Sometimes, we wish we could peer into the future to unveil what's coming up one year from now, or perhaps five or ten years down the road. But when we consider the chaos that foresight might cause, it's gracious of God to keep our future a mystery.
Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues a message introduced on Thursday's program. Over in 1 Samuel 17, where we're surprised by the emotional funk that followed David's victory and the conflict with Saul that was coming, Chuck titled his message, Aftermath of a Giant Killing. How gracious of God to give David one day at a time. A man who proved himself faithful on the battlefield, a man who killed one that everyone else was afraid of, turned in his experience from the highest pinnacle of popularity to the lowest tide. Well, in chapter 17 of 1 Samuel, we're going to be looking at some very practical things as the passage bleeds on into chapter 18. I think it's very unfortunate that we have a chapter break here.
They all tie together in sort of a panoramic flow of life. David has just accomplished an incredible thing. It's a remarkable achievement. A young man not yet twenty years old, not six feet tall, I'm sure, never wore a uniform from the Israeli army, never once suited up for battle, never once knew what it was to carry a sword under the kingdom of Saul, and yet he walked out on the battlefield and he faced a nine foot nine inch giant and with one throw of the sling, he killed him. And you know what happened? There was instant popularity. Very few people can take that. Very few can take what David took.
He suddenly flew into the attention of the public. Before we get into that, I want to show you something about verse 55 through verse 58 here. It's sort of a flashback. When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, Abner, whose son is this young man? Abner said, by your life, O king, I do not know.
Now this is a flashback. David, we know, has already slain the giant, but God wants us to hear something that happened back in the tent of Saul while the giant killing was going on. There was a conversation that happened that's very significant. It ties David with Saul. He said, whose son is he?
He says, I don't know. Verse 56, the king said, you inquire whose son the youth is. When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine's head in his hand. Verse 58 says, Saul asked him, whose son are you, young man? David answered, I am the son of your servant, Jesse the Bethlehemite. Look at what Saul wanted to know. He didn't want to know who is David.
He asked three times the same basic question. He wanted to know whose son is the young man? Verse 55. Whose son is this youth? Verse 56. Whose son are you, young man?
Verse 58. He didn't want to know who David was. He knew who David was. He wanted to know who his father was. Now the question comes, why do you want to know who his dad was? We need to learn to read the Bible for what it is, not for what we think it's saying.
It's a good question. Look at verse 2 of chapter 18. It'll help you know part of the reason he wanted to know who his father was. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. Saul said, we want to know who your dad is because I want you permanently as my bodyguard.
Anybody that can whip a Philistine that big deserves to be my bodyguard. So he wanted David to be in the court permanently and that took the father's permission. Furthermore, look at verse 25 of chapter 17.
And you'll see another reason he wanted to know who his dad was. 1725, the men of Israel said, have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he's coming to defy Israel, speaking of Goliath. And now it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and will make his father's house free in Israel. Saul wanted to make his promise good. So he wanted to know who his father was so he could write the check. Now David knew how to take success and live with it without it's affecting him.
That's a rare person. In fact, as I read this passage, it sort of unfolds into four different relationships. There's a relationship of submission with Saul. There's a relationship of affection with Jonathan.
A relationship of elevation or exaltation, as we mentioned, with the nation, the people, and then finally of opposition, which lasted year after year after year. You see, God's hand was on David. He was going to use him as the great king of Israel and he had to break him and hone him and sharpen him and crush him.
Tozer is right. It's doubtful that God can use any person greatly until he's hurt him deeply. And that's where David was, in the crucible of pain. Now, you will notice that he brought him in, that is Saul brought in David, verse 58, said, I am the son of your servant, Jesse the Bethlehemite, verse 2 of chapter 18, Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. So verse 5 adds, David went wherever Saul sent him.
Isn't that beautiful? Here is the champion of champions, the slayer of the giant, and he went wherever Saul sent him. He was in submission. You might be a very gifted person, highly capable of many things beyond what you're asked to do in your employment, but you be careful about running ahead. You do your job in a submissive manner. If you work under an individual, you be loyal to that individual or you quit. You make a success of that individual that you serve under or you leave the company. Your calling is not to bad mouth your superior. Your calling is to be a person of integrity and to go wherever you are sent. That's what David did.
He served as sort of an intern incognito, a king in the making. That really does put down roots right now in some lives that are here. God talks in practical ways. In fact, I find four times in this chapter we read that David prospered. See verse 5, he went wherever Saul sent him and he prospered. Verse 14, David was prospering in all his ways. Verse 15, when Saul saw that he was prospering greatly. Verse 30, then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle and it happened as often as they went out, David prospered. The scripture renders it behaved himself wisely. Four times in this chapter he behaved himself wisely. What a man. Not one whit of envy or jealousy, he simply did what God led him to do and God gave him prosperity. He'll do that. Submitting to authority, God lifted up the life of David above his peers.
