Jonathan, David, and Relational Ministry
Brody Holloway | Be Strong 2013 | 1 Samuel 13
Brody Holloway taught the final session of Be Strong out of 1 Samuel, digging into the close friendship of Jonathan and David. David’s life and ministry is a picture that points us to Jesus and His redemptive work. Seek to grow effectively in your work—and focus on building relationships that are centered on the Gospel. Iron sharpens iron. Ministering to others within the context of relationships reflects the examples we see in the Bible.
Amen. Well, I’m gonna do things a little different this morning, but I’m really excited, I’ll go ahead and tell you. This morning’s talk or message or not really a message, I don’t think, it’s more like… I do a lot, I have opportunity to speak at a lot of like leadership conferences and stuff like that, and this morning’s gonna be more of a, I guess not a lecture, but I’m not really preaching, I just wanna share what’s been some really challenging and helpful thoughts to me, personally. Now, when we preach the Word of God here and right in the middle of our mission statement, for Snowbird Outfitters, there’s a phrase there about the importance of the exposition of Scripture and what that simply means, for those of you that maybe aren’t familiar with that word, it means that we wanna take the Bible, we’re gonna take a passage of Scripture, we wanna study that in such a way that we understand the intent and the content of that text, so we wanna know what was the writer of this…
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as the words flowed through his pen, what was he saying to the initial hearers, and then what does that mean in the big picture of the entirety of Scripture, which points to the Gospel? And all Scripture sort of is wrapped up in the story of redemptive history or the message of the Gospel, so what does it mean, how does it tie to that? And then what does it mean in terms of application for us? And so that’s the way we wanna approach the Scriptures.
So I would encourage you as you even study the Bible yourself, and when you open the Word of God, if you’re a Sunday school teacher, a small group leader, and you study a passage of Scripture… You don’t have to have a seminary degree to do this. You do not have to be educated beyond what the Lord has maybe prepared you to do, and this is also important in your home, as you teach and lead, maybe your kids even at a young age. But we wanna take the text, the passage that we’re studying, we wanna understand the background of that, the intent, the content and the context that it was written in, and then say, “Okay, what is the main point of this and what does it mean to me?” What that does is that enables us to avoid making statements like, “Well, to me, the Bible means this,” or “to me, I interpret this this way,” and it kind of removes my authority over the text and rather puts me under the authority of the text. Does that makes sense to you?
So, that’s what we call… That’s the Hillbilly dumbed down uneducated version of exposition, okay. So when we say that we’re teaching or preaching or studying expositionally or expositor-ally, that’s what we mean. Now, that’s the way we approach the teaching of Scripture here, that’s the way we… Ninety percent of what you’re gonna hear here, that’s the way it’s approached. Now, there are times where we will take an idea or a thought in more of a lecture format and walk through that, and that’s more what we’re gonna do this morning. So I wanna say it upfront, not as a disclaimer, but to make sure you kinda understand the importance and the value that we place on proper study of Scripture. We wanna be careful that we rightly divide the word of truth. If that makes sense. Okay, so what I wanna share with you this morning, some stuff the Lord’s been just hammering me personally with, but first laid on my heart for this conference. And then as I began to study and think through this, boy it’s just really been fruitful, helpful encouraging but also very challenging. And it has to do with the story of Jonathan and David and their relationship. Jonathan and David and their relationship.
Now, this story is recorded mostly in first… Well, all of the story is recorded in the book of 1 Samuel, and it begins about 1 Samuel 13, and it goes through the end of that book, when Saul, King Saul, the King of Israel, is killed. Now, if you’re not familiar with Old Testament history, maybe you’re a new believer, maybe you’ve just not spent time studying that, let me encourage you to study the life of David. I wanna encourage you that… I remember as a young man, about 20… I think I was 24 or 25 years old, it was the first time I ever picked up the Word of God and really studied it. I’d been married two, three years, I would read the Bible and try to do a daily devotional, things like that, but I was about 24, 25, when I really said, “You know what I want… I wanna go deep in my study of Scripture.” And I did what most dudes do, I studied the life of David, ’cause he kills people and chops stuffs head off and cuts the foreskins off of a couple Philistines at one point, so he can marry a girl, it’s a fantastic story.
It’s like, “You wanna marry my daughter? Okay, I need 100 foreskins.” I don’t remember exactly how that story goes and he goes and killed these Philistines. And it’s just the story is just larger than life. It’s better than any movie you’ve ever seen. But it was also the first time in my life where I studied the Bible, listen and grew. I mean, I grew in about a, it was about a 10 or 12 week window, there was a radio preacher, not a televangelist, a legitimate pastor, who had… He probably still comes on the radio, I don’t know, his name was Charles Swindoll, and I loved that and I would listen… He was teaching through… Does he still come on radio? Man, that guy, what a patriarch.
And he was teaching through the life of David, I think he had written a book that went with it, and I studied through that. And one of the things that has always stood out to me about the life of David is the relationship between David and Jonathan. Now, you will get a secular spin on that relationship, which we’ll talk about briefly, where people will imply that it was a homosexual relationship. In fact, if you do a Google search of the friendship with Jonathan and David, that’s what the internet is eating up with. And we’re gonna look this morning at that relationship in a biblical context and find out that… I almost promise you, some of you know way more about the Bible than me. But for a lot of you, this is going to blow your mind and challenge you in a way that I’ve been challenged as I’ve studied it. So the story of David fits into the… Sort of the timeline of the Old Testament, it fits into Israel’s history about a thousand years before the time of Christ. Now, recorded history in Israel started around the time of Abraham, excuse me, which goes about 500 years before that or 1000 years. I don’t remember the timeline. But this story takes place about a 1000 years before the time of Christ.
And so David, we know became the greatest king, some would say in history of the world, but certainly in the history of Israel, he became the greatest king. In fact, the Bible teaches us that David was a type of Christ. What that means is you can study the life, the reign, the ministry in the kingdom of David, and that points us to and gives us sort of a foreshadowing picture of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So the life and ministry of David points us to and foreshadows the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact, for most of us, though David comes on the scene in 1 Samuel 16 at his anointing, most of us are first familiar with David in the slaying of the giant Goliath, who was from a race of people, a family, a genetically superior family of people that were just monsters. And so David is most known for most of us to enter the scene by killing Goliath and chopping off his head, and it’s a fantastic story that you can read about in ! Samuel 17.
