Friends Forever – Our Daily Bread Devotional + Insight, 15th December, 2022
[Jonathan] was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.
1 Tim. 20:34
William Cowper (1731–1800), the English poet, found a friend in his pastor, John Newton (1725–1807), the former slave trader. Cowper suffered from depression and anxiety, attempting to die by suicide more than once. When Newton visited him, they’d go on long walks together and talk about God. Thinking that Cowper would benefit from engaging creatively and having a reason to write his poetry, the minister had the idea to compile a hymnal. Cowper contributed many songs, including “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” When Newton moved to another church, he and Cowper remained strong friends and corresponded regularly for the rest of Cowper’s life.
I see parallels between the strong friendship of Cowper and Newton with that of David and Jonathan in the Old Testament. After David defeated Goliath, “Jonathan became one in spirit with David,” loving him as himself (1 Samuel 18:1). Although Jonathan was the son of King Saul, he defended David against the king’s jealousy and anger, asking his father why David should be put to death. In response, “Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him” (20:33). Jonathan dodged the weapon and was grieved at this shameful treatment of his friend (v. 34).
For both sets of friends, their bond was life-giving as they spurred each other on to serve and love God. How might you similarly encourage a friend today?
What role does friendship play in your sense of well-being? How could you show God’s love to someone and build them up?
Jesus, help me to enjoy Your friendship and fellowship.
The deep friendship between David and Jonathan withstood the test of time and circumstances, evidenced when Jonathan went against his father, King Saul, and even endangered his own life to save David (1 Samuel 20). Though Jonathan was the crown prince, he encouraged David by assuring his safety and affirming that he’d be the next king (23:17). After Jonathan died (31:2), David honored him and expressed his deep loss: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me” (2 Samuel 1:26). After David became king, he showed kindness to Jonathan’s only son, Mephibosheth (ch. 9).