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Father Doesn't Always Know Best

1 Samuel 20:1-3 

"Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, 'What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?' [2] And he said to him, 'Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!' [3] Yet David vowed again, saying, 'Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, 'Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.' But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.'"

David was getting the hint. Saul threw a spear at him twice and sent his goons over to his house to kill him once. By now David understood he was a marked man. He said, "there is hardly a step between me and death." When David spoke to Jonathan about his feelings, Jonathan immediately defended his father and told David that he was overreacting; his father would never hide such a thing from him. Now I'm not sure what Jonathan was thinking, because he had already talked his dad out of killing David once and must have heard that he'd sent his messengers over to his house shortly thereafter to kill him. Hadn't he heard about the spears? But Jonathan did what most of us do when some criticizes a family member to us, he defended his Dad-after all, Father knows best, right? Jonathan agreed to find out if is father meant David any harm and then to report back to David by a prearranged sign.

Jonathan did as he planned and learned that Saul did intend to do David harm, listen to Saul's reaction to Jonathan as I read1 Samuel 20:30-34 "Then Saul's anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, 'You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? [31] For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.' [32] But Jonathan answered Saul his father and said to him, 'Why should he be put to death? What has he done?' [33] Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death. [34] Then Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food on the second day of the new moon, for he was grieved over David because his father had dishonored him."

As it turns out, Father doesn't know best, at least not this time. Saul's attention is so riveted upon what he believes is best for his son, that he misses what is best for the kingdom of God. I suppose you can't blame Saul for wanting his son to follow him on his throne, but God had something else in mind. It isn't that Saul was wrong in what he said to Jonathan in verse 31, as long as David lives, Jonathan would not become king. Saul's error was not in what he knew, but in that he was unable or unwilling to submit his will and desires to God's will. Was Jonathan the type of friend that would hope for his friend's success even if it means he loses his place in the spotlight? It takes a mature person to root for another person's success.

During the 1984 Summer Olympic Games a commercial aired with world record holder Bob Beamon seated in front of his TV set. He turned to the camera and said, "Back in the Olympic Games of 1968, I set a world record in the long jump. At the time, some people said no one would ever jump that far again. Well, over the years I've enjoyed sitting in front of my television set and watching them try. But now there's a new kid, I'm told, who might have a chance of breaking my record. Well, there's just one thing I have to say about that." At this point the viewer is set up for some kind of self-centered, defiant comment. Instead, Beamon's face softened, and spoke directly to Carl Lewis, "I hope you make it, kid." Lewis didn't break Beamon's record of 29 feet, 2 and ½ inches that year, but Beamon set another standard for class. Will Jonathan display the same kind of class?

Will Jonathan consider turning on his friend so he could preserve his own spot on the throne? Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity." (NASB) Was Jonathan was that type of friend?

In one of Aesop's Fables, two men were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them quickly climbed into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, fearing that the bear might attack, fell flat on the ground. When the bear lumbered over, he nudged the man with his snout, as he sniffed him. The man held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death. The bear, which prefers to kill his own dinner soon left him. When it was safe, the other traveler descended from the tree, and begins to tease his friend. "What was that bear whispering in your ear." "He gave me this advice," his companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the first sign of danger." What will Jonathan do? Will he simmer down and come to believe that his Father is right and begin to look out for himself and desert his friend? Or will he stay true to his friend? 

Let's rejoin the text in 1 Samuel 20:35-42 to see, "Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out into the field for the appointment with David, and a little lad was with him. [36] And he said to his lad, 'Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot.' As the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. [37] When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad, and said, 'Is not the arrow beyond you?' [38] And Jonathan called after the lad, 'Hurry, be quick, do not stay!' And Jonathan's lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. [39] But the lad was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. [40] Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, 'Go, bring them to the city.' [41] When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David more. [42] And Jonathan said to David, 'Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, 'The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'' Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city."

Jonathan was a true friend to David, sacrificing the possibility of sitting on the throne himself, instead, opting to aid God's choice for King to escape the sword of his father. True friends are irreplaceable. Greg Asimakoupoulos of The Chapel Ministries in Wheaton, Illinois writes, "Friends can steer us away from moral icebergs that would tear a Titanic-size hole in the hull of our soul. Friends are willing to hurt our feelings to save our reputations. Friends listen when we are confused about what to do, where to go, how to trust God. Friends dare to challenge us with truth. True friends accept our imperfections and forgive us. True friends fuel our hopes and dreams with their undiminished expectations."

Solomon, David's son wrote, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. [10] For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. [11] Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? [12] And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." (Eccles. 4:9-12 NASB)

Jonathan and David vowed to be forever knit together. They pledged an enduring friendship, one that would not diminish by time or space.

This is where we leave the story. Many questions still remain. Will David be able to escape the wrath of the king? Will he remain in hiding or will he have to have a confrontation with Saul? We'll continue the story next week.

Today, as we close, I don't want to ask you if you have a friend like Jonathan, rather, I want to ask you if you are a friend like Jonathan. Are you the kind of person that can set aside your own ambitions and remain loyal to your friend? One more question, have you told your friends lately how much they mean to you? 

While Jonathan was demonstrating loyalty to his friend, he was also showing an ability to set aside his own desires to follow the will of God-something his own father couldn't do. Something we all must do to be true disciples of God. Do you know God's will for your life? Are you following it? Today, you can decide to submit to His will and pursue it for the rest of your life.

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