But the background to David’s story, and this is where Swindoll’s study started back for me in 1996, I think. Swindoll’s study started for me by doing the back drop to David’s role as king by looking at his predecessor, a guy named Saul. Now, again, as just a little bit of historical background, the nation of Israel had been raised up by God as a people who would be his very own. A people who were His possession, His nation, His people. In fact, in the Old Testament, God would refer to Israel as my first born son. Does that sound familiar? Yeah, it’s a foreshadowing once again of who and what we would become in Christ. And so the rich and beautiful history of the nation of Israel goes way back to before the time of Christ, and so God raises up a nation of people, and in raising up that nation of people, God says, “I will be your king.” Well, all of the other nations around them had earthly kings, and so what God would do is He would raise up generals and men called judges who would rule over Israel, sort of lead them, who would be in leadership over them, but ultimately God was their king.
Well there came a time where the Israelites said,”We don’t wanna be ruled by judges, we don’t want just generals and more leaders, we want an actual legitimate king, we want a throne, we want a crown, we want a man that sits on it and governs over us, so that we’ll be like other nations.” Be careful what you ask God for, be specifically particularly careful what you demand from God, in fact, I would encourage you to never demand anything from God. Amen? Not a good idea. They demand a king from God. And here’s what will kind of shake your theology up a little bit. God says, “Okay,” step aside and gives them what they ask for. And when he does that, he puts on the throne, a man named Saul. Saul is a great king, initially. Starts off looking like, “Man, this guy is gonna be awesome.” He goes to war with Israel’s enemies. He leads great conquests, they conquer enemies that have oppressed them and beared down on them for some time, and he is touted as a great success as king, as war leader, as a ruler, as a statesman. And then we’re told that Saul has several sons, the oldest son that Saul has is a young man named Jonathan.
Now, in the context of monarchies, who becomes the king after a king dies? First born son. That’s right. The first born son. So when Saul would die, then it would stand to reason that Jonathan will then take the throne, Jonathan’s gonna be, he is the predecessor to the throne, the heir to the throne. And so when Saul comes on the scene, he becomes king, then we’re introduced to Jonathan, and Jonathan becomes sort of the heir to the throne, the next guy in line. Now, what happens over the course of the story is that God, because of Saul’s unfaithfulness and sin is gonna remove him and his line from the throne, and He’s gonna place a new king and a new line on the throne. And so I wanna look at the… I wanna look at how that unfolds historically, and then I wanna zoom in on this amazing picture of the relationship between Jonathan and Saul.
So let’s start. I’m gonna read as sort of our base text, a passage from 1 Samuel 18, it’s gonna be sort of our base of operations we’re gonna launch from, 1 Samuel 18. And this is sort of right in the middle of the story at the time that this takes place, Saul is king, Jonathan is commander over the armies, David has been employed into the army because he’s a great champion, but now is in danger of losing that position because Saul’s very jealous of David. “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.” Talking about David. “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan 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.” Interesting thing here, this is at a time where what gave the Philistines the edge mostly in battle, was that the Philistines had sort of come out of the Bronze Age, and were sort of pioneering weapons development into the Iron Age.
Now, if you take brass or bronze or a weaker metal and you run that up against iron, iron wins, right? We know that. Iron is a stronger metal, and so this is a time where the Philistines were developing iron workers, iron work, they were creating superior. In fact, it’s believed that most of the Israelite weapons in this era would have been leather, wood, in terms of defensive weapons-like shields would have been leather and wood, where the Philistines had begun to develop actual shields made out of iron that were very effective in defending in combat and in battle, real heavy, so they’re probably smaller because of the density of iron. But also their swords and spearheads were being made out of iron, so that gave them a great advantage militarily. You’re talking about… You’re talking about a guy with an M4 or an AR-15 and a whole platoon of men being armed that way, going against the platoon of guys with say a bolt action rifle, like an old Springfield or Enfield from World War One or something like that. So it was a superior fire power kind of thing, the Philistines had that. Now, most likely, this is when this…
Historically, this is when Israel began to work to get their own weapons of iron. And so probably, this is… A couple of things happen in verse four of 1 Samuel 18. Jonathan is giving David probably some of the only weapons of this caliber in all of the Israelite army. And these weapons would have been reserved for generals and kings and those in the king’s court, these guys would have been… We know we’re gonna look at a story just in just a second, that Jonathan was a very accomplished fighter, and he probably had the best weapons that Israel had. But then also if you look there in verse 4, he’s also giving him… It says, “he stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David.” This is a transfer of power, men, it’s a transfer of power. This is not just two guys that kinda like each other and wanna be buddies, this is not a homosexual relationship, this is not two dudes that are knit together in soul and covenant because they got married and same sex wedding, because the Israelites Supreme Court ruled that that was okay. That’s not what’s happening here. They served a higher authority who determines and defines all things, and his name is Yahweh. And so what you’ve got here is a covenantal relationship between two men that, listen, represents the heir to the throne transferring power.
What a powerful scene. What a powerful moment in 1 Samuel 18:4. If you want a lesson in, zoom in on this verse. A lot of you were… A lot of comments yesterday about just the humility of Bruce Crocker and what a humble dude, he stands there and… He’s looking over those glasses… Basically, here’s what I interpreted. “My lung was hanging out, I was dying.” But Bruce is like, “You know what, God’s in control.” You know one of the signs of humility is faith and dependence on the Lord, and an understanding that the story is about God, the story is not about me, that’s what I got. That was my big take-away yesterday morning, I’ve heard the story a bunch times, but it’s really challenging and convicting to me, and That’s Bruce’s goal, that’s what He wants. He wants the Lord to be praised in that. We got an example of that yesterday.
