1 Samuel 20:8
“Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?”
There is probably no better illustration of friendship in the Scriptures than the friendship between David and Jonathan. The friendship between these two men wasn’t just a one-sided friendship, but they both displayed their friendship in times when they could have silently stood by for the sake of their lives or their name.
In the verse above, the friendship bond can easily be seen between these two men. David was on the run for his life because Saul had placed a contract on his life to have him killed. Jonathan was willing to put his life in danger to defend his friend, a friend who he knew would take the position that was rightfully his. However, Jonathan was not worried about position, but he was concerned with God’s will, and because of this, he was willing to be kind to David in this troubled time.
One of the phrases that describes their friendship is the phrase, “Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant…” The word “kindly” means to be kind-like. In other words, David was asking Jonathan to let his character be kind in these times. Let me show you the characteristics of the friendship bond between these two men.
First, they served each other. It is interesting that David called himself a servant to Jonathan. The best friendship is one that seeks to serve the other. Most friendships are so shallow because they forget that the purpose of friendship is to serve the other. You will never be disappointed in what a friend does for you if the bond of your friendship is to serve the other.
Second, they were good to each other in the good times. It was right after David slew Goliath that Jonathan went out of his way to become a friend to David. My friend, if you can’t be good to your friends in the good times, you dead sure are not going to be good to them when they are unpopular. If you work on your kindness to your friends in the good times, you will find it much easier to be kind to them in the hard times.
Third, they were kind to each other when the other was unpopular. One of the great tests of friendship is how kind you are to the person when everyone is out to destroy them. It is easy to be a friend when everyone is on your friend’s side, but a true friend is still a friend when they are the object of attack. Jonathan was not silent about his friendship with David when his father was trying to kill him, but Jonathan understood that friendship doesn’t hide themselves from their friends when they are being attacked. If there is ever a time you can be a friend to your friend, it is when they are being attacked by all. Don’t stand silently by while your friend is attacked; stand with them, for this is what true friends will do.
Fourth, they were willing to be honest with each other about their sin. David told Jonathan to kill him if he had sinned. Another great test of friendship is not to condone a friend’s sin. Just as you should be there when they are alone, you should be honest in not running with them when they do wrong.