Bible focus: Jonathan – loyalty


Earning someone’s trust is perhaps the most rewarding part of a relationship – the part of a relationship that takes years to secure but once obtained, is usually nurtured carefully… Sadly though, ‘trust’ and ‘loyalty’ are words I frequently hear in a negative light – ‘I don’t trust him…,’ or ‘she’s a sell-out… she’s ain’t loyal!’ Those harsh words reflect a person’s character and commonly take a toll on a relationship because trust is pretty much the most important part of a relationship, right?

The bible acknowledges a friendship that stands out because it seriously isn’t like any other recorded. Though circumstances were against the two young men, the story of Jonathan and David echoes a friendship that reveals, an initial liking and a deep trust; it shows us how people who weren’t blood related could still have strong friendship – so strong that one version of the bible records their bond as ‘souls knit together.’ Today, this idea of “souls knit together”, guys who ‘loved’ each other, will definitely be misread but this love is what is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always faithful and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)

This example of love isn’t achievable on our own. Though we could try, we’d tire ourselves out. This kind of love is only achievable when we submit to Jesus. Jonathan and David were trying to keep God in their daily lives by acknowledging who He is, praying and genuinely submitting to God. Their existence was before Jesus had made the ultimate sacrifice and so they lived in a time when the priests made sacrifices to God for their sins.

To be loyal means to show or to give ‘firm and constant support or allegiance to a person’

It is very easy to assume that their friendship was great because God was put first in both of their lives. See, having faith in God isn’t supposed to be compartmentalised with what God can have access to in our lives and what we’ve restricted him; He wants us to submit every aspect of our lives to Him including our relationships. When we submit to Jesus, His personality traits transforms us so deeply that our relationships with others would have to shift too.

At the time, Jonathan was perhaps glad that he and David were brought together since not too many of the people of Israel were as zealous as they had been to “step out” or be courageous enough in their faith and trust God. (Read 1 Sam 14 and 17.) No doubt, the pair grew stronger in their faith in God because they had each other to strengthen.

He’ll lead us to friendships that’d help both of us grow.

Sometimes though, our friendships don’t work out… perhaps there’s nothing in that relationships that’s helping either of you. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact of life…People come and go, circumstances change, some mature and have a different mind-set from their peers so we’ve got to be mindful or calling everyone person in our lives “friends.” Jonathan and David’s friendship is an example of how relation between friends, family, partner/spouses can be.

But what if the other party isn’t pulling their weight? What if our opinions, morals, beliefs constantly conflict with each other?  Jonathan deals with a similar issue where his father, King Saul, almost had him killed (read the story in 1 Sam 14 to get the context, the main point 14:27-30). What does Jonathan do? His reaction isn’t recorded. So we’re left to imagine: ‘It was his relationship with God that gave Jonathan the ability to deal effectively with the complication situations in his life.’ (NLT)

Perhaps we could take a few leaves out of his book…

Jonathan’s story is found through 1 Sam 13:3, 14:1-15, 18:1-3, 19:1-10, 20 and lastly 31

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