Jonathan gives us an example of that. It’s not about me. “Man, if I don’t ever sit on the throne and I don’t rule over Israel, that’s cool. What does God want for me?” So there’s this amazing picture where he’s giving him these probably very difficult to attain weapons, and this transfer of power takes place. “And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent Him, so that David… So that Saul set him over the men of war.” So God is preparing David in this season by making him sort of the guy who’s over the special operations teams and units for Israel. So he’s got a very special… He’s a young man, remember, at this point, David’s a young man, puts him over special operatives. “And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.” So you’ve got David becoming an accomplished fighter. Jonathan, in this clearly symbolic transfer of power, but it’s what seems to be a literal transfer of power. At least in Jonathan’s eyes, he’s recognizing that David will be king. Now, how would Jonathan have known that? Well, we go back to 1 Samuel 16, if you just go back one, not far, one page probably, what you read is the anointing of David as king.
So in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel was the prophet of Israel, he’s the one that had anointed Saul to be king, but Saul has been disobedient to the Lord, kingdom’s gonna be taken away from him. And so what happens is, Samuel goes to David’s house, the Lord leads him there, and David has a bunch of older brothers, and you know the story, if you’re familiar with that. None of the other brothers as they pass before Samuel are chosen and anointed to be the next king. But eventually David is brought in from the fields, who is just a young boy, probably a young adolescent young man, and he’s brought in, and then Samuel in this passage, anoints him with a horn of oil to be the next king. He basically says, “You’re gonna be the next king of Israel.” But then David is sent right back out to take care of the sheep, it’s not like he doesn’t get anointed and then he’s taken to kill Goliath, and then taken to be king. There are huge time gaps between these events in David’s life. So David as a young boy is anointed, you’re gonna be the next king of Israel. Can you imagine that moment? He’s out in the field, taking care of sheep, somebody comes and gets him and it’s like, Hey, they probably had a nickname for him, you know, he’s the youngest kid, he seems to be sort of…
He’s been given the worst job, he’s out taking care of sheep far from the house, they don’t even bring him in, they don’t recognize him as a son initially, but Samuel says, No, that’s the guy that’s gonna be king. And so Samuel anoints him to be king. You read about that in 1 Samuel 16. So it would appear that Jonathan had an understanding of that. Jonathan had an understanding of that. Now, I want you to watch this and walk you through a really cool timeline here, beginning in 1 Samuel 13. The title of that chapter is Saul fights the Philistines. It says this, “Saul lived for one year and then became king, and when he had reigned for two years over Israel, Saul chose 3000 men of Israel, 2000 were with Saul and Michmash in the hill country of Bethel or Bethel, and a 1000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin.” So a 1000 men are under Jonathan’s leadership early in Saul’s… Right this is the first year, first or second year of Saul’s reign as king, and Jonathan is appointed to be a general or a commander over a 1000 men. “Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines, that was a Gibeah and the Philistines heard of it, and Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land saying, Let the Hebrews hear.”
So here’s what we gather from that. Jonathan had to be at least 20 years old at this point. So in 1 Samuel 13, we’re looking at a young man, Jonathan, who is at least 20 years old, how do we know that? Or why does that matter? Well, because Numbers 1:1-3 says this, “The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the tent of meeting on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take a census of all the congregation of people of Israel by clans, by father’s houses according to the number of names, every male, head by head, from 20 years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them company by company.” So you see that? In order to go to war, you had to be 20 years old. In the second year of Saul’s reign, Jonathan would have been at least 20 years old. At least, 20 years old. Now, he might have been older ’cause he’s already… I mean, you guys that served in the military, I talked to quite a few of you yesterday, you didn’t go in when you were 18… Maybe you signed up when you were 17, you didn’t go in at 17, 18 years old, go through boot camp, basic training, work your way into a private first class, and then maybe if you were really sharp, you became a corporal by age 20.
Any one star generals? Any Major Generals any Lieutenant Colonels? At age 20? No. No, of course not. That’s not the way it works, is it? So possibly even now, I don’t wanna read anything that’s not there into the text, but Scripturally we know he had to have been 20, it’s possible he was older, it’s possible that he was seasoned even more than that, but we’ll… To be conservative, we’ll say he was 20 at the time that he is put in command of a thousand men, this would have been in the second year of Saul’s reign as king, if we’re following a timeline here. Okay, where’s David on the scene at this point? Maybe just being born. Some of you that peaked your interest, alright. So we’re talking timelines here, so now we know that in 1 Samuel 14, if you turn to the next page, the next chapter, Jonathan was proven in battle, he became a great warrior. One of my favorite battle stories in all of the Bible is in 1 Samuel 14, where Jonathan takes this initiative and he strikes the enemy, and it’s a fantastic story, kind of on par with the stories of David’s mighty men that you read about. It’s a fantastic story. So in 1 Samuel 14, I encourage you tonight or tomorrow morning, your quiet time, read that story, it’ll fire you up.
But Jonathan has a great war victory against a much stronger Philistine enemy, and in doing that, he shows himself to be a man of great faith, even though the other men in Israel seemed to have a lack of faith in that moment. You’ve got this man, Jonathan, who goes against the enemy, wins a great victory for his people.
Now, Acts 13:21, I’m jumping around and I told my guys up top, “Hey, here’s what I’m gonna… ” The guys up top may have a hard time following me this morning. Please be patient with them if they do, I’m all over the place, I know. Acts 13:21, “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin for 40 years.” How long did Saul reign? Forty years, 40 years. Now, what do we know of the end of Saul’s reign? Last chapter of 1 Samuel, Saul dies in battle with the Philistines. When Saul dies in battle with the Philistines, guess who else dies in battle with the Philistines? Jonathan. So 40 years from the beginning of Saul’s reign to his death, you guys following the timeline, that first battle where Jonathan has 1000 inscripted men or conscripted men under his authority, where he would have been at least 20 years old. Second year of… We’re talking about the second year of Saul’s reign, if Jonathan was 20, then at Jonathan’s death, he was 58 years old. You guys trackin’?
