Sermon 2774. Love Pledging Fidelity
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 13, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 3, 1881.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul."
1 Samuel 18:3.
"And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul."
1 Samuel 11:17.
MANY books have been written concerning that surly old Prophet Jonah, yet here is a man with a name somewhat similar-Jonathan-butscarcely anybody has had much to say about him. Yet there was more sweetness in the little finger of Jonathan than in thewhole body of Jonah! A wonderfully noble, lovable, magnanimous man was that heir apparent to the throne of Israel. I admire,beyond measure, the disinterested, unselfish affection which he had for the young shepherd-hero. It must have been perfectlyclear to Jonathan that David had supplanted him. Jonathan himself had been the bravest of the brave-accompanied only by hisarmor bearer, he had gained a notable victory over the Philistines and now, here comes another young man who becomes evenmore distinguished than he and who takes his place as commander-in-chief of the army. Most young men in such a position asthat would have been very jealous of the newcomer-and something of the envy of Saul, the father, might very naturally havebeen begotten in the heart of Jonathan the son. But it was not so, for Jonathan loved David as he loved his own soul.
Moreover, Jonathan knew very well that David was ordained of God to mount the throne. That throne was his by hereditary right,yet he foresaw that neither he nor any of his descendants would sit upon it, but that David would occupy it. Yet there wasno trace of jealousy, or envy, or malice towards David-Jonathan loved him as he loved his own soul. It was a case of loveat first sight, for he had no sooner looked upon David than "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David" and itwas also a case of love that was strong as death, for he clung to David to the last-and David, on his part, loved him intenselyand, after Jonathan had fallen upon the fatal mount of Gilboa, lamented his death in sweetest strains of poetry.
But I am not going to talk much about the friendship of Jonathan and David. I want rather to use the union of heart that existedbetween them, and the consequences that resulted from it, as a lesson to those of us who have the sacred fire of love burningwithin our heart towards the Well-Beloved, even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose love toward us is marvelous, matchless,unspeakable Divine love, the likes of which has never been seen on earth!
There are two observations which I wish to make and to emphasize. They are taken from our two texts. The first is that greatlove desires to bind itself to the beloved one- "Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul."And, secondly, great love desires renewed pledges from its object-"Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he lovedhim: for he loved him as he loved his own soul."
I. Now, first, GREAT LOVE DESIRES TO BIND ITSELF TO THE BELOVED ONE.
I am going to speak of the greatest love that ever was-the love of Jesus Christ to His chosen-and I want you to notice howthe love of Christ to His people made Him desire to bind Himself to them. Think of this wondrous theme with all your hearts,so that, however feebly I may speak, the ardor of your imagination will put life into my poor words.
And, first of all, remember that Jesus bound Himself to His people by Covenant bonds. Of old, or before the earth was, ourLord Jesus had set His heart upon a people whom He foreknew. And His delights even at that time were with the sons of men.He delighted to think upon them as a people that should be His forever and, therefore, He accepted them to be His own by aCovenant gift from His Father's hands. His Father gave to Him all those who should thereafter believe on Him and His greatheart of love was set upon all the chosen ones who were thus given over to Him to be His portion and heritage forever andever. This was the first link between Christ and the Church.
Then, in the fullness of time, our Lord's great love to us led Him into visible union with us, for, as He had undertaken,when His Father gave us to Him, that He would save us and keep us, He came into the world to begin that great work by takingupon Himself our Nature. That was a wondrous union with us when He, who had made all things, did hide Himself away in thebody of a Baby-when He, whose Presence filled the heavens and the earth, deigned to find a dwelling place in this world inthe form of a carpenter's Son, for, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as ofthe Only-Begotten of the Father), full of Grace and truth." For this cause did the Son of God leave His Father's house, thatHe might be joined unto His Church and they two became one flesh. "This is a great mystery," said the Apostle, "but I speakconcerning Christ and the Church." Because He loved us as His own soul, nothing would satisfy Him until He had partaken ofthe Nature of those who had been given to Him to become His portion and His heritage. "Bone of our bone, and flesh of ourflesh," is the eternal Son of God now that He is also the Son of Man, "for we are members of His body of His flesh, and ofHis bones."
This being done, Jesus determined that the Covenant between Himself and His people should be kept up as an indivisible unionright through-
"'Yes, said the Lord, with her I'll go Through all the depths of care and woe. And on the Cross will even dare The bitterpangs of death to bear.
