April 16 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” ~Jonathan to David, 1 Samuel 20:42

Jonathan is King Saul’s son and heir apparent, but he and David form a tight bond. At first, Jonathan thinks that David’s accusations against Saul are unfounded. He can’t bring himself to believe that his father would murder an innocent man. David is a national hero, a loyal member of the king’s court, a friend of the king’s son, and husband to the king’s daughter. Why would Saul want him dead? Of course, we know the answer. Saul realizes the throne is being taken from him, and he suspects (rightly) that God’s favor rests upon David. When Jonathan finally realizes what’s happening, he refuses to turn his back on his friend. He is faithful, even knowing that saving David’s life imperils his own and supports a likely rival to the throne.

David and Jonathan’s story, like so many others, is tucked within the Bible’s purposeful thematic narrative of redemption. Friendship is celebrated and is, in fact, God’s means for saving David’s life and keeping him encouraged during his darkest days. God works through means, and He often works through people. Paul wrote about one such occasion in 2 Corinthians 7:6: “God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” God is rightly credited as the source, but the means He employs is the coming of a welcome friend. If we are to be open to God’s work in our lives, then we must be open to God’s work in our lives through friendship. Sure, building and nurturing relationships takes time and commitment, and it isn’t always easy, but do you suppose David and Jonathan’s friendship was without complications? It is God’s will to use friendship as part of the grand drama of redemption, and you are in the drama.

I love what C. S. Lewis wrote about the fellows he spent time with: “My happiest hours are spent with three or four old friends in old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs…or else sitting up till the small hours in someone’s college rooms [a professor's quarters] talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics over beer, tea, and pipes. There’s no sound I like better than adult male laughter.” (C. S. Lewis, as quoted in The Narnian: The Life of C. S. Lewis.) You don’t have to love tea or pipes or beer or long walks, but find something you enjoy doing with a friend and celebrate friendship as a gift of God. If you don’t have friends, you can’t go around forcing yourself into people’s lives, but you can be open to the people God might bring your way. You also can strive to be the kind of friend you would want to have. In the words of the sage, “a friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17). May God bless us with friendships and help us be honest, loving, and supportive friends to those He brings into our lives.  

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.