Alright, I told you, it’s gonna be more like Sunday school. Okay, not Bible trivia, Sunday school, we’re learning. Okay, this is important stuff. Now, jump down to… Let’s go to… Let’s look at… Let’s go back to 18, back in Chapter 18. This is so cool. This is kind of stuff just geeks me out right here, this is crazy, what’s getting ready to happen. Okay, we read those five verses where Jonathan has a sort of this transfer of power to David, their souls knit together. They become my best friends. They’re so close, there’s this powerful scene, and in the next half of 1 Samuel 18:6-16, it’s recorded that Saul begins to be jealous of David, so King Saul becomes jealous of this young man David, but at this point, David is no longer a shepherd in the field. Because here’s what has happened, David is anointed in the field, in Chapter 16. The very next chapter, 1 Samuel 17, David goes and conquers Goliath. So the timeline is this, Saul becomes king, puts his son as a commander over army of a thousand, several years pass during which Jonathan becomes an accomplished war general. There comes a time where Saul is then unfaithful to the Lord and so Samuel anoint a new king from outside of the lineage of Saul, and God says to Saul, “You’re gonna lose… Your lineage is gonna lose the throne of Israel.”
David comes on the scene in 1 Samuel 17, and in an act of faith destroys and defeats Goliath the Giant, the great enemy of the Israelites, and in doing that foreshadows the deliverance that Jesus would bring to us as sinners, it’s an amazing Gospel story. David has been promoted and brought into Saul’s court and is made a king or a commander over men in war, we saw that in our opening text. So that’s the timeline. David is anointed, Saul is the King, but David is anointed to be the next king because of Saul’s unfaithfulness. Jonathan is proven in war, David then grows up into a role of war general, and he and Jonathan are two war generals who seem to be best friends. But Saul, the second half of 1 Samuel 18 is very jealous, very jealous of David. So what does Saul do? He sets out to kill David. He decides, “I gotta take this guy out. This guys a threat to my reign, this guy’s a threat to my position, he’s a threat to my authority, and so Saul begins to try to actually kill David.
Now, in 1 Samuel 20, if you’re just kinda jotting stuff down, you go a couple more chapters, what happens is there’s this amazing interaction between Jonathan and David, where Jonathan says to David, my dad wants to kill you, you gotta get out of here. But listen, let me just read this. It’s kind of lengthy, but it’s just so important. “Then David fled from Naioth,” This is the 1 Samuel 20, ” in Ramah and came and said, before Jonathan, what have I done? What is my guilt and what is my sin before your father, that He seeks my life? And he said to him, far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me, why should my father hide it from me, if not so?” So he says, Your dad wants to kill me, I know he’s gonna get me. And Jonathan says, Okay, but I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. And so they set up a system whereby Jonathan will alert David whether or not the king actually wants to kill him or not, and if he does, David can then go in hiding. And so you go down to verse 8, “Therefore deal kindly with your servant for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Yahweh with you, but if there’s guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?”
“And Jonathan said, Far be it from you. If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you? Then David said to Jonathan, who will tell me if your father answers you roughly? And Jonathan said to David, come, let us go into the field. So they both went into the field. And Jonathan said to David, Yahweh, the God of Israel, be witness, when I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow on the third day, Behold, if he is well-disposed towards David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you. But should it please my father to do you harm, Yahweh do so to Jonathan the more also, if I do not disclose to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May Yahweh be with you as He has been with my father. If I’m still alive, show me the steadfast love of Yahweh that I may not die, and do not cut off your steadfast love for my house forever when Yahweh cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”
Verse 15 is very important, what is Jonathan recognizing there? He’s saying, “You’re gonna be king, remember me when that happens. Don’t cut my family off from the house of Israel, Yahweh is going to put you on the throne, remember me in that day. And I may be dead and gone from here, so remember my family. So you’ve got Jonathan now working to preserve what God has intended to do in David’s life, you’ve got Jonathan working to preserve David’s role as king. David goes in hiding. It’s a great story, how David goes into the wilderness. It’s a crazy chain of events, if you like to read… Let me… As an aside, if you like to read fiction or historical fiction, there’s a guy name Cliff Graham that wrote a series of books called the Lion of War series, some of you have probably read that. It is fantastic. It’s so good, and he… And Cliff Graham says, “Hey, it’s not the Bible.” But he takes the hard facts of these stories, and he puts together a series of novels about the exploits of David and Jonathan, David’s mighty men. It’s pretty cool. So I commend, I recommend it to you.
So Jonathan then and David separate in 1 Samuel 20, and they’re never to be… Basically, they part ways and they don’t ever get to be friends again. Okay. And what happens next is at the end of 1 Samuel, Jonathan dies with his father at the end of Saul’s reign. Now, 2 Samuel 4 says this, “David said to him, How did it go? Tell me. And he answered, the people fled from the battle, and also many of the people are fallen dead. And Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Now watch this, Jonathan was at least 20 years old, we determined in the second year of Saul’s reign, Saul reigns for 38 years. He had previously reigned for two of the 40 years, so that means that Jonathan was at least 58 years as a war general when he dies.
Now, now listen to this. 2 Samuel 5:1-4, I hope you’re still with me. I know I’m all over the place, kind of the way my brain works and I’m just kinda… You guys are looking into my brain right now which is scary. 2 Samuel 5:1-4, “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, You shall be shepherd of my people, Israel, and you shall be Prince over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the King at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before Yahweh. And they anointed David King over Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:3, David is anointed king at the age of 30, 30. We know David became king when he was 30 years old. So at the time of Jonathan’s death we’re probably… We can’t be exact in these figures, but he’s around 58 years old at the time of David… David’s age at the time of Jonathan’s death, seems to be around 30 years old. Does that seem just kind of like… Are any of you right now going, “What, 28 years?”
