September 18, 2022Bible Reading
September 18, 2022
Jonathan and David: No Rivalry
Rivalry is found throughout the Bible. In fact, sibling rivalry extends nearly to the beginning of time that involved the first two brothers that the Bible mentions, Cain and Abel. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the noun “rival” as “one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess; one striving for competitive advantage.”
More than likely, in our personal lives, we can identify persons or groups of people that were our rivals either in school, in sports, at work, who perhaps exhibited common rival behaviors like “trash talking.” Most of us would prefer cooperation over rivalry.
A story in the Bible found in 1 Samuel 18 involves King Saul, David, and Jonathan. There was a rivalry between King Saul and David, which was heightened by the action of women who came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul and sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7, NIV).
I can just imagine the jealousy and indignation surging up within King Saul. You probably felt that feeling, too. Someone else is receiving more accolades than you. Someone else is getting that promotion over you.
The Bible says in v. 8 that “Saul was very angry.” He was so angry— to the point of trying to kill David with a spear the next day. His anger eventually turned into hatred for David, and he feared his enemy because the Lord was with him. (1 Samuel 18:28-29, NIV)
King Saul wanted his oldest son Jonathan to kill David, but Jonathan denied his father’s request. David and Jonathan should have been rivals, competing for the throne. However, Jonathan becomes David’s ride or die kind of a friend.
What naturally should have been a competition resulted in a covenant between the two. The Bible says that "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself." (1 Samuel 18:1 & 3, NIV) Before these two men even exchanged words with each other, they loved each other in the sense of being like comrades on a battlefield, willing to lay down their lives for each other.
David was King Saul’s ride or die, King Saul should have been David’s ride or die, but Jonathan and David became ride or die friends. Jonathan proved it by giving David his robe he was wearing, along with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt! He literally gave his shirt off his back! Yet, this was more than mere generosity. This was humility from a true friend.
Jonathan was acknowledging David as the successor to his father’s throne. One day he will be king of Israel. He thought more of his friend than he thought of himself. He forfeited kingship because he valued friendship.
That’s the kind of friend that you need to be to the friends that God has placed in your life. Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)
Let’s get rid of our competitive spirit. Let’s lay aside our envy or jealousy. Let’s submit to the will of God and be a true friend who is willing to lay down our lives for others like Jonathan and Jesus ultimately did.
By: Rev. Scott A. Gray, Associate Pastor, Lighthouse Church
Today’s Scripture: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)
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