Written by :   Zac Poonen Categories :   Disciples Spirit Filled life
WFTW Body: 

In 1 Samuel 18, we read of the noble attitude that Jonathan, Saul's son, had towards David. Jonathan was undoubtedly older than David and also the heir to the throne. So he should have hated David for being so popular in Israel now and thus being a threat to him. But instead, we see a pure love and respect in his heart for David. This indicates that Jonathan was one who was more concerned for the glory of God and the good of Israel than his own personal advancement. Therefore he did not have any of the jealousy that plagued his father Saul. His heart was closely knit to David. He gave David his royal robe, his sword, and his bow, thereby saying, "Here, David. By giving you these, I am indicating that you are the rightful heir to the throne (the robe) and I will never fight against you (sword and bow). I submit myself to you" (1 Sam.18:4). What a fine young man Jonathan was. In 1 Samuel 14, we read of his faith in God by which he overcame the Philistines. And here we see his total freedom from jealousy and his discernment to recognise whom God had anointed.

It is wonderful when an older brother can recognise the anointing of God upon a younger brother, and allow the younger brother to take the lead over him in the ministry. We see a beautiful example of that in Barnabas. In Acts 13:2, we read of God calling 'Barnabas and Saul' for His work. Barnabas was both senior and older to Saul, and so it was only natural that his name came first. But very soon, this became 'Paul and Barnabas' (verse 42). How? Barnabas graciously withdrew into the background when he saw a greater anointing on his younger brother Paul. What a powerful force the church of Jesus Christ would have been on earth, if it had more people like Jonathan and Barnabas in it, who did not seek their own, had no jealousy whatsoever, but instead, sought the glory of God alone, and were quick to support younger brothers who had a mightier anointing.

In 1 Samuel 24:4-5, we see David's noble attitude in sparing Saul's life when he had Saul at his mercy. In fact David's conscience convicted him for cutting off just a small piece of Saul's robe, which he had done just to show Saul that he could have killed him if he wanted to. Even though Saul was moved to tears on hearing this and went home then, after a while he started hunting for David again (1 Samuel 26:2). Jealousy, anger and hatred have a way of coming back again and again like the waves on a beach, if they are not dealt with thoroughly.

In 1 Samuel 30, David found himself in a difficult situation. When he and his men had gone to battle, the Amalekites had come and destroyed the city where the families of his people were staying and taken their families captive. The situation was so bad that all the men began to weep and also to blame David for their problems. They wanted to stone him to death (verse 6). And then we read these lovely words: "But David encouraged himself (and strengthened himself) in the Lord" (verse 6). What an example for us to follow, when even our friends turn against us. David again sought the Lord and the Lord told him to pursue after the Amalekites and assured him that he would recover everything (verse 8). But David did not know in which direction to go to find these Amalekites. It is wonderful to see how God led him to them. It was through a simple act of kindness to a dying stranger. David and his men saw an Egyptian lying in the desert in a coma, half-dead. They cared for him and gave him something to eat and drink. When he revived, they discovered that he had been forsaken by the Amalekites in the desert, because he was sick (1 Samuel 30:11-13). He was the one who then led David to the Amalekites. This teaches us how God rewards us when we are kind to strangers. Thus David found and defeated the Amalekites. Then it is written thrice, that "David recovered all" that had been stolen by the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:18-20) - a beautiful picture of Jesus recovering all that Satan had stolen from us!

When the battle was over and David returned to the camp, there were 200 of his men there who had been too exhausted to follow David into battle, and who had stayed behind to look after David's goods. Some of David's worthless men then said that the spoils of the battle should not be shared with these men who did not fight. But we see the largeness of David's heart there. He said that those who stayed at home to look after the baggage should get an equal share of the spoils of war, as those who went out to battle and fought. And this became a law in Israel from that day onwards (1 Samuel 30: 21-25).