And all of a sudden what you’ve got in the redefining, not redefining, but sort of restructuring in my mind of this friendship and the most conservative estimates would say 20 years between them. Now you’ve got this man, Jonathan, mentoring and investing in this young man who has the hand of God on him, what an act of humility. Now go back to our text, chapter 18:1-5, where he transfers power to this young man, he says, “My time has come, and I’m not to be king, you’re to be king, and I want you to remember me, and I want you to remember my family, and I want you to rule the way Yahweh would have you to rule. I want you to have the anointing of my father.” Because Jonathan stays faithful to his father and loyal to his father till the end. Wow, ’cause his father was the anointed man of Israel until his death. David even recognized that. So you’ve got this amazing truth… I just always assumed that David and Jonathan are basically the same age. In my brain, I jus away pictured them as a couple of 20-year-old guys, high fiving and bumping knuckles and saying, “Let’s go to war. Let’s do it. Let’s go fight together. We’re brothers, Let’s drink together, fight together, kill Philistines together,” the whole thing. And now you’ve got sort of a different picture.
Now, some of you already know this, some of you are like, “Yeah, I knew where you were going with is, I know what’s up.” But for me, this has been amazing, because how many times do we maybe have the opportunity to see God’s hand at work in the life of a younger brother, a younger man, or in your pastor… Listen, here’s what Jonathan wanted to do, he wanted to be behind the man that God was moving and working to raise up. He wanted to be behind the ministry that God was moving and working to do things through. And if we as men would just take a simple lesson this morning, if we would learn from that humility and say, “What can I do as a man behind the scenes or behind the pastor or behind the church that is working to make sure that God’s plan and purpose advances?” The kingdom of Israel was going to advance. Most of these stories happened in a tumultuous time where there’s war between Israel and Philistia, and the Philistines are constantly driving Israel back. God has removed His hand of favor from Saul, and so Saul is not being successful in combat, and the Philistines seemed to be gaining ground and David seems to be gaining ground in the other direction. And it begins to be evident that maybe God’s gonna raise this man up to deliver Israel yet again.
And Jonathan says, “I wanna be a part of what God’s doing. I’m not worried about me.” Here’s what he’s saying. Here’s what it all comes down to like, if you’re gonna condense this down into a sentence. Jonathan’s saying, “This is not about me, it’s just bigger than me. This is not about me, this is bigger than me.” And Jonathan has a legacy that lives beyond his death on the battlefield, this is just… This is beautiful to me. His legacy lives beyond his death on the battlefield, because his legacy to a large degree, to a great degree, lives through David, which points us to the Gospel. What if Jonathan had said, “No, dude, look like, you’re my buddy, we’re friends. That’s great. But man, I’m supposed to be the king next. This is crazy, man. You can’t… You can’t step in here and get in the way. I’ve worked hard, I’ve worked hard, man, since I was 20 years old I was fighting, going to battle, it’s all I’ve ever known is hardship and trials.” The time when Israel was a young nation and they’re establishing some territory, but they’re fighting for every inch of it, and Jonathan lived the life of a fighter, and then says, “Oh, oh, so I was fighting, but not for my throne.”
You see that? Yeah, not for your throne. For God’s plan, God’s purpose for something bigger than you, for something greater than you, for something that’s gonna matter 50 years after you’re dead, 500 years after you’re dead, 1000 years after you’re dead. What a great opportunity and example for us to live our lives in a way that we’re investing in people and ministry and work that is gonna matter 50 years after we’re gone. Fifty years after our kids are gone, 50 years after our grandkids are gone. And all of this is driven by the humility of a man who understood, Yahweh has a plan, the Lord Jesus has a plan, and it’s bigger than me, and it ain’t about me. It’s bigger than that, it’s bigger than that. This man’s a picture of humility, a picture of what it looks like to get behind the man of God, to get behind the mission of the Gospel. He understood this simple but critical truth that we all have to understand, it’s not about me, it’s bigger than me. One of the things that we do here at Snowbird is we train young men and young women, I love that aspect of ministry here, I really love it. And we got an awesome group of young men and young women here right now. You’ve met some of them, had the opportunity to meet some of them.
And one of the things that I love doing is we basically just do leadership instruction and development with them. And one of the tracks of that that we cover is we talk about humility in leadership, and it’s not something… It’s a difficult thing to address. How do you address humility in leadership, because it’s so difficult to find the balance of being groomed into a leader and maintaining humility in a sort of a world where both in media and film and television and athletics, the biggest winners and biggest names tend to not display humility, do they? They tend to not display humility. You got Cam Newton doing that dance thing he did and everybody’s freaking out and going crazy, and it’s awesome, and then he wouldn’t even dive on the fumble in the Super Bowl, can and you tell I’m ill about that. Okay, so…
There’s this idea in our world today where we sort of celebrate obnoxious arrogance and leadership… Yeah, I do not wanna get into politics, but Donald freaking Trump. Okay, you vote for him. That’s fine, but I’m saying, that is arrogance. Boom, like whatever. Do what you wanna do. I don’t care who you vote for. I ain’t telling you how I’m voting for it. Alright, that’s not what I’m saying, but I mean that, “Me and my and I and… Alright, well, I’ll do it on… ” But you know what? Its sells. It sells, doesn’t it? People buy into that. People buy into that. We like big boisterous personalities that are out front, again, I am not making a political statement. Half, you guys are probably voting for Trump. That’s fine. That’s cool. Alright, but I’m saying is that not what has launched him to… Would he have gone like this if he was like pulling a Bernie Sanders? Like what is that guy doing? He’s up there… You give free college to everybody.” Sure, we are. That’s great. That’ll be awesome. Let’s see how that works out.
Would Trump have done this? No man, he’s tapping into something where people are saying, “That guy.” Why? ‘Cause he’s loud, he’s boisterous, but he’s also successful, and it’s like people like, that’s the world we live in. But did you see Peyton Manning’s retirement speech? Man wept and said, “I owe so much to the game of football.” Did that resonate with you? Yeah, you’re going, there is a guy who understands this game is bigger than me, this team is bigger than me, I got an 18-year drop in the bucket of what football history has been and will be, and he weeps as he’s going out the door. And you can feel and sense in that humility, yeah, that guy really knows, it was a joy to play the game, and it was a gift. That resonates with us, as Christian men especially, that resonates with us. Even if you’re not a Peyton Manning fan. That’s fine. It’s fine, you can like Tom Brady and be wrong, and an invitation to repent or whatever. That was bad. But it does. Man, it really resonates with you. And so when you see…
I remember a few years ago, a young man that kind of made a splash on the scene in the NBA, and it was fairly short lived, it was kind of a larger than life story, Cinderella story. And I remember every time he’d get in front of the camera, he would say, “Man, this ain’t about me, for whatever reason, this is what God’s doing in my life right now, and I wanna make it count and matter, bigger than the game of basketball.” That resonates with us, and Jonathan gives us that example, he show us what that looks like.