He had come into the closest possible union with His Church because He loved her as His own soul-and He determined to maintainthat union although it involved a life of toil, humiliation, poverty and pain. And although it also involved death, "eventhe death of the Cross." But He would, at all costs, carry out the Covenant that He had made with His Father to be the Suretyand the Substitute for His own people-"Having loved His own, which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
Because of this close connection with His Church, our Lord Jesus Christ has bound Himself to every believing soul by verydefinite promises. Christ so loves you, Beloved, that He has said to each one of you, "I will never leave you nor forsakeyou." Up in Heaven, He maintains your right and defends your cause. And He has pledged His honor to secure your eternal safetyand has linked His own cause and Kingdom, and His future success, with your being ultimately delivered from all sin and sorrow.It is wonderful to note how Christ, in entering into Covenant with His people, has bound Himself by every conceivable tieto those whom His Father gave Him-and whom He has redeemed with His precious blood!
Then, next, Jesus would have us bound to Him on our part. This kind of bond can never be all on one side, for true friendshipleads to mutual love. To my mind there is a measure of mystery in both my texts-"Then Jonathan and David made a covenant,because he loved him as his own soul." Which is the, "he," and which is the, "him," referred to in this verse? Is the, "he,"David, and the, "him," Jonathan? Or is the, "him," David, and the, "he," Jonathan? There is the same indefiniteness in thesecond text. There is a kind of mixing up of the pronouns and I like that, because a true friend or a true love is one's otherself-the two persons are so closely joined to one another that they have become one! So our blessed Lord Jesus, who has linkedHimself with us by many strong ties, also would have us link ourselves with Him by many ties. Let us see whether we have boundourselves to Him in that way. How is it done?
Our first conscious love-union to Christ is when we come and submit ourselves entirely to Him, that He may save us. Have allof you done this? I remember when I first realized that there was nothing I could do to save myself and that Christ had doneit all. I was quite content that He should be my Savior on those terms. Content, did I say? No, more than that-I was delightedjust to lay myself down at His dear feet that He might save me entirely.
After that submission to Him, there next came into my soul an ardent love to Him. I feel sure that it was so with all of youwho have believed in Him-when you realized that He had saved you, you felt so glad and so thankful that you could not helploving Him who had done so much for you! That is the kind of union that Christ desires on our part to-
ward Himself-that we should be grateful for His redeeming love, grateful for the forgiveness of our sin and then that we shouldlove Him in return. You did feel that love once, did you not? Do you feel it now? Let me stop a minute and ask you to thinkof Christ as actually being here. He is a real Christ you know-no dream, no mere imaginary person who has simply figured inthe pages of fiction. He is a real, living Christ, and if you have submitted yourself to Him to save you, He has saved you!Then, do you not love Him? Give your love an opportunity of expressing itself! Look your Savior in the face and say to Him-
"Do not I love You, O my Lord? Behold my heart and see."
And if you can truthfully do it, let your soul as well as your voice sing those well-known words-
"My Jesus, I love You, I know You are mine,
For You all the follies of sin I resign!
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou,
If ever I loved You, my Jesus, 'tis now." Because Jesus loves you as His own soul, He wants you to avow your union with Himby expressing the love which you really feel in your heart towards Him. That love should constrain us to confess that we belongwholly to Him, with all we are and all we have. There is not anything about us which is not our Lord's-from the crown of ourhead to the soles of our feet, He has redeemed us with His precious blood! So let us acknowledge that we are "bought witha price." Because Christ loves us, He wants us to acknowledge that we are His as surely as that He is ours-and not only toadmit this in our own heart, but also to confess it before men by casting in our lot with His people. Has my Lord Jesus avisible Church anywhere on earth? Then, let me share the lot of those who are its members! What are its fortunes? Let thembe mine. Is the Church dishonored and despised, maligned and persecuted? Then let me take the rough side of the hill withher-and bear the brunt of the storm with her rather than, in a cowardly manner, be ashamed of my Master and shrink from sayingthat I belong to Him. Because He loves you as His own soul, He wants you to openly declare that you are really His! In thepresence of men and angels, or even in the presence of legions of devils, be not ashamed to let it be known that you belongto Jesus, just as Jonathan and David were not ashamed to let it be known that they were fast friends to one another.
Then, Beloved, it will delight Christ's heart if you show kindness to all who belong to Him. You remember how David lookedafter poor Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan? When he found him, he took care of him for Jonathan's sake. So, dear Friends,look after Christ's lame people, Christ's poor people, Christ's despondent people and Christ's sick people. Visit them intheir affliction, relieve their distresses, comfort their hearts and do it all for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake.
