Jonathan

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                    JONATHAN’S LOVE AND SAUL’S JEALOUSY

1 Samuel 18:1-19:24
Key verse: 18:3

     “And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as
     himself.”


        There is an interesting fable: An eagle could outfly another eagle. Filled with
jealousy and hatred, the latter begged a hunter to shoot the rival eagle down. Then the
hunter replied that he would if he only had some feathers. The jealous eagle pulled one
out of his wings. Then the hunter shot the arrow but the arrow could not reach the rival
eagle which was flying very high. The jealous eagle pulled out more feathers, and kept
pulling them out until he lost so many that he couldn’t fly. Then the hunter turned around
and killed him. In today’s passage, King Saul was just like this jealous eagle. At first,
Saul liked David very much. But then his love turned into jealousy and intense hatred. In
his jealousy, he attempted to kill David for no apparent reason. Their relationship
changed from tango to tangle. In the end, Saul’s jealousy hurt himself and ruined his life.
On the other hand, Saul’s son Jonathan loved David, protected him, encouraged him
and blessed him. In us, we have both Jonathan-like tendency and Saul-like tendency.
We have love and jealousy. How can we overcome jealousy and hatred in us and
become people of love and blessing? As we study this passage, may we find the godly
and right answer.


I. Jonathan loved David as himself (1-4)

       In Chapter 17, we learned that David defeated Goliath by depending on the living
God. After defeating Goliath, David was introduced to King Saul. Look at verse 1. “After
David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David,
and he loved him as himself.” No doubt, Jonathan saw David’s fight and victory over
Goliath. I don’t know why Jonathan didn’t go out to fight against Goliath. Maybe his
father Saul kept him from fighting the giant. Or maybe he had lack of faith to challenge
the giant. Nevertheless, Jonathan was a man of courage and faith. In Chapter 14,
Jonathan showed his great faith in God and courage. He and his armor bearer attacked
a Philistine outpost and killed some 20 Philistines. Jonathan’s attack eventually led the
army of Israel a great victory over the Philistines. Jonathan’s faith and courage matched
David’s faith and courage. In David, Jonathan saw the same spirit—the spirit of
believing in the living God and the spirit of fighting for God and God’s people. He didn’t
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see David as his rival for fame as the future leader of Israel. He loved David as himself,
because he shared the same heart for God with David. They became close friends.

       Look at verse 3. “And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he
loved him as himself.” Jonathan made a covenant relationship with David. A covenant
relationship is a relationship with a binding agreement. Most probably they promised to
live for God’s glory and to love each other until death. They made this friendship
covenant before God. But Jonathan’s love for David was not just in words. Look at
verse 4. “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.” Jonathan took off his
princely robe that he was wearing and gave it to David. Symbolically, he gave his next
kingship to David. He also gave his tunic. It seems that Jonathan stripped himself off in
order to clothe David. Moreover, he also gave his sword, bow and belt. These were
Jonathan’s personal weapons. Jonathan gave his best and most valuable gifts to David
as his love expression. Imagine David in Jonathan’s clothes and other gifts. A poor
shepherd boy David suddenly became like a prince with the royal robe and weapons.
When Jonathan loved David, he wanted to give him what was most precious and
valuable. This beautiful story reminds us of Jesus’ love for his people. Jesus called us
and made us his friends. Jesus the prince of heaven stripped his own life to give us
eternal life—his eternal gift. He was naked on the cross in order to have an eternal
covenant relationship with us. Jesus became our eternal friend and we his eternal
friends. He did all these things because he loved us. Now we have a covenant
relationship with him. Jesus said in John 15:13-14, “Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I
command.” We are Jesus’ friends with special covenant. Let us show our love and
friendship to Jesus by offering Jesus our gifts, our genuine love, loyalty and faithfulness
to him. Practically let us spend time with Jesus through Bible readying and prayer. In
this way, we can communicate with him for the things in our souls. Let us do what Jesus
commanded as we want to lay down our lives for Jesus.