So when we’re doing leadership development, and I wanna share some of this with you guys, it seems like humility and effective, powerful leadership don’t go hand in hand. But if you’ve been in leadership or served under effective leadership, you know they absolutely cannot be separated because good leaders serve others, good leaders care about others, good leaders get behind other good leaders, and push and drive for a bigger mission, a bigger cause.
Let me just share some… We’ve got dozens of these principles that we teach in our institute, I wanted to share a few of them with you this morning that sort of connect or relate to humility. Number one, I don’t have to number these first one is this though. Know what you don’t know. Know what you don’t know. There’s always gonna be somebody that knows more than you in a given area, always gonna be somebody that knows more than you in a given area. Know what you don’t know. Know your limitations as a man, as a husband, as an employee, as an employer, as a worker, as someone that leads in ministry or leads in the home or leads in the workplace. Know what you don’t know. So what we tend to do is as we climb the corporate ladder or as we gain years in life, we tend think about how much we know and what life experience has given us so that… But with our older brothers in here, most of them would say, “But it comes full circle, and the older you get in life, the more you start to realize these principles are true.” And humility tends to sort of be a theme in the later years of a man’s life where he realizes, “Man, I hope I did all that I could do. I hope I’ve worked to leave a legacy.”
Next, Don’t fall for your own publicity, Don’t fall for your own publicity. That’s a good one. There’s gonna be times when people are singing your praises, times where you’re singing your own praises, whatever, don’t fall for the publicity. Remember, God has a plan and a purpose for you. Jonathan could have done this man. He could have gone,”Goodness, look what I’m doing. I’m slinging arrows and swinging swords and Philistines are dropping in the bucket, man, 20 at a time. I am getting it done, I am doing work, I need to be king.” And he didn’t. We don’t see any of that in him. Next, never underestimate your competition. Spiritually, we’re talking about Satan, the enemy. The Scripture tells us to be aware of his schemes. Be aware of his schemes, never underestimate him, he’s gonna attack you, he’s gonna manipulate you, he’s going to try to come between you and your wife. Single guy, he’s gonna try to convince you that it’s okay to have sex with that girl ’cause you love her and you all eventually will be together. He’s gonna try to convince you, convince you as a man that pornography is harmless because it’s of an image on a screen and not a real person.
He’s gonna try to manipulate and control by en-tangling you in the affairs of this life that have nothing to do with really anything that matters 50 years from now. He’s gonna try to distract you, sidetrack you. If he can make work your idol, he’s cool with that, if he can make your kids your idol, he’s cool with that, if he can make sex, drugs, alcohol, your idol. He’s cool with that, and we sort of categorize and think of some of that as worse, but Satan, don’t care. Satan is no more impressed with his own work when he gets somebody to become a drug addict and abandon their family, then he is when he gets a dad to just be distracted and married to his job, he’s equally content in both those situations. Guaranteed Why? Because when he can divert your focus from God’s purpose and calling on your life as a man, then he can start to disrupt the things that God wants to do in your life. So don’t underestimate the competition.
Don’t underestimate the competition that the world presents, the world is a place that will consume and gobble up our families, our marriages, just literally pull us apart, the world… When you hear the phrase the world or the term that terminology in the context of spiritual life, what we’re talking about there is the world as a system that is collectively working against and pushing against the advance of the Gospel. As the Gospel advances, the world pushes back. The world pushes back. So whether that’s through… Like in our culture here, it’s probably through the influence of media. You go to a place like Northern Iraq, it’s more the influence of persecution coming into the church. But at any rate, the world is collectively pushing back against the church.
Next, the flesh, recognizing the enemy of the flesh. Don’t underestimate the power of your flesh, don’t ever… And this becomes a pride humility thing, so don’t underestimate the competition, satan, the world, the flesh. The flesh being you can’t ever sit back and go, “Man, I don’t know how that happened. I’d never leave my wife. I’d never have an affair. I’d never do that… ” There, but for the grace of God, would every one of us walk right there, every one of us is capable of falling as far and as fast, and as… Every single man, one of us, can fall as far and as fast as hard as the worst fall that’s ever occurred. And so we have to recognize the enemy of the flesh within. The Scripture says, “There’s war within us,” in Galatians Chapter five. We don’t just fight an external enemy, Galatians 5 says we’re fighting, we’re at war within our own hearts and minds, he says, “the Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh. The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit,” literally, we’re at war in our own minds. And so we need to not underestimate the competition, but we need to overwhelm the competition. So it’s easy to say… Don’t underestimate the competition is not to say, Be afraid of the competition or be intimidated by the competition. Or you can’t beat the competition. That’s not what we’re saying.
It’s don’t overestimate… Recognize that you have real enemies in your spiritual walk, but also recognize, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” And as Romans 8 says, “We will overwhelmingly conquer through Christ who loves us,” and so we will overwhelm the competition and defeat. Daily, we will win daily the battle that God’s called us to.
Next, embrace and promote a constant attitude of service. Daddies who serve and humbly give to the growth of their kids and wives are more effective. Employers, bosses, supervisors who serve the people they lead are more effective. How do you do that? I don’t wanna get into the how to’s. You know the context that you work in, you know the context of your home, maybe it’s something like washing the dishes because the dishwasher is broken and you couldn’t get to it. I don’t wanna get into scenarios. Maybe at work, it’s the idea of getting… Getting on the assembly line, leaving the corporate box and getting on the assembly line and working alongside of those guys, whatever. You read about great corporate men, they would do those things. Guys like Sam Walton, Lee Iacocca, whatever his name was, the Dodge dude. It was fantastic. If you read those books about those guys. Truett Cathy, guys like that, that man, they mixed it up with the people they led, they didn’t sit from a distance and sort of give orders and boss around… Guys like Teddy Roosevelt who was like, “I’m gonna be president but I ain’t gonna lay my gun down. I’m fighting with you boys.”
