November 18, 2005 by Isaac Hovet
This chapter speaks of two things: Love (loyalty) and Jealousy (deceit). First, we see the love between Jonathan and David.
“…after David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends…and Jonathan made a special vow to be David’s friend, and he sealed the pact by giving him his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt…”
They became the best of ‘friends.’ What an example, on a micro level, of the reality of committed relationship. Love will always be exemplified by loyalty. One cannot exist without the other. Loyalty of heart is born out of love. Love is born of choosing to commit to another. Presently, our culture does not understand the pursuit of love via loyalty. More often people strive for love by reaching for unrealistic characteristics or qualities in an individual. In other words, people remain loyal until a fault becomes evident. In that moment the disappointed party backs out of the said or unsaid ‘love relationship.’ Beyond the emotional infatuation, love never existed for the retreating party. It was not cultivated in loyalty.
Beyond the action of loyalty, which in later chapters becomes more evident, the said commitment of loyalty very much speaks to our present culture. Our spoken word does not hold the same value that it once did. And we are certainly not in the habit of making vows to one another. In order to make a vow, there must be a mutual understanding of the nature of the relationship. The postal service vows to deliver the mail in spite of wind, rain, sleet or snow. As the customer at the receiving end of the service I understand why a group of letter carriers would vow this to me. Our relationship is understood. However, without understanding the nature of the relationship, I would see the postal service commitment to be nutso and irrelevant. I think it is important that we define the nature of all of our relationships. We do this with marriage to some extent, but do we value our friendships, work relationships or parenting relationships this way? For example, if I learn to communicate with my children the nature of our relationship (purpose, scope, etc), than I am able to vow to them. This is what I see Jonathan and David being able to do. Obviously they both understood the bond (nature/purpose) that existed between themselves and, as a result, were able to vow to one another.
In today’s world, however, we often, because of insecurity, are not able to get to the place of mutual communication about the nature of a relationship. Father’s don’t feel enabled to be a guiding force in their child’s life. TV portrays them as irrelevant, bumbling idiots, our theology often castrates their warrior spirit and their peers are stuck in the same quagmire. Therefore, they can’t feel confident about their role and, subsequently, are unable to communicate a vow or commitment to their children. What would they say?
Don’t forget the vow of Jesus to us:
“…and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world…”
Ok, this journal entry keeps going…I would like to write of the jealousy/deceit that we see later in this chapter, but it will have to wait.
Lord, soften me to others. Help me to communicate my vow of loyalty to others. Both through action and words. Allow me to be one who honors you in this way. Thank you for valuing me. Thank you for valuing my family. Thank you for vowing to me. Thank you for being with me. Jesus, I love you. I love you because you have loved me. I can’t do anything except love you.