1 Samuel 20:1-42 (Part 3) – The Three C’s of Relationships

Posted: March 15, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 20:1-42 (Part 3 of 3)
Jonathan Helps David

Last night at our Wednesday family night event at church where we gather for a time of worship and then have breakout sessions for discipleship classes in various forms, I met afterwards with our newest elder-to-be, Fred Parks, to congratulate him on being appointed by Pastor Tim to the elder council and just to talk. Fred is a great guy. I just have loved this guy since I met him the first time. He just has a way of conversation that draws you in. He could have easily been a preacher in a black Baptist Church in the South. He just reminds you a fired up, all-in, middle-aged black Baptist preacher from the rural South. I don’t know if he is originally from the South and I will find out more about him at dinner Friday night.

But our conversation somehow turned to relationships and how they must be characterized by three things – no matter what kind of relationship it is. Those three things are commitment, communication, and consistency.

Any relationship that is important in life is marked first by commitment. For you to have the circle of c’s you must begin with commitment. What does commitment mean? It means that a relationship is so important to you that give it high priority. You place it in a stature above other things. For example, a professional football player is committed to his sport. He trains in the off-season to be ready for training camp and for the grind of the season. He practices during the season so that on game day he simply reacts rather than having to think things through that cost time. He practices so that his execution on Sundays is just second nature to him. All the commitment of time off the field just for a few hours of real game time on Sunday requires extreme focus. In important relationships in our lives we must do the same. We must have laser focus on the relationship. We must prioritize it above other draws on our time. Often what happens to athletes that have great rookie seasons in football, they get honors and then come all the time grabs for a sudden new superstar. Guess what happens, the work suffers because the laser focus is gone and the distractions have been allowed to reign. In our relationships that are important to us, how much to we focus on them. Without commitment to a relationship, it can easily be tossed aside. Without laser focus on a relationship, we can throw it away like yesterday’s newspaper. Without a relationship being prioritized in our spectrum of relationships, then, it can be placed further and further down our list to the point that it is not important anymore and the relationship fails.

Any relationship that is important in life is also marked by communication. Once you are committed to a relationship, for you to remain committed to it, you must place importance on communication. I don’t care how committed you are to a relationship, if you do not communicate, the relationship will not remain important. When Elena and I first began dating way back in late 2007, little did we know that from May 2008 to August 2009, our relationship would become a long-distance, bi-coastal relationship. I had to transfer with my job out to the San Francisco Bay Area while she remained back in the Charlotte, NC metro area in Rock Hill, SC. In order for our relationship to survive being on opposite coasts, we had to communicate. We texted. We instant messaged. We talked on the phone. Video chatting was not a big thing or was difficult back in 08-09, but we did that too on occasion. We placed a priority on communication. It was all we had. With only seeing each other about every 4-6 weeks, communication in the interim was extremely important to the survival of our relationship. Without that daily contact, since we did not have physical presence, our relationship would have died quickly. We made communication a priority. Even if you live in the same house in the same location in the same town, if you don’t prioritize communication in a relationship it will die slowly on the vine.

Any relationship that is important in life is also marked by consistency. Consistency is always being there. Consistency is working on it all the time. Consistency is like a person who exercises to lose weight. Consistency produces results. If I exercise 5 days a week every week, I will slowly show results. If I an erractic about it. Exercise maybe once every blue moon and you will get no results. You must stick with an exercise plan consistently to find results in it. It is the same with relationships, you must be consistent in the maintenance of a relationship. You must pay attention to it. You must stick with it. You must prioritize the maintenance of a relationship to get anything out of it. If you are not consistent with your relationships, they will not be relationships very long. The relationship with die from lack of attention. The relationship will die from lack of priority.

That was what I saw of Jonathan and David today when reading this passage again for a third time. Let’s read the passage with that idea in mind (we will deal with the actions of the characters, David, Jonathan and Saul in the next two blogs on this passage/chapter):

Chapter 20
1 David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?”

2 “That’s not true!” Jonathan protested. “You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!”

3 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!”

4 “Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed.

5 David replied, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. I’ve always eaten with the king on this occasion, but tomorrow I’ll hide in the field and stay there until the evening of the third day. 6 If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice. 7 If he says, ‘Fine!’ you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, you will know he is determined to kill me. 8 Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!”

9 “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.”

10 Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?”

11 “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. 12 Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. 13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. 14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David,[a] saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” 17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. You will be missed when your place at the table is empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid before, and wait there by the stone pile.[b] 20 I will come out and shoot three arrows to the side of the stone pile as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy to bring the arrows back. If you hear me tell him, ‘They’re on this side,’ then you will know, as surely as the Lord lives, that all is well, and there is no trouble. 22 But if I tell him, ‘Go farther—the arrows are still ahead of you,’ then it will mean that you must leave immediately, for the Lord is sending you away. 23 And may the Lord make us keep our promises to each other, for he has witnessed them.”

24 So David hid himself in the field, and when the new moon festival began, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat at his usual place against the wall, with Jonathan sitting opposite him[c] and Abner beside him. But David’s place was empty. 26 Saul didn’t say anything about it that day, for he said to himself, “Something must have made David ceremonially unclean.” 27 But when David’s place was empty again the next day, Saul asked Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse been here for the meal either yesterday or today?”

28 Jonathan replied, “David earnestly asked me if he could go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Please let me go, for we are having a family sacrifice. My brother demanded that I be there. So please let me get away to see my brothers.’ That’s why he isn’t here at the king’s table.”

30 Saul boiled with rage at Jonathan. “You stupid son of a whore!”[d] he swore at him. “Do you think I don’t know that you want him to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother? 31 As long as that son of Jesse is alive, you’ll never be king. Now go and get him so I can kill him!”

32 “But why should he be put to death?” Jonathan asked his father. “What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan, intending to kill him. So at last Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David.

34 Jonathan left the table in fierce anger and refused to eat on that second day of the festival, for he was crushed by his father’s shameful behavior toward David.

35 The next morning, as agreed, Jonathan went out into the field and took a young boy with him to gather his arrows. 36 “Start running,” he told the boy, “so you can find the arrows as I shoot them.” So the boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy had almost reached the arrow, Jonathan shouted, “The arrow is still ahead of you. 38 Hurry, hurry, don’t wait.” So the boy quickly gathered up the arrows and ran back to his master. 39 He, of course, suspected nothing; only Jonathan and David understood the signal. 40 Then Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the boy and told him to take them back to town.

41 As soon as the boy was gone, David came out from where he had been hiding near the stone pile.[e] Then David bowed three times to Jonathan with his face to the ground. Both of them were in tears as they embraced each other and said good-bye, especially David.

42 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.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.

In this passage, we see that David and Jonathan exhibited all the key components of a relationship that was important to them. They were committed to each other. They communicated with each other. They were consistent with each other.

It reminds us that our relationship with Jesus Christ must be characterized in the same way. If we are to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must be committed to it. We must give our relationship with Jesus top billing above all other things in our life. We must communicate with Him. We must pray without ceasing. We must have an intimate dialogue with Him so that we can understand His will and His desires for our life. We must be consistent. We must be in His Word daily so that we understand Him and know Him and what He wants from us and for us. How are your three C’s with Jesus?

Amen and Amen.

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