Like that kind of attitude of leadership at the ground level, boots on the ground in the fight, serving those around you, giving them the first drink of water, giving them the first and best of everything, that sort of servant leadership.
Next, be passionately curious. Be passionately curious. Albert Einstein said this, “I have no special talent. I am simply passionately curious.” What’s that mean? Well, be curious about the things that your kids love, be curious about the things that interest your wife, like don’t roll your eyes at Pinterest. I’ll give you an example, and let me just say first, this is really bad… A bad one for me, I struggle, ’cause I’m not curious about Pinterest, until I found out they have… Guys put pictures of souped up AR-15s and 19-11s on there, which is pretty sweet. Hot Rods, muscle cars, sweet motorcycles. You can see some cool stuff on Pinterest, I found out, but not that I looked, some guys told me.
But for me, I’ll tell you one that’s been funny ’cause I really am terrible at this. We kinda like what we like. We’re into what we’re into, we do our thing, and we tend to compartmentalize and separate completely at the home. I’ll go to the shop or… She goes to her friend’s house, whatever. But finding ways to really take interest in the things that people around us care about. I’ve taken to watching this reality show called The Voice over the last couple of years, and I’ll be honest with you, I’m legitimately not interested in it, I just feel sitting there for an hour like I could be doing whatever. But it has been so fun, about a year and a half ago, I was like, You know what, I’m throwing everything, I’m gonna… I’m all in, and I’m like, Okay, now tell me about this singer and I don’t remember any of their names, and I’m not a musical guy, but my girls are into it, I mean, they are locked in.
They’re like, “Well, so and so said so, and Blake, and the one cat Adam, they always go… ” They were explaining it to me the other night, “They’re always getting at each other and… ” And next thing I know, man, I’m right in the middle of… You ever had that happen to you? Just give yourself to it, next thing you know, you’ll actually be enjoying it pretty good. And then I was like… I remember one day, one day I’m going to bed, we just watched an episode of it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I actually enjoyed that. This is terrible.” So it’s funny, you give yourself to the things that matter to other people, you’re passionately curious. Guys you work with, we talked last night about knowing people’s stories. And so keying in on people, guy in your Sunday school class that you don’t really know, and saying, “Man, what drives you, what motivates you?” “Oh man, I don’t know, and I work this job at such and such and just kinda… ” “But okay, but what motivates you?” “Well, I’m into… I play guitar.” “Really, awesome!” And whatever it is, and begin to be passionately curious about things that matter to other people. Awesome. Any of us can do this. Any of us can do this.
Next one, choose to care, don’t wait for a feeling of caring, choose to care, don’t wait for a feeling of caring. If Jonathan had waited to see what was gonna work out and happen, it would have gone south for him at some point, because God did not ascend David to the throne until after Saul’s death and Jonathan’s death. So Jonathan would have been in limbo. He chose to care. He went to David. I mean, who’s the pursuer here you got a 50-year-old dude and a 20-year-old dude, and they bond together, and it’s clear that there’s an exchange there, and what it seems to be is that Jonathan is taking ownership and mentorship into David’s life. He chose to care about this young man that had the anointing and the hand of God on his life. The Gospel will drive that. Scripture will drive that. People are affected and impacted more by you when you really care. This applies to work, applies to ministry, applies to family, applies to people in general.
Next, you can be right and still be ineffective. Like, “I told you so,” is not typically a good end to a story. “I told you that was gonna happen.” Even when you are right, you can render yourself completely ineffective. And so opportunities where I’m right and they’re wrong, give me a teaching opportunity, opportunity to learn. An opportunity to grow. God doesn’t say to Israel, “See, I told you so. Saul was an idiot. I told you. You guys should have listened to me.” No, what he does is he prepares for their failure by raising up a greater king. So he knows what he knows, this is not gonna go well for you guys. Saul is not gonna be a good king, you’re gonna select the tallest, biggest, broadest, strongest guy, but he’s not gonna be a good king for you. And so God, rather than sit back and go, “Alright, see how this works out for you. Let me know when you guys are ready to do business.” No, He’s right in the mix of it, you see him working throughout the story. And then in the middle of that, he raises up David and through Jonathan has his transfer of power. And God says, “This is my answer to Saul’s failure.”
Now, we know David’s not perfect, and he’s a man of great moral failure. But, God’s still in control, He’s still on the throne, because the throne of David is only to point us to the greater Throne of God. Your position as father is only to point us to a greater understanding of the Father, your position as husband is only to appoint others to a greater position of Christ as the husband to his bride, the church. That’s our responsibility. A couple more, spend more time learning and building relationships, and less time showing off what you already know personally, invest in relationships, spend more time learning people and knowing them, less time showing off what we already know.
And last one I want to share with you. I got a whole book of these, but I’m gonna stop here. Don’t think that the delay of consequences… Don’t think that the delay of consequences is the same as the absence of consequences, don’t fall for that. “Well, I got away with it. Nobody seems to care.” Well it it’ll matter. It might be five years from now, it might be 20 years from now. But it’ll matter. It’ll matter. It’ll matter in that little girl’s life when she marries a guy just like you. It’ll matter. It’ll matter in that little boy’s life when he turns 18 and does not have a clue who he is as a young man in this world, it’ll matter. It might be 40 years from now, when two generations removed from you you realize, what did I start? What did I start? Don’t think that the delay of consequences is the same as the absence of consequences.
