David approached Jonathan at the palace. “What have I done to deserve death? Tell me to my face so I can make amends if possible.”
Jonathan grabbed David’s shoulders. “What makes you think you’ve committed a crime? I know of no one who accuses you of anything wrong.”
David shook free and paced the room. “Your abba tracked me down at Naioth after he sent men to get me. I know he wants me dead. But, why?”
Jonathan sat down. “Why would my Abba go to Naioth? It’s reserved for prophets. What’s he doing there?”
David stopped and looked into Jonathan’s eyes. The vision of King Saul in his humility flashed through his mind. “You don’t want to know.”
David paced, again. “Your abba knows we’re close. He’d keep this from you to get me. If I’ve done anything wrong kill me yourself. Don’t give him the satisfaction. I know there’s only one step between me and death.”
Jonathan stood in front of David. “You’ve done nothing deserving death, David. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”
David sat down. “Look, tomorrow’s the New Moon festival. I’m expected to eat with the king. If he misses me tell him I went to my family to celebrate with them at their request. If he’s cool with that then all is well, but, if he throws a fit you can bet he wants me dead.”
Jonathan sat next to David. “I think your paranoia is growing. I’ll do as you say so we know for sure.”
David looked up. “How will I know how he responds.”
Jonathan stood. “Let’s go back to the field we were in before.”
They walked to the field in silence. Jonathan pointed to the boulder in the middle of the field. “I’ll come back here in three days with a boy. I’ll shoot some arrows as if I’m target practicing. As he goes for the arrows I’ll tell him to look off to the side if things are well with the king. If I tell him to look further out that will be my way of telling you to go away because you’re right and my abba wants you dead.”
David nodded. “Agreed.”
Jonathan looked at David. “Promise me you’ll show kindness to me and my descendants when you rise to the throne, David. I know that’s God’s will for you.”
David’s vision blurred. “I promise.”
The two men hugged before Jonathan returned to the palace.
Three days later David saw Jonathan come back to the field with a boy. David hid behind the boulder and waited. He heard the arrows land on the front side. Then he heard small footsteps.
“Aren’t the arrows past you. Go quickly and don’t delay.”
The response from Jonathan brought tears to David’s eyes. He held the sobs in so he didn’t alert the boy to his presence. The boy’s footsteps faded.
David held his breath as he heard Jonathan’s voice. “Take these back to the city for me. I’ll be along in a bit.”
David waited a minute before he peeked around the boulder. Jonathan was alone as he sobbed.
David walked to his dear friend, the prince. His knees gave out three times as he bowed in reverence. The two men embraced and cried and kissed. David’s heart wouldn’t allow him to release his hug.
Jonathan pushed him back. “Go in peace my brother. And remember the covenant we swore to the Lord, that your descendants and mine will remain close.”
The two men walked their separate ways. David turned back once and watched Jonathan sobbing on his knees. He steeled himself and continued into his uncertain future.
How does God go about turning a shepherd boy into a king? Step 11: He breaks off all ties to the current king to establish his own dynasty.
This moving scene in 1 Samuel 20 shows us the most difficult moment in David’s young life.
I can relate to him because I never had any close friendships growing up. Not to the level that David shared with Jonathan; “their souls were knit together” is how some translations render their relationship.
Jonathan was in such denial about his father’s determination to kill David that he couldn’t see the reality of the situation. It took Saul throwing a spear at him for the seriousness of David’s concern to sink in completely.
Who could blame either man for wanting to end this friendship? How often does this type of relationship occur? Not very often.
Sometimes God’s plans require us to make tough choices to obey Him and follow His will for our lives. A move away from family and close friends is usually a tough decision people must make when they open themselves up to obeying God.
Matthew 19:29 is a tough verse for many to stomach. “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
There’s a high price to pay to follow Jesus. These tests are not easy ones to pass. Many decide the cost is too high and they remain safe with their familiar life.
Our eternal destiny in Heaven is secured from the moment we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation as our only means of coming into that kingdom. However God dishes out our inheritance in Heaven will be determined by how much of this world we’re willing to leave behind for Him.
Not everyone will be given this test for their life. But, for those of us who are much will be required from us. Otherwise there’d be no need for such sacrifice.
Patience is another test we often must obtain in following God’s will for us. Jonathan and David both had opportunity to end Saul’s life and place David on the throne at any time. But, they both trusted God too much to take matters into their own hands.
His timing is not our timing because of His eternal perspective.
I’ll see you later. Wade