        Numerous people today suffer from loneliness because they don’t have true and
genuine friends. A famous preacher in his sermon said, “There are lots of
acquaintances that we can call them friends, but there are not many of true friends. Yet
everyone needs and hungers for having true friends.” Just as he said, I have many
acquaintances, but not many true friends. And I long for having true friends. How can
we have true friends? Jesus made many sinners his friends. He sacrificially gave
everything to them. He died for them. We need to have a sacrificial giving spirit to have
true friends. An English soldier watched in horror when his friend fell in the gun battle.
He then asked his lieutenant a permission to fetch his friend from the no-mans-land. His
lieutenant discouraged him saying, “It is not worth it. Your friend is probably dead and
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you may die too.” But somehow the soldier reached his friend and carried him to safety.
In doing so, the soldier was also wounded. The lieutenant who saw the soldier’s friend
dead said, “I told you it was not worth it. Your friend is dead and now you are also
seriously wounded.” The soldier answered, “Sir. It was worth it. When I got to my friend,
he was still alive and said, ‘Jim, I knew you would never leave me.’” What a life-giving
friendship they had. As Jesus people we became the body of Christ the church. Jesus
commands us in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As
I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that
you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We must love one another as Jesus
has loved us. Let’s give what we have sacrificially to others and establish a beautiful
friendship. We may have many human differences. But in Christ we can be true friends,
overcoming the differences.


II. Saul’s Jealousy and hatred of David (18:5-19:24)

        The Israelites were returning home after their great victory over the Philistines.
There was a huge victory parade. Crowds of people took to the street to welcome their
soldiers. They whistled and applauded the soldiers’ victory. Many women danced and
sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Most probably,
tens and hundreds of thousands of the Philistines were defeated right after David killed
Goliath. So David received credit for the victory far more than Saul. Hearing the
women’s song, Saul became very angry. He thought “They have credited David with
tens of thousands, but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”
Humanly we can understand Saul’s anger. We also get upset when someone compares
us with others negatively. Saul was king and David was just a shepherd boy. Saul was
angry because women compared him with a young David, crediting David far more than
him. It sounded like David was the hero and Saul was just like David’s armor bearer.
Look at verse 9. “And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.” In his
jealousy, Saul kept a close eye on David. He began to watch David with suspicion. As
we know well, one who has a jealous eye on someone cannot see the person with right
perspectives. One who has jealousy of someone will experience that everything the
person does looks repulsive and offensive. Even the person’s walking style or hand
gesture looks irritating. With jealousy in us, we cannot have any meaningful and proper
relationship with others. What’s worse, jealousy gives birth to hatred and murder. So
Saul became murderous and intensely hateful of David. Look at verses 10-11. The evil
spirit came on Saul and Saul hurled a spear at David who was playing the lyre for him.
He tried to pin David to the wall but David eluded him twice. Likewise, those who keep
jealousy in their heart towards others will eventually invite an evil spirit. They won’t be
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self-controlled, but become murderous and hurtful to others. Jealousy is one of human
beings’ worst problems.

       I would like introduce a Jewish folktale which shows us about the cruelty of
jealous people. There was a woman who had extreme jealousy towards her neighbour.
One day an angel appeared to her and told her that if she prayed he would give
whatever she wanted with one condition that her neighbour would receive exactly
double portion of what she would receive. Then the woman asked the angel, “Please,
make my one eye blind.” What does she mean? She was willing to lose one eye to
make her neighbour a blind person. What a wicked woman she is. Sinful human beings
have this woman’s wicked and devilish tendency. Jealousy and hated are the agents of
the devil, and we must drive them out from our hearts immediately. When we don’t drive
them out, we become the devil’s agents, hurting and damaging others critically.

        Look at verses12-16. Saul was afraid of David, because God was with David and
had left Saul. He didn’t want to see David. So he sent him away with command over a
thousand men. Then David had great victories. God was with David and gave him great
success. Seeing all these things Saul was more afraid of David. He tried many different
ways to kill David. He even used his daughters’ marriage for killing David. He was
insane. He knew that his daughter Michal loved David and asked David to kill a hundred
Philistines and bring their foreskins for the price to marry Michal. Saul’s plan was to
have David fall by the hands of the Philistines (25). But David brought Saul more than
what Saul requested. Look at verse 28. Saul realized that God was with David and that
everyone including his daughter loved David. He became more afraid of David. He
realized that his plan to kill David secretly didn’t work. So he changed his way.