You know, you see these situations where guys slide down the slippery slope of extra-marital relationships that often times start at such a simple sort of friendship level, but we’re not vigilant, we don’t safeguard, and there’s no immediate consequences to that slide. There’s a point where it all caves in, all caves in. I hate to sound silly and goofy, but in the… You guys know the Hulk Hogan? You know the guy, name’s Terry something. He goes by Hulk Hogan, used to be a wrestler. In the mornings, my wife has the little turn… Puts the laptop on and hits like the role through feed of like ABC Morning News or something like that. Good Morning America, something like that. We just play through. Like three mornings this week, they’re talking about some trial he’s in where it’s a sex tape and he’s… I don’t know. I’m like, “Oh, better… Kids are in there eating breakfast. Let’s bump through this.” But at one point, I heard them say that the tape, and I don’t know the story, and you may have read it in the news, I think it’s a big news story this week. But he’s in a lawsuit because he had a sexual relationship with a woman that wasn’t his wife.
Now I don’t know exactly what the lawsuit’s concerning, but the tape, this sex tape was like two minutes long. Can you imagine what a man will trade for two minutes of pleasure. That’s not even being sarcastic or funny or making fun of a guy. That’s not a joke, like the two-minute man. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying literally two minutes, momentary pleasure. And how many times do we feel like, “Man, I got away with it, or nobody knows, or nobody will know.” Brothers, do not ever think that the delay of consequences is the same as the absence of consequences. And I’d encourage you in this direction right here. I believe if Saul as King, at the point where Jonathan embraced David and goes and speaks to his father on David’s behalf, if he would have repented and turned to the Lord right, then I believe the story might be written completely differently. And we can’t live in hypotheticals, when it comes to Scripture, ’cause all we see is the brass arrogance of a man that ran head long away from God and the consequences came years later. It didn’t happen right then. Saul’s kingdom was not jerked out from under him, the moment he disobeyed the Lord. It was years, it was years of turmoil and disruption and a miserable life that ended in a miserable death.
But here’s the hope. Here’s the hope. We don’t have to have a delay of consequences because we can have immediate repentance, and with immediate repentance comes the removal of delayed consequences and the outpouring of God’s grace. Now I’d challenge you this morning to embrace the grace that God extends to us as men for those areas in our lives where we’ve failed to be humble and to lead well, and to love well, and to serve well. And to step back and say, “You know what, I’ve been sitting on the bench at church, I’m a bench warmer. I just kinda show up and do my thing.” And say, “How do I get behind the man that God’s called to lead this thing, or how do I get behind the movement that God’s doing here at my church, or how do I get behind the work that’s reaching this community, ’cause it ain’t about me. And I wanna get behind something that’s bigger than me. And my kid’s lives will most likely be bigger than my life in one way or the other. And my business could outlast me in one way or the other.”
And to begin to see the work that God’s doing in our lives as being something that can get big and matter in so many different ways, even though it may not be numerically or financially. But to know that God’s called you to something great as a man, and we can be on mission with the Lord who put David on the throne and the Lord who put Jesus on the cross, that led to a greater throne. Be on mission. And that delay of consequences can be completely eliminated, where we embrace immediate consequences and the grace that we can receive through repentance and humility, humbling ourselves before the Lord and receiving what God has for us. Amen?
This morning. I guess my closing challenge or thought would be this. Every one of us can search deep and say, “Where have I messed up, where have I failed? Maybe we go back in our minds a little bit and say, “Man, it was that one conversation, it was that one place, was that one situation that maybe began this downward slide or began to unravel relationships. Or maybe something that happened, you put away and you just kind of been going through life doing your thing, and it’s like, “Hey man, that’s gonna come back to get you. You can’t leave that unburied, un-dealt with.”
Maybe the Lord puts on your heart to go to your wife, go to your son or your daughter, go to a co-worker, go to a brother in the church. Man, maybe there’s friction between you and a pastor, you and a brother at church, and you go to each other, today or tomorrow, and say, “Man, let’s put this behind us and let’s move, like Jonathan and David style.” Older brothers, invest in younger brothers. They need it. They want it. They desire it. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. One of the most amazing blessings of my life has been older, godly men that I can just come to, sit under, learn from. Love that. That’s the way God designed it to work. And dads and step dads speak life and truth and lead with humility in the lives of your kids, and watch God do great things in and through your family. Amen?
So we’re gonna close with the last thing we’re gonna do here for the weekend, is we’re just gonna have a time worship with a couple more songs, I think two more songs and just sing and praise the Lord. And I would encourage you sing and worship God through song, but also worship God if he moves in your heart through repentance and confession and response in your heart and your mind to the word of the Lord and to what God’s done in your heart, this weekend. Amen? And we’ll worship the Lord together today and then for 10000 years, starting here in a little bit. It’s gonna be awesome.
Okay, let’s pray, Lord, I pray that you would take your word and help it to be practical and applicable to us. I pray that we would be faithful in the areas you’ve entrusted us with in our lives. I pray that we would be faithful in our churches… I pray these men wouldn’t just be the guys that show up, and with a consumer Christianity mindset, you show up on Sunday and kinda go through the motions and do their thing, but that we would get involved, that we would look for areas where we can transfer power, empower young men, empower young women, invest in a younger generation, empower brothers in the call to faith and the work of the Gospel. Empower our employers, empower our employees. We would be those who drive people forward and upward rather than drag people downward and backward, please use us to be catalysts for growth in other people’s lives because of the growth you bring about in our lives.
I thank you for these men and their desire and willingness to spend two or three days of their lives in a place like this, sharpening each other, encouraging each other. I pray this has been a good weekend for them. I pray for men that may have un-dealt with business, when they get home. Confessions of adultery, confessions of wrongdoing in other areas, the need to change the tone of voice or to change the approach to parenting and leading. I pray for men that have been cowards and haven’t taken the initiative to lead their families, but rather they’ve set in the shadows and let mom or the kids be boss. I pray you’d give those men the godly fortitude and courage that is needed to be leaders in their home. I pray that we would all reflect the leadership of a king like David, more importantly, a king like Jesus who said, “I didn’t come to be served but to serve.” God he served, but he also conquered and established authority. So please help us to reflect that in our lives. Lord we rejoice and give you praise for all that you’ve done. Thank you for a man like Jonathan, thank you for his example. Thank you for His life.
I pray we’d learn from it. Be excited and encouraged by it. We love you, and we now sing these songs to you as we respond in our hearts to your Word and what you’ve done this weekend as an act of praise and worship to you in Jesus name.
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