Daily Thought for: 17th April

JONATHAN—HIS LINKS WITH SAUL AND DAVID

1 Samuel 14. 1-16, 23, 43; 18. 1-4; 20. 41-42; 31. 1-2, 8

Admirable though Jonathan appears in his manner of life, there are still actions on his part that serve to raise questions. Jonathan is shown as a man striving to be loyal to two persons in opposition, and so having to cope with all the consequences of ‘split allegiance’. The Lord’s words are unequivocal, ‘No man can serve two masters’, Matt. 6. 24. Imagine the utter impossibility of the task when the two ‘masters’ stand in direct opposition to each other, and where there is murderous intent in the heart of one towards the other. It was so with Saul and David, and it was to the task of endeavouring to serve them both that Jonathan pledged himself—the aim was commendable, but the result was entirely predictable. A review of all his efforts would indicate that, to some extent, he failed both parties. His tragic death on Mount Gilboa promotes speculation as to what might have been had he stood solely, and openly, in David’s camp. 

Jonathan’s links with Saul were based on blood relationship. His love for Saul was a filial love, and this would have promoted a dutiful obedience to his father’s wishes, and furtherance of his father’s interests. It could be argued that Jonathan’s loyalty to his father was in keeping with his integrity of character. Again, his actions towards Saul might be regarded as his fulfilment of the fifth commandment, to ‘honour thy father’, Exod. 20. 12. 

But there are laws that are superior to those which issued from Sinai through Moses, notably the law of love. This was made obvious by the Lord when, in love, He performed miracles of healing on the Sabbath, so offending the Jew’s interpretation of the Mosaic law. The Lord also gave indication that there are degrees of preference in love and that, although others may figure in our lives and lay claim to our love, He must always be preferred above them, Matt. 10. 34-37. 

Where love in its most exalted form is discovered, it must be given preeminence and this should have applied to Jonathan in his love for David. He would profess his love for David, demonstrate his love for David, prove his love for David, and even enter into an eternal covenant of love with David. Alas, in the end it was his divided love that cost him everything. 

 

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