        Look at 19:1a. “Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill
David.” Saul ordered openly to everyone including Jonathan to kill David. Seemingly
Saul’s # 1 policy was to kill David. What did Jonathan do? First he warned David to be
on his guard and to go into hiding. Then he went and spoke with his father trying to
reason with him. He told Saul that David had not wronged Saul, but benefited him by
killing Goliath and bringing God’s victory for Israel. He urged Saul not to kill an innocent
man David. He got his father to listen to reason and calm down. Then Saul was
persuaded by Jonathan and took an oath not to kill David. Jonathan did his best to
protect David who was helpless and vulnerable. This reminds us of an old cliché: “A
friend in need is a friend indeed.” Jonathan came to his protection in love. He again
shows us how to be loving and godly friends. We must grow to be loving and godly
friends through protecting one another. David could come back into Saul’s presence
and serve him. But after David had a victory over the battle against the Philistines, Saul
again tried to kill David under the influence of an evil spirit. While David was playing the
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lyre, Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear. But David eluded him and
escaped to his house. But Saul became obsessed with his thought to kill David and sent
men to David’s house to kill him. But by his wife Michal’s help David went down through
a window and fled to Samuel. Saul then sent men to kill David there, but God protected
David.

        It is awful to see Saul’s jealousy and hatred towards David. Jealousy clouded
Saul’s heart and mind completely and made him murderous. It eventually destroyed
Saul’s life. When he kept jealousy, he himself suffered most. He was fearful. He was
hateful and infuriated. He had no joy, no peace and no life. We can see Saul’s dark and
miserable heart. We should never hold comparing spirit, jealousy or hatred in our hearts.
We should quickly repent of it and drive it out from our hearts. Otherwise, we would
commit a horrible sin. Cain in Genesis 3 was an example. God counselled Cain who
was filled with jealousy and anger by saying, “Why are you so angry? Why is your face
downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is
right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain had a desire to commit sin. But it was Cain’s responsibility to rule over it. Cain
should have repented of his jealousy and anger and ruled over them. But he didn’t.
Instead he kept them in his heart and later committed a horrible crime—killing his lovely
brother. Somehow, jealousy and hatred must be overcome. How can we overcome
jealousy and hatred in us?

       First of all, we must know that jealousy and hatred comes when we don’t accept
God’s sovereignty. Saul knew that God was with David. Saul knew that God gave David
success whatever he did. He should have humbly accepted God’s sovereignty and
welcomed and blessed David. But he refused it and tried to get rid of David. In the
movie Amadeus, Antonio Salieri a court musician saw young Mozart’s brilliant music
talent and became very jealous of him. Because of his jealousy and hatred, Salieri could
not compose his own music. He was filled with a murderous thought to get rid of Mozart.
He couldn’t understand why God only gave such amazing talent to Mozart but not to
himself. So he cursed God and became sick physically, mentally and spiritually. His
jealousy destroyed Mozart’s life as well as his own life. He should have accepted God’s
sovereignty over Mozart and himself. He could be the mentor and patron to Mozart and
raise Mozart as a great composer. Then he would have a win-win relationship with
Mozart. We must accept God’s sovereignty and live a life of blessing, instead of giving
into jealousy and hatred of others. We must love our co-workers and work together in
our sovereign God.

      Second, we must give thanks to God who blesses us so much. We received
God’s love. We may have poor health compared to others. We may have no wealth
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compared to others. We may have no intelligence compared to others. But we
Christians have God’s greatest gift—our Lord Jesus Christ. God ravished his love on us
personally. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Therefore, we must ponder upon
God’s love and give thanks to God from our heart. When we become jealous and
envious of others, let us come to God and see his richest love for us. God’s work is the
work of saving others and giving life to others. The devil’s work is the work of envying
and hating others and destroying the lives. May we love others and build others up in
God’s love and sovereignty and live as sources of blessings to others.

				
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