How do you spend most of your time on your phone?