CHERISHED FRIENDSHIPS

Scripture Reading: I Samuel 18:1-5

“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.” (I Samuel 18:1)

As I look back over the course of my life, I realize that I have had many acquaintances. I have developed relationships with many people, but I can count on the fingers of my hands the true and lasting friends I have had — friends who have stuck by me, encouraged me, supported me, admonished me, counseled me, and loved me deeply. Such friends are few and far between. These friendships are to be cherished for a lifetime.

David and Jonathan had this kind of friendship. The description of their friendship in this passage is so powerful — “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Think of the imagery that is used here — the imagery of knitting. Their souls were knit together. There was a bond, a deeply held commitment to one another that was cemented in love.

Jonathan loved David so much that he literally give the shirt off his back to David — “And he stripped himself of his robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt” (v. 4). Actually it was far more than the shirt off his back; he also gave David his armor, his sword, his bow and his belt. When a man gave up his armor and sword to another, it was either a sign of great admiration or an act of surrender. In Jonathan’s case, it was his great love and friendship for David that he did such a thing.

I think of a few Proverbs that describe genuine friendships. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). I recall times when my closest friends were there with me through times of painful adversity. They were willing to do whatever they could to help me through the difficulties. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). I have had friends who stuck by me through thick and thin. They didn’t give up on me or abandon me. The ones who are still living remain closer to me than a brother.

I am so grateful for the handful of genuine friends I have had throughout the years. Some of them are with the Lord now and I miss them greatly. But I am deeply thankful for the ones who remain.

But let’s get a little deeper. We have a Friend who will never leave nor forsake us. We have a Friend who was willing to lay down His life for us — “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. you are My friends…” (John 15:13). These words of Jesus remind us that we indeed have a friend who loves us at all times and one who will be with us in times of adversity. Yes, our Savior Jesus is the most genuine friend we will ever have.

Lord Jesus, how grateful I am for the friends You have brought into my life over the years. I cherish them and their friendships. But most of all, I am grateful that You are my Friend. I never doubt Your love for me and I know that You will always stick close to me.

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