1 Sam. 18:1-4
Another person I’d like to add to my list of unsung heroes is Saul’s son, Jonathan. This passage is but one of many which I could note as showing us the true character of this man. Let’s go through some of his attributes and see what we can learn from him as an example to follow.
First, this young man trusted in his Lord, and he displayed it in some of the most courageous acts recorded in Scripture. He was introduced in chapter 14, when Saul was on his personal vendetta against “[his] enemies” (discussed yesterday). All of Israel was demoralized and panicky about the upcoming battle, mainly due to their lack of equipment and proper weapons. Jonathan and his armor-bearer decided to take the battle to the enemy, and climbed up a cliff to them. Believing that the God of the universe was surely strong enough to give their enemies into their hands, they killed twenty soldiers by themselves and unintentionally started a rally among the Israelites and a wholesale panic among the Philistines. Thus the Lord gave them a huge victory that day.
Second, this man was loyal, both to his friend and to his father. Today's passage describes beautifully how he and David became the closest of friends, symbolized by giving him his clothes and sword. When his father and his best friend had a falling out, there’s no hint that he conspired or plotted against his father. Instead, he did his best to reconcile the two, defending each one before the other. Even when his father pointed out the obvious, namely that Jonathan would NEVER become king as long as David lived, he never wavered in his love for his friend.
Third, he was extremely humble. When it became obvious to everyone (eventually including Saul himself) that David was going to be the next king, there is absolutely positively no trace of resentment or bitterness recorded. He was perfectly willing to step aside, expressing a hope that he could be second-in-command when his friend finally achieved the throne. This word of encouragement was extremely helpful to David as he was living as a fugitive from Saul.
Regrettably, this hope was not to be. Ever loyal, even to those who didn’t deserve it, he died while fighting alongside his father. Even after all Saul had done, Jonathan respected his father’s office and put the needs of Israel above his personal feelings. This respect for Saul’s position (without respecting the man personally) mirrored David’s actions as well.
This message is for people working “in the shadows.” Maybe you’re working hard for the Lord, and you’re not getting the attention you deserve. Maybe someone else is in the spotlight, and you’re discouraged because no one is noticing that you’re stepping aside for the good of God’s work. You might think this, but you’re dead wrong. Someone IS noticing. He sees when you’re willing to be in “second place” for the good of others. Please read Hebrews 6:10 again, and be encouraged.
Lord Jesus, yours is the only applause I need or even should want. Please change me, I really need it.