Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ‘I won’t tell Jonathan—why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the Lord and by your own soul!” “Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed... At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” 1 Samuel 20:3-4, 42
From the text, an example was provided of what true friendship should look like. In this modern time, consumer-oriented culture, true friendship is difficult to establish and maintain. The tendency nowadays is to look for people that will help one’s desire for success and to use relationship to obtain such selfish craving. This type of relationship does not last because each one will feel used up. Unlike David’s friendship with Jonathan, theirs was bounded by an oath or covenant. An oath was made to make the relationship a source of blessing and encourages obedience. The bond that existed between them was for the purpose of continually building up one another in the Lord. The motivation is to help each other to be the person God wants them to be. Nowadays, relationships are bounded by contract and agreement. They will tell one another that they are bounded by their agreement by saying, “I will until you don’t, then I will not.” In the covenant relationship, one simply says, “I will even when you cannot.” A relationship formed out of a covenant places God at the center of friendship. This is what makes the relationship work for it will be God that will strengthen one another as each one draws oneself to God. “Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The common bond that unites Christian friendship is their relationship with God. Jonathan being the son of King Saul was willing to strip off himself with his robe and even went against the plan of his father to kill David. His disposition was not clouded by the jealousy and rage of his father towards David. He even gave his prized possessions so he could help David. “Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt” (1 Samuel 18:4). God went to great lengths to demonstrate His love through Jesus Christ. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). This is what He did for those who made themselves friends with Him. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). His command to those that established relationship with God is to do the same to others. “Love each other in the same way I have loved you” (John 15:12).