And because Jesus loves you, He wants you, Beloved, to merge all your life's interests more and more in His and to find yourgain in advancing His honor. He wants you to come to this point-that you will be rich when His cause prospers-that you willbe poor when His Church declines-that you will be happy when Christ is honored and that you will be sad when He is not loved.It will be to Him a great joy when He shall see you more and more entering into Covenant with Him, as He has already, to thefullest possible extent, entered into Covenant bonds with you.
If this is our Lord's desire, shall we not fulfill it? I think I hear some of you say, "We know all this and we have doneall this." Then keep on doing it! As you sit in your pews, try to feel more than you have ever done before, the bonds of lovewhich bind Christ to you and which also bind you to Christ. Say, with the Apostle, "We love Him because He first loved us."
These bonds are mutual and they are indissoluble. With confidence we may repeat the Apostolic challenge, "Who shall separateus from the love of Christ?" For we know that nothing can make Him leave off loving us and nothing can make us leave off lovingHim!
Further, as David accepted Jonathan's presents, we accept, O gracious Savior, all the priceless gifts that You bestow uponus! We see You taking off your royal robe and girding it around us. You laid aside all your bright array, that we might beclothed as princes of the blood-royal of Heaven! "Even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his belt" did Jonathan give toDavid-and our Lord Jesus has done the same for us, so that we have "the Sword of the Spirit," with which we may "fight thegood fight of faith." And from His bow we may shoot upward the pointed arrows of prayer, and that we also may be girt aboutwith the belt of the Truth of God. There is nothing, O Lord, which You have that You have
not given to us and with both our hands we do accept of that which is Yours and of Yourself, also, for You, too, are givento us and, in return, we give ourselves to You-"It's all that we can do."
Let it really be so with us now! Let our love embrace the Well-Beloved! Let this be a time of love with us! Look up at Hisblessed face and then ask, "Was there ever any other so fair as He is?" Then look into His heart and enquire, "Was there everanother heart so tender, so true, so kind, as His?" Then count His royal and Divine honors and see whether any other loverever wooed with such bejeweled hands and such a crown of Glory as He wears upon His blessed brow! Yes, look Him all over andsee if there ever was such Incarnate Love in any other as you behold in Him. Did any other man ever love so intensely, ordid any woman ever expend such a wealth of love as He has bestowed on us in stooping from the highest heavens to the lowestdepths of misery and shame, and even to the grave, itself, that He might lift us up to sit forever with Him on His Throne?
O Heart! Heart! Heart! You ought to be smitten till you break into a thousand fragments if you do not love the Well-Beloved!What is wrong with you, cold Soul, lukewarm Soul, that you do not burn and glow with such good matter as this when you arespeaking of the things which concern the King! Come, Beloved, let us love our Lord, or die! If we really are Christians, ourhearts would sooner cease to beat than cease to love our blessed Savior!
Thus much, but all too poorly said, upon the Truth of God in our first text-great love desires to bind itself to the BelovedOne.
II. Now, secondly, we learn from our second text that GREAT LOVE DESIRES RENEWED PLEDGES FROM
ITS OBJECT-"Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul."
It was not out of distrust, but by reason of a sort of sacred jealousy that "Jonathan caused David to swear again." He didnot fear that his friend would prove untrue, but he needed to have every possible confirmation of the covenant of love whichthey had made with one another. And, believing Soul, though Christ does not distrust you, He knows what is in you and He isjealous of you. Our Savior is as jealous of us as His Father is-the immeasurable greatness of the love of Jesus Christ tous moves Him to feel an Infinite jealousy of us. He loves us so much that He will have all our love and, if you are reallyHis beloved ones, He will adopt ways and means of extracting from you the last particle of your love, that He may have itall for Himself. As Rutherford said to a noble lady who had lost a number of children, one after the other, "The Lord Jesusloves you so much that He will not let one drop of your love go in any other direction than towards Himself." And though Hemay not deal in that way with us, by taking away our friends and kindred, yet I am sure that where He loves us much, He willhave the whole of our love. He cannot bear that our heart should be divided, or in any measure taken from Him. So, again,and again, and again, He causes us to renew our vows and our Covenant with Him. So would He have us renew our love to Him.
