One of the very abused or misused words today in the vocabulary of humans is LOVE.
When people Lust for something, it is labelled Love. When they degenerate to sodomy, it is also referred to as Love.
But permit me to take us through a biblical journey of true, sacrificial Love as demonstrated by these two friends, David and Jonathan.
In the cause of David's exposure as a valiant warrior who killed a giant with a sling and five stones. He came to prominence and in service of King Saul, Israel's first human King.
Jonathan, on the other hand, was the King's first son. A natural heir apparent to the throne. But he admired David's brilliance, and both found true friendship.
It was genuine, selfless, sincere and sacrificial. This is what we can rightly call- Love.
The bible described it this way-:
"After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the King's son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.
And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David because he loved him as he loved himself."
1 Samuel 18:1, 3 NLT
In a later incidence, we are told that Jonathan placed his royal robe and armour on David. By this singular act, "Jonathan" did more than express his covenantal Love for his friend. He willingly sacrificed his position as the heir to Israel's throne and acknowledged David as the nation's next King, something that Saul would obsessively strive against as long as he lived.
One thing is outstanding with this two people, Jonathan and David.
Jonathan loved David with loyalty and devotion indicative of covenantal Love.
This kind of Love amongst friends is a rare commodity in our world today.
Sometimes, there is a friend that is even closer than a person's natural brother. This is the case with David and Jonathan here. These two young men became close friends from the very beginning. The fighting with the Philistines had stopped at this point, and they had separated the spoil. Jonathan probably, greatly admired David for his bravery against the giant, Goliath. As Love grew, they decided to make an agreement that they would remain faithful to one another, regardless of circumstances.
"And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that [was] upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle"
1 Samuel 18:4.
Jonathan willingly relinquished the outer garments and instruments that signified his position as prince of Israel and heir to the throne. Jonathan, a worshiper of Yahweh, quickly discerned that David was God's anointed and, without reservation, offered the robe of succession to the true King of Israel.
This was the highest honour that Jonathan could pay David. He was saying, whatever power and authority he had, was now equally David's.
We see David's extreme humility despite his great success. The whole nation was singing his praises, but he continued to serve Saul and even refused the honour of marrying Saul's daughter Merab because he did not feel worthy. Popularity did not replace his perspective. But today, when God blesses some of us with little elevation, we become too important to do certain service to God again because we are now- "Big Guys."
Then comes the provocative eulogising that broke the camels back-:
"Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand."
There was no wisdom as a result, And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousand, and to me, they have ascribed [but] thousands: and [what] can he have more but the kingdom?" And Saul eyed David from that day and forward."
Despite this animosity, in his heart still longed for the presence of the only human being who could calm his ever-increasing torment. Still, he dreaded with fierce jealousy the growing influence of the winning and gifted man whom he had taken from the sheep-folds. Now the hate gradually obscured the old Love. All we can now see is the life-long murderous pursuit of David.
Saul feared losing the kingdom to David if he were this popular with the people. Saul watched David's every move to make sure he would not mount a revolt against him. David had no intention of doing this, but Saul did not realise this.
In all of David's troubles with King Saul, we are told-:
"And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways, and the LORD [was] with him."
But, the unfortunate truth was that "Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.". And that put his life more at risk but for the true Love that exists between him and Jonathan.
Even the loyalty of David and Jonathan was also of great concern to Saul.
We can rightly conclude that this true friendship and Love was a way God demonstrated to us the essence of true Love.
Jonathan was called names by his father and even detested for his role in keeping David away from his father achieving his bastardly intention. But in conclusion, it paid off as we read here-:
"One day David asked, "Is anyone in Saul's family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" 2 Samuel 9:1 NLT.
True Love pays off and is never forgotten. Go for it for that is what God demonstrated in his gift of Jesus Christ to our world.