God knew that David needed an intimate friend to walk with him through the valley that was ahead of him. Intimate friends are rare in life. Often we have only one, occasionally two, usually not more than three in our entire lives. There’s something about an intimate friend that causes your souls to be knit together. It’s what we call a kindred spirit.
You don’t have to beg a close friend for a favor, which was certainly the case with Jonathan. “Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt” (1 Samuel 18:4).
He wanted to give David something that belonged to him and was meaningful to him. Friends do that. They’re never stingy with their possessions. Later, Jonathan says to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you” (20:4). That’s the promise of an intimate friend. You can hardly impose on an intimate friend. He doesn’t keep score. An intimate friend is there to assist whenever and in whatever way is needed. Unselfishness prevails.
An intimate friend is a loyal defense before others. He’s not a fair-weather friend. He won’t talk against you when you’re not around. It says, “Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father” (19:4). That was very significant, because Saul was not only the king and Jonathan’s father, but also, by that time, Saul had determined to be David’s enemy. Yet Jonathan stood up to his father and said, “Dad, you’re wrong about David.” In fact, he not only defended his friend, he also rebuked his father for his attitude toward David.
What a friend Jonathan was! No pettiness, no envy, no jealousy. After all, Jonathan, as Saul’s son, might have been the heir apparent. He might have wanted the praise of the people, yet here was this kid from the hills of Bethlehem, garnering all of it. Still, Jonathan stood in defense of his friend against his own father, who was ready to take David’s life. This is what we might call bottom-line theology. This is putting shoe leather to your belief, to your faith. He stood in his defense because he was his friend.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.