Further, this is the only return we can make for His love. Your little children, on your knee, cost you much care and anxiety-andwhen they kiss you and fondle you, and tell you how much they love you, they may well do so, for that is all they can do.They cannot help you in your daily toil, or bear any share of your heavy burdens and, in like manner, all that we can do forChrist is to love Him. Alas, that we do so little of that! I fear that sometimes we are more ready to preach, or teach, orgive away tracts, or do something in the way of active service for Christ, but, after all, the accepta-bleness of these thingsis to be measured by the love to our Lord that is in them. To love Him is the chief thing-it is our love that Christ longsfor above everything else. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all yourstrength, and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest Commandment of all and, therefore, does our Savior wishus again and again to renew our vows of love to Him.
Besides, it is for our highest benefit that we should do this. Our love is often so feeble and cold that it needs to be stirredup again. The fire in our heart continually burns low so that we need to constantly have the flame fanned and fresh fuel puton, that we may love our Lord more and more.
And chilly as we are in ourselves, we are often tempted and allured by other loves, and are apt to lend a listening ear tothe charmer's fascinating voice. You know that it is so, Beloved. We are not true to our Lord as we ought to be and, therefore,He asks us again, and again, and yet again, "Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me?" And if we are grieved that Heasks us the question a third time, "Do you love Me!" we ought to remember that we have grieved
Him many more than three times-it is our unfaithfulness to Him that lays upon Him the necessity of putting this enquiry tous so often.
It is also for our benefit that we should often renew our pledges of love to our Lord because we cannot be happy unless weare wholly taken up with love to Him. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," said Solomon. And we may well say the same. Thereis nothing upon earth that can give solid satisfaction to a Christian apart from Christ. You may make him rich, you may lavishupon him all conceivable delights, but these things will all mock him, like the mirage of the desert, unless his heart isright with Christ, is filled with the love of Jesus and the sunlight of the Divine Presence is there. I am sure that it isso! You unconverted people may be happy enough in your way, without Christ, but a true-born child of God cannot have any blissapart from His Lord. If you mean to be a Christian, you must remember there remains but one source of true delight to you-butthat one Source of delight contains more than all other springs ofjoy put together! If you do but drink of it, you shall bemore than satisfied. But if you turn aside from that Fountain of Living Waters, your soul will thirst and faint. It is God'sdecree that you shall mourn until you come back to the Beloved and yet again swear allegiance to Him, for He will have youdo it because He loves you as He loves His own soul.
I wish that all of us who love the Lord would at once renew our Covenant with Him. It may help us to do so if I remind youof the past times when we have given ourselves up to Him. I remember well the first surrender of my soul to my Savior. Doyou not remember the same hallowed season? Turn over the leaves of your diary till you come to the record of it. "On sucha day, I was born-again. On such a day, I was married to Christ. My heart was wholly given to Him and I rejoiced in Him."Recollect that solemn surrender and, as you recall it, say over again, as you said then-
"Here, Lord, I give myself away. It's all that I can do."
Do you remember your Baptism-you who were, in Scriptural fashion, buried with Christ in Baptism? I recollect mine. What didI mean by it? I meant that as I gave up my body to be temporarily buried in the river-as the water rolled over me and I wasas one dead and buried, so did I declare that I was dead to sin, dead to the world and buried to it all. And I also meantthat as I rose again from the stream, so would I live for Christ, alone, in newness of life, as one who had been dead, buriedand had risen again. To me that was the most solemn day of my life! I remember rising early, at the break of day, that I mighthave some hours of prayer before starting, for I had some miles to walk along a country road. And all the way I was thinkingof the public dedication of myself to my Master. I meant that to be my funeral day to all except Himself and the day of myresurrection with Him! And I hope it was, and also hope it was the same with you. If so, I pray you do not belie your Baptism!I charge you who have been buried with Christ, that you bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus, not in one place only,as was the fashion under the old Law-but in your entire body, that you may be wholly Christ's, completely Christ's, henceforthand forever.
Since that time of our Baptism, how often have we renewed our vows of love to our Lord as we have come to His Table! We havepartaken of the bread and the wine as the memorials of His love to us and I think that, there, we have often given ourselvesup to Him again. Do so again, Beloved, as you come presently to the Communion Table. Come as if you were coming for the firsttime. Say, "My Savior, I take You to myself, to be my life and the food of my life. And I will, by Your Grace, live to Youand to You alone."
