I Samuel 18: My Best Friend is Jesus.
What a picture of comparisons and contrasts this chapter reveals. Comparison provides contrast, and contrast provides clarity. We will begin to see clearly the character of these three individuals: King Saul, David and Jonathan.
David does not create problems for King Saul, instead he reveals the deep- seated problems which lie within Saul’s flawed character. David’s character is almost like a mirror which when Saul looks in it he sees all that he, himself, is not.
Let’s define some words which we need to differentiate:
Envy- a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by or in conjunction with desires for possessions or qualities of another person.
Jealousy is defined as an apprehension of losing affection of a person or a position one holds to another.
Malice is the intention or desire to do evil to another.
Quite often malice arises out envy which leads to jealousy and anger which causes one to strike out with the intention to harm and can even lead to murder. In fact murder in the first degree is proved when there is “malice aforethought.” Jesus said anger is often the first steps toward murder. And remember malice can murder a person’s reputation, as words are fueled by envy, jealousy and hatred. We see this in our political system today like never before. The fear of losing power and position create jealousy which gels into malice – the intention to do evil to another.
Let’s look at love, popularity and pride, envy, jealousy, anger and fear.
I Corinthians 13 is the chapter which describes the highest type of love: “ Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Now we read: “Then Jonathan loved him (David) as his own soul.” Many have tried to pervert this as a homosexual love. But God has made clear this type of relationship is sinful as is adultery and fornication among heterosexuals. God would not only not approve these types of relationships, He clearly condemns those types of relationships in both the Old and New Testament. There is an interesting verse tucked away in Titus 1: 15: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” We have come to a time and a place in our culture dominated by unbelievers in which nothing is pure.
Jonathan as the son of King Saul is a prince, a king in waiting. He is also a valiant warrior and a man of character. He is probably 20 -25 years older than David. What he does here in stripping himself of his princely robe, his armor and sword, his belt and bow is a most interesting picture. Jonathan made a covenant with David from that day forward. This is a rich illustration which provides us with two spiritual pictures. First if we think about the passage of Philippians 2 which describes what the Lord Jesus did. “ Who being in the very form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made of Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of a men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2: 6-11) We can see this as an illustration of the Lord Jesus in Jonathan’s actions. The Lord Jesus left His throne in heaven and stripped Himself to give us His robe of righteousness for our filthy rags of sin; and His breastplate of righteous, His armor to protect us from evil. And in becoming a sacrifice for our sins, the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world and established a covenant with us who believe.
But I find most interesting is I can also see myself in Jonathan as I come to recognize in David this young man from Bethlehem, a picture of the Lord Jesus. He has slain the enemy, the giant who represents the devil and death the weapon of the devil. His victory over the enemy who held us as prisoners has freed us and it is for freedom which Christ set us free. What did Jonathan do in response to the glorious victory which David had won, which Jonathan knew he could not win? He stripped himself of all his badges of royalty. He yields the throne of his heart on which he himself as sat to David. He divested himself of all the things of which he could boast in.
The Lord Jesus’s victory over sin and Satan should encourage us, even compel us, to strip ourselves of all that we might boast of and lay it at the feet of the Lord Jesus our Savior, Lord and Master out of love and devotion to Him.
But don’t miss this- the Lord Jesus wants not only to save us from our sins, He wants to be our best and most intimate friend. My best friend is Jesus!
When Jonathan gave his robe, sword, bow, armor and belt to David, he was establishing a covenant with David not only as a friend, but the One who would take his rightful place as king, and Jonathan would be under his command. Have you surrendered to the Lord Jesus the kingship of your life? Have you placed yourself under His rule? Is He your best friend?
Saul places David over the men of war. But the popularity of David soon is to surpass that of King Saul’s.
POPULARITY AND PRIDE
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.” (Proverbs 27:21)
Just as the crucible and the furnace test the purity of silver and gold, praise tests and prepares people for what God has planned for them. Will praise humble you or puff you up? If it humbles you, you are ready. If it puffs you up- you are not ready.
Watch how one word in a song, one line of praise infuriates King Saul. We read King Saul was with David as David was returning from a victory over the Philistines. The women of the cities came out to sing praises to King Saul and David.
“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
ENVY, JEALOUSY, ANGER AND FEAR
Saul was very angry and displeased with the saying. His pride and ego cannot stand for another to be praised more than he. He cannot stand for someone to have the spotlight on them. He is an insecure man, as proud and boastful men often are. Who does God give grace to? The humble. Who does God resist? The proud. Saul cannot see the victory over the enemy and what it means to the people. His pride ignites the danger combination of envy, jealousy and anger. Then we realize fear most often festers in these emotions.
