A New Covenant 2019
This morning I want to tell a story of a covenant between two men.
The story begins in 1 Samuel 10.
The people of Israel had gotten tired of the judges. The last judge, Samuel was a good judge; perhaps the best. But his sons weren’t. So, the people decided a king would be better than the two lousy sons of Samuel. God, through Samuel warned them about the nature of kings; they tend to be greedy, but they wanted a king anyway. God granted their wish and Saul was selected as their first ever king.
The covenant story, I’m telling this morning, is not focused on King Saul. It is rather, about his son… Jonathan.
Jonathan is introduced in 1 Samuel 13 as a commander in his Father’s army. We get an insight into his character in the next chapter.
1 Samuel 14:6-15 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few." And his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul." Then Jonathan said, "Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us." So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves." And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you a thing." And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel." Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land. And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.
Right off the bat we learn Jonathan is brave; he trusts the LORD; he inspires people; he is used by God! Jonathan may be the most likable character in the Old Testament.
Here is where the covenant part comes in.
A young man named David steps into the story by killing a giant named… Goliath. David and Jonathan meet…
1 Samuel 17:57-18:4And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, "Whose son are you, young man?" And David answered, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite." 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. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
Wow. Jonathan makes a covenant with David. This is pretty rare. There are lots of covenants in the Bible, but not many covenants of friendship. There are covenants between God and individuals and families and nations. There are covenants between enemies. We will discover marriage is a covenant. But, I think, this is the only covenant in Scripture based upon the friendship between two men.
Perhaps, this is an example? Perhaps, there could be the joy of assurance in covenants of friendships… In a friendship-covenant there is joy, knowing another person is on your side!
David and Jonathan lived as best friends for many years. They grew old together. They took care of each other. David and Jonathan helped raise each other kids and they both lived happily-ever-after.
I wish I could say that. But the real story is much darker.
1 Samuel 18:14-15 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him. And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him.
Saul becomes jealous of David. Saul’s jealousy attempts to drive a wedge between David and Jonathan’s friendship-covenant.
1 Samuel 19:1-7 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, "Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore, be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything, I will tell you." And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, "Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?" And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, "As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death." And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
Jonathan keeps their covenant together. David is brought back in fellowship with King Saul. In friendship-covenant there is joy, knowing another person is on your side!
David and Jonathan lived as best friends for many years. They grew old together. They took care of each other. David and Jonathan helped raise each other kids. They lived happily-ever-after.
This is still not true. The David’s reunion with King Saul did not last very long.
1 Samuel 19:9-10Then a harmful spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.
David doesn’t understand… “Why does King Saul hate me?”
1 Samuel 20:1-3Then David said to Jonathan, "What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?" And Jonathan said to David, "Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so." But David vowed again, saying, "Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, 'Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.' But truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death."
Jonathan reassures David…
1 Samuel 20:16-17And Jonathan made a covenant (2nd time) with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD take vengeance on David's enemies." And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
Their covenant is renewed. Covenants are often renewed; another powerful example. In friendship-covenant there is joy in knowing another person is on your side!
Then, we have that touching scene of Jonathan and his arrow-fetcher. Jonathan checks King Saul’s temperature toward David, by covering up his absence from a feast.
1 Samuel 20:30-33Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, "You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die." Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So, Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death.
Let me state the obvious. Jonathan is Prince Jonathan. He is supposed to be the next king. He is first in line as heir to the throne. Saul knows that as long as David is alive, Jonathan will never be king. Yet, because of their covenant, Jonathan is still on David’s side.
1 Samuel 20:37-42And when the boy (arrow-fetcher) came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, "Is not the arrow beyond you?" And Jonathan called after the boy, "Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!" So, Jonathan's boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, "Go and carry them to the city." And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, because we have sworn
both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.'" (3rdtime)
In a friendship-covenant there is joy, knowing
another person is on your side in hard times; especially in hard times! Note, the covenant extends beyond the two of them… to their offspring… forever.
There is one more time their covenant is renewed.
Years pass. Saul is still intent on killing David. He has chased David all over Palestine.
1 Samuel 23:15-18David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life… And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this." And the two of them made a covenant
before the LORD. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
This is the 4th time they have made a covenant before the LORD. But this is last. David and Jonathan never see each other, again
The next time we see Jonathan he is beside his father in battle with the Philistines.
1 Samuel 31:1-6Now, the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me." But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore, Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. Thus, Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together.
Three of Saul’s sons die with him.
When David is told of Jonathan’s death…
2 Samuel 1:11-12Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
David writes a song for his lost friend
2 Samuel 1:23-27"Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions. You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"
But that is not the end of their friendship-covenant.
Years later, David remembers his covenant with Jonathan.
2 Samuel 9:1, 5-7And David said, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Then King David sent and brought… Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, "Mephibosheth!" And he answered, "Behold, I am your servant." And David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always."
In a friendship-covenant there is joy, knowing another person is on your side even after you are gone.
One of my favorite blessings of the New Covenant, is the bonds that are created within the Covenant. Those of us who are in the New Covenant share the power that David and Jonathan experienced in their friendship-covenant. There is a friendship bond between brothers and sisters in the New Covenant. In the New Covenant there is joy in knowing another person is on your side! Am I right?
Peter succinctly puts it this way…
1 Peter 3:8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
Perhaps, our prayer should be…
Lord, bless us here, in our covenant with you, to share in brotherly love like Jonathan and David. To your glory!
June 30, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