Some of us have a further reason for renewing our vows of love to our Lord, because we have lately risen from a sickbed. Shallnot the life that has been prolonged be wholly the Lord's? If He has taken away from us the heavy burden of terrible pain-theiron yoke of deep depression of spirit-do we not feel bound to yield ourselves up to Him as though we were beginning our Christianlife over again? And I think that others of you who have not been in pain and have not been depressed in spirit, ought tofeel as though, because of God's great mercy to you in keeping you out of such trials, you should yield yourselves anew toHim.
Some of you may have reached another anniversary of your birthday, or you may have come to some other period of your lifethat is memorable. Perhaps you have taken a new business, or have gone to live in another house-well, I hardly like to thinkof going into a new house, or even sleeping in another room without once more saying, "Come here with me, my Lord. I am Yourswherever I am, on land or sea, in this country or in a foreign land-I am eternally joined to You, and Your servant would Ibe at all times." It would not be amiss to renew your Covenant with your Lord every
morning when the day breaks-and to renew it yet again every night as you fall asleep, for, oh, it is most helpful to the spiritto be often coming to Christ-to be constantly committing your soul into His dear hands!
I am sure that Christ is pleased with you when you do this, for He loves you as He loves His own soul. He is never tired ofhearing you tell Him how much you love Him-you can never continue speaking on that theme so long as to weary Him by your confessionof love to Him! You can never praise Him so much that He is tired of your song! You can never implore His mercy to the pointHe is weary of your prayers! That can never happen! And when you come and bring yourself-poor, poor self, as it is-to Christ,He never disdains your love! A little child delights to caress its mother and, as the mother is never happier than when sheis receiving the child's love, so, believe me, it is with Christ. Yet some of you seem to think that He does not want youraffection. Or you fancy that it does not matter how you express your love-that a few hurried words of prayer will suffice,or a dull, formal hymn of praise-but it is not so. Do you not want to make Him happy? My Brother, in his prayer, thanked Godthat it was possible for us to add even to the bliss of Christ in Heaven, and it is so. The shepherd rejoices when he findsthe sheep that was lost, but does his joy end when he finds it? Oh, no! The father had great joy when the prodigal returned,but did his joy end when his boy came home? Oh, no! And, likewise, Christ is always glad of conversation and communion withHis beloved ones, so give Him much of it. Say to Him sometimes-
"With You all night I mean to stay, And wrestle till the break of day."
And sometimes, hour by hour, do nothing but commune with Him. Yes, always, when about your business, or whatever else youhave to do, abide in Him, for He would have you do it.
In closing, I would earnestly urge those who love the Master to take frequent opportunities of getting alone with their Beloved,that they may express their love to Him. Do you often do that, dear Friends? To my mind, that is one of the choice forms ofdevotion-just to tell the Savior how you love Him-to sit down, or kneel, or stand, or walk, and say, "My gracious Lord, Ido love You. Teach me to love You more." Tell Him why you love Him. Rehearse His deeds of Grace towards you. Keep on at thattheme till your heart burns within you with a vehement flame of love to your Lord!
Another acceptable thing to do is, every now and then, to do something specially for Christ Himself or to give something directlyto Christ Himself-as directly as it can be done. As the woman washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with the flowingtresses of her head-and kissed them unceasingly and anointed them with the precious ointment-so do you something for Him.Some will think it wasteful to break the alabaster box and to anoint Him thus, but do it, whatever they may say. There isnothing too precious to be lavished upon Christ. Possibly you can find some poor saint to whom you will do some great deedof love because you are doing it for Christ. Or you may know of some part of the work of Christ that needs help that willcost you much self-denial to render. Do it, but tell nobody about it! Never let your name be seen in the matter, but do itfor Him. If you do really love Him and He is your All-in-All, you will not need any urging to do this.
When we are in love, we need no one to urge us to give tokens and pledges of love-it is a joy to us to do anything that willgive pleasure to our beloved. It is no misery to the tree to produce its luscious fruit and it is no severe task to a Christianto perform deeds of love to Christ! So I will not urge you to it, but leave the matter with you, and with the Well-Belovedof your souls.
But what shall I say to those who do not love Christ? Do not love Christ. O you blind, you dead, you foolish ones! The Lordhave mercy on you! If He does not, remember that this is the text that belongs to you, "If any man loves not the Lord JesusChrist, let him be Anathema Maranatha"-"let him be accursed, for the Lord comes." And every godly soul must say, "Amen," evento that dreadful sentence, for he who loves not the blessed Lord must be accursed!
God save you all from that terrible doom, for Jesus' sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 SAMUEL 18:1-16; 20:1-17.