Listen to his fear: “Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” When we first met Saul what was he most noted for? His appearance. He was the MOST HANDSOME MAN IN ISRAEL and was also the tallest. What do we know of Lucifer this created angel? In Ezekiel 28 we read ‘he was created perfect in beauty.’ Lucifer envied what God had- worship and power. Lucifer wanted what God had. Lucifer was filled with pride. He was popular among the other angels. In fact 1/3rd followed him in rebellion. Pride in self. Pride in one’s appearance, talent, abilities, intelligence can cause one to puff up, want their own way. “I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation. “ Pride goes before destruction.
Envy is a tool of the enemy which causes pain when somebody achieves or receives what we think belongs to us. Envy is sin often found in successful people who cannot stand to see others reach or surpass their success. Everyone wants to feel important and appreciated. We all enjoy the feeling of being recognized. Do you see how subtle and how easily we can be drawn into receiving praise for doing something well? May I remind you as I often do- and remind myself also- the chief end of man is to glorify God. To God be the glory- we sing; but does our flesh want to bask in the spotlight also? Amen or oh me. What can I boast of, anyway? I cannot boast of gifts, abilities, talents or appearance which were given me by the Lord to glorify Him. I can take credit for my sins, mistakes and failings. But God wants to teach us all- His strength is made perfect in weakness. His grace is always sufficient. He knows we have need of healthy emotions as He tells us we are to love Him with all our heart and to love others as our self.
Yes we are to love ourselves. Jonathan loves David as his own soul, his own self. The enemy wants you to love your self the way he loves himself and wants to be worshipped and praised. Yet Lucifer was a created being. God was the One who gave him his beauty, wisdom and abilities. And guess what? He could not handle it. He was envious. He was jealous. He was prideful.
Do you see how important love is? We clearly have before us in the story of the Bible- the love of God and the love of Lucifer. God so loved the world, He gave His only Begotten Son. Lucifer so loved himself, he wanted to overthrow God’s rule, the very One who created him and gave him such wisdom and beauty. He wanted to kill the Lord Jesus. He is a murderer and the father of all lies. Jesus is to Lucifer, what David is to Saul. When Saul looks at David he sees all that he wants to be and is not, or ever will be, and he sees a threat to his kingdom and tries to kill him. Lucifer looks at Jesus the same way.
I Corinthians 13 tells us three things very important to us here in this life: faith, hope and love, But it tells us love never fails. This is the love of God which has been shed abroad in our hearts. It tells us the love is the greatest of all.
Saul tries the first time to kill David with his javelin while David was playing his harp for him. David escaped his presence twice.
“Now Saul was AFRAID of David, because the Lord was with David, but had departed from Saul.”
From this time forward, King Saul will scheme to kill David, one way or the other. He will give David his daughter, Micah in marriage, for he believes she will be harmful for him. He sends him into danger after danger in hopes he will be killed in combat.
He requires David to kill one hundred Philistines and bring him their foreskins as a marriage price for his daughter. Saul believes this is an impossible feat and will surely result in David’s death.
He will pursue David for more than a decade.
His pride creates envy which turns to jealousy combined with fear and anger – a deadly combination.
The thief comes to kill and steal and destroy.
Saul’s mind and heart were so possessed by hatred for David that he is consumed with killing him.
Many believe Hitler and the German forces and their allies might have been successful in winning the war in Europe if Hitler had not been so fanatical about destroying the Jewish people.
The focus of the fallen angel Lucifer has been fanatical in his desire to destroy the seed of the woman since the fall in the Garden. From Abel, the first victim to all the destruction of the Jewish male babies in the time of Moses, to the slaughter of the all the male children under two years of age in Bethlehem under Herods’ rule, a relentless enemy battles in every generation to try and turn the tide. And Jesus told us in this world we would have trouble, but He told us to take heart, for He has overcome the world.
King Saul will die. His rule will end. David will take his place upon the throne. God is in control.
The fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham would bring Jesus the Messiah through the line of David. David would write over half of the Psalms which would encourage generation after generation. They provide us with light in the dark nights of battle. No wonder Satan was so determined to kill David!
Whenever you feel the pressure of daily life- the crisis which some into our lives, you must realize greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. Realize, the prince of heaven has given you His robe of righteousness, His armor and His sword. He will never leave you or forsake you. He stripped Himself so that we might be clothed. He was forsaken in order that we would be forgiven.
He wants not only to be your Savior, Lord and Master. Jesus wants to be your best friend.