To Be Like Jonathan

Goliath, Saul, and Jonathan all had at least one thing in common . . . David! David the son of Jesse. David of Bethlehem. David the shepherd boy. David the musician. David the warrior. And, it was as the warrior that David separated these three men. Goliath derided him . . . Saul resented him . . .but Jonathan loved him. Goliath saw David as a joke . . . Saul viewed David as a threat . . . Jonathan recognized David as the king. David had a way of polarizing people . . . kind of like his distant descendant, Jesus. And I want to be like Jonathan.

Reading in 1Samuel 17 and 18 this morning.

Scene 1 . . . David meets Goliath. In this corner, wearing but the clothes of a shepherd boy, David. David, anointed of God . . . declared to one day be king . . . filled with the Spirit of God. David ready to do battle . . . but not as the world would expect. Without impressive armor . . . without the standard weapons of earthly warfare . . . he marches into battle confident in only one thing . . . confident in the name of the LORD of hosts, the living God. In the opposing corner, with enough armor on to build a small train engine, Goliath. Goliath, big as a truck . . . Goliath the man eater . . . Goliath the mocker . . . Goliath the self confident . . . soon to be Goliath the dead. In his arrogance, the uncircumcised Philistine looks with disdain on the shepherd boy before him . . . mocks his opponent’s choice of weapons . . . but eventually goes facedown before the boy who would be king.

And how many look upon Jesus as Goliath did upon David. Uncircumcised in heart, dead in trespass and sin, when they are presented the Son they see no form or majesty that they should look at Him, and no beauty that they should desire Him (Isa. 53:2). They look to the cross and see but a sling and stones and laugh in derision. Their power and might is in themselves, and “the message of the cross is foolishness.” “But to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1Cor. 1:18). And so the Goliaths meet the Davids and laugh their heads off (in Goliath’s case, literally).

Next, Saul and David. Saul may have been more realistic about his own power . . . but he was no less determined to maintain his own position. Saul was celebrated as a slayer of thousands, but David was extolled as the slayer of tens of thousands (1Sam. 18:7) . . . and that choked Saul big time! Their wasn’t enough glory to go around for the two of them . . . and Saul wanted it all. It’s not that Saul didn’t recognize that David was God’s anointed, but that he regarded himself as his own anointed . . . and the throne wasn’t big enough for both of them.

God has anointed the greater David, Jesus, as King. He has “highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Php. 2:9-11). And, it’s true, the throne isn’t big enough for two. And those who resent and resist the Christ’s claim on the throne of their lives are destined for a long, slow, deposing of their claim to what is rightfully His. Don’t wanna be a Saul.

But I do want to be like Jonathan!

Though Jonathan was a mighty man of valor in his own right, when this son of Saul encountered the Bethlehemite, Jonathan was so drawn to David that a deep, abiding bond was formed . . . that they were knit together . . . “and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1Sam. 18:1). Though Jonathan possessed the rights to the throne . . . though he was the heir apparent . . . he “stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt” (18:3). Jonathan released all claims on what the world said was rightfully his and placed them at the feet of another . . . because he loved him as his own soul.

Isn’t that the posture we, as believers, have taken with David’s greater Son? Recognizing Him as LORD . . . loving Him with the soul He has redeemed . . . relinquishing all that we might think we deserve . . . we surrender all to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Any view of what we think we might deserve fades away as we remember that we are but sinners deserving only of the wages of sin, but have, instead, been saved by wondrous grace. Any potential we think we might possess, is placed in His hands to command and direct as He desires. Any garments of glory we think might be ascribed to us, are stripped off and laid at His feet . . . for He alone is worthy of all glory. And we love Him . . . with all our soul . . . because He first loved us.

Yeah, I want to be like Jonathan. You too?

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