1 Samuel 18:1. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul ofDavid, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul Jonathan, the brave young soldier who had himself
done great exploits, naturally admired the youthful warrior who had slain the Philistine giant, and also admired the modestyof his speech when he returned with the head of Goliath in his hand. "The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David,and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."
2-4. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant,because he loved him as his own soul And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him. No doubt one suitable tohis rank as the heir-apparent to the throne of Israel.
4, 5. And gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his belt And David went out whereverSaul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war. Probably Jonathan had previously occupiedthat position, but now that David is called to supplant him, Jonathan is not jealous of him, but he loves him as he loveshis own soul.
5-7. And he was accepted in the sight of all thepeople, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. And it came to pass as theycame, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singingand dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one anotheras they played, and said. Singing in chorus, with answering refrains-
7-9. Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; andhe said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have morebut the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day forward. This shows how envy will destroy a man's own peace of mind, aswell as make him plot against the one of whom he is envious. Instead of being thankful to God for sending him such a valiantchampion as David to deliver both himself and his people, Saul is full of malice towards the young hero simply because hereceives his due need of praise for his victory over the giant. "Saul eyed David" with an evil and envious eye-looked askanceupon him and determined to do him mischief whenever he could.
10. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of thehouse. Probably talking wildly and foolishly.
10. And David played with his hand, as at other times. That is, as he had at other times, played upon the harp to chase awaythe evil spirit.
10-12. And there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wallwith it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. And Saul was afraid of David. David was not afraid of Saul, althoughSaul was the man with the javelin, and with the murderous, malicious spirit which prompted him to hurl it at the young harpist.David-guileless, brave, honest, trustful, was not afraid of Saul-but "Saul was afraid of David."
12-14. Because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captainover a thousand; and he went out and came in before thepeople. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORDwas with him. And, young man, you also will be wise if God is with you! And you will be able to behave yourself wisely, discreetly,prosperously, as the word seems to mean. Even when malicious eyes are fixed upon you, they will not be able to find any faultin you if the Lord is with you. You will win favor where you least expect it if you do but so live that God can be with you-ifyou keep the vessel of your nature so pure that the Master can use it. May it be your portion and mine to have it said ofeach of us, "The Lord was with him!"
15, 16. Therefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah lovedDavid, because he went out and came in before them. This love of the people only caused Saul's hatred of David to be carriedto a still greater excess. But Jonathan still loved David and promised to cleave to him whatever might happen. In the 20thChapter we can read still more concerning this faithful friendship.
1 Samuel 20:1, 2. And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? What is my iniquity? And whatis my sin before your father, that he seeks my life? And he said unto him, God forbid; you shall not die. Jonathan could notthink that his father really intended to take the life of his friend!
2, 3. Behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he willshow it to me; and why shouldmy father hidethis thing from me? It is not so. And David swore moreover, and said, Your father certainly knows that I have found favorin your eyes: and he says, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives,there is but a step between me and death. He had so often escaped, as it were, by the skin of his teeth,, from his cruel persecutor,that he knew himself to be in a position of extreme peril.
4. Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatever your soul desires, I will even do it for you. Such was his love for David thathe would make no exception-whatever there was that David wished him to do, he would do it for him.
5-10. And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at dinner:but let me go, that Imay hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. Ifyour father at allmisses me, then say, Davidearnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem, his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.Ifhe say thus, It is well; your servant shallhave peace: but ifhe is very angry, then be sure that evilis determined by him.Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant; for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you:notwithstanding, if there is in me iniquity, slay me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father? And Jonathan said,Far be it from you: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon you, then would Inot tellyou? Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? Or what ifyour father answers you roughly?What am I to do in such a caseas that? If your father should turn against you as well as against me, what is to be done then?
11. And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. Toget quite alone that they might express to one another the feelings of their inmost hearts, and also might consult togetherwithout any risk of being overheard.
12-17. And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about tomorrow any time, or the thirdday, and, behold, if there is good toward David, and I then send not unto you, and show it to you; the LORD do so and muchmore to Jonathan. But if it please my father to do you evil, then I will show it to you, and send you away, thatyou may goin peace: and the LORD be with you, as He has been with my father. Andyou shallnot only while yet I live show me the kindnessof the LORD, that I die not: but also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever: no, not when the LORD hascut off the enemies of David, everyone from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying,Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him:for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Thus were these two men bound together by ties of mutual love-may we be thus boundto Jesus! Oh, that there may be such love between us and our Lord as shall even excel the love of Jonathan and David!