So that's the first experience. Here's another one. Standing in the shadows as David stood before the king was a man who was named Jonathan. Verse 1, he is the son of King Saul.
They have apparently never met until this moment. But suddenly their lives are knitted together. It came about when he, David, had finished speaking to Saul that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. And Jonathan loved him as himself. Verse 3, then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
I know for Bible students this is a familiar passage but maybe there's something that you haven't seen before. God knew that David needed an intimate friend to go through the valley that was ahead of him. And that's true in our lives as well. There are some here tonight who have a few intimate friends. Intimate friends are never great in number. You don't have a whole lot of intimate friends, you have a few. Often only one.
Occasionally two or three in all of life. And there's something about an intimate friend that allows you to knit your soul with him or with her. See how it's rendered in verse 1?
The soul of Jonathan was knit. There is an interweaving of soul with soul. It's what I call a kindred spirit.
Isn't it true? You will run across a few people in life with whom you have a kindred spirit and you don't even have to work at cultivating a relationship. It just grows. It just builds. And there you are intertwined together.
It's almost overnight it happened. I want to share with you four characteristics of an intimate friend from the passage we're looking at and a couple of chapters before us. Okay, here they are. Number one, an intimate friend is characterized by a voluntary willingness to sacrifice. You don't have to beg a close friend for a favor. He is voluntarily or she is voluntarily willing to sacrifice. See verse 4? Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David with his armor including his sword and his bow and his belt. He wanted to give David something that belonged to him and was meaningful to him. Friends do that.
They're not stingy. You can hardly presume on an intimate friend. Another verse is in chapter 20 verse 4. Yes, it is verse 4.
Then Jonathan said to David, whatever you say, I will do for you. That's the word of an intimate friend. You can hardly impose on an intimate friend. He's there for the purpose of assisting. He doesn't keep score as to whether it's your turn or his turn.
He just loves to be with you. An intimate friend is there to assist in whatever way is needed. Unselfishness prevails. Let me give you another one.
Chapter 19 verses 4 and 5. An intimate friend is a loyal defense before others. He won't talk against you when you're not around.
Ever had a fair weather friend? He's noted for doing the opposite. He speaks with forked tongue. When you're there, he says one thing. When you're gone, he says another.
He's not an intimate friend. See 19-4, Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul, his father. Now listen, that was significant. Saul was not only his father, Saul was the enemy of David. And Jonathan stood up to his father and said, Dad, you're wrong about David. It says he spoke well of David to Saul. He said, do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel, and you saw it and rejoiced.
Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause? That's a defense. You have a friend? You defend him when people speak against him? Or do you bad mouth him?
He's not a friend if you don't stand in loyal defense of him when others say certain things against him. Sometimes it's hard to do that. Sometimes envy fights.
Ruth Harms-Caulkin in her book, Tell Me Again, Lord, I Forget, writes about it. Lord, help me to be her friend, to care for her genuinely without envy shrinking my heart. When I see her at the banquet tonight, poised, radiant, beautifully attired, may I congratulate her with honest enthusiasm, regardless of the fact that both our husbands were eligible for promotion and hers won.
Practical, huh? Sometimes you will fight the battle of envy, but when you're a close friend with an individual and that individual or his partner or wife or husband is exalted, you rejoice over that exaltation, that elevation. You applaud because God has lifted him up.
You know, a scripture that really goes begging in the family of God, rejoicing with those that rejoice. What letter of congratulations do you write to one who gets an honor that you sort of thought you deserved? You're running for office in a school and someone beats you out. How's your attitude? Don't tell us.
Just think it. It doesn't stop in school. It goes right into business. You're working alongside or in a pool and suddenly they reach down and the management lifts up one and says she gets the promotion. Attitudes are affected. Few are the individuals that say, hey, that's great.
I'm happy for you. Here's a man who stood in defense of his friend against his own father who was ready to take David's life. This is what you call bottom line theology.
This is putting shoe leather to your belief, to your faith. And I'll tell you, jealousy can run rampant on a mission field just like it can run rampant in a church right here in America. Jealousy can run among the ranks of the ministers and the ministerial is affected because one fellow doesn't get the church the other fellow thought he ought to have or vice versa. One gets the church that the other one thought. And that jealousy runs through our bloodstream. And I'll tell you, you'll be a friend to one of those individuals who need to stand in his defense because you're a friend.
Here's the third one, 20 verse 41. We're talking about an intimate friendship that Jonathan had with David. We've talked about how there's a voluntary willingness to sacrifice, a loyal defense before others. The third one is a complete freedom to be yourself. When you've got a friend, you don't have to explain why you do what you do.
You just do it. When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. He wasn't worshiping. He was in anguish.
He just fell over and he fell over and he fell again and they kissed each other and wept together but David more. When you've got an intimate friend and your heart is broken, you can bleed all over that friend and that person will understand and say, that's fine. You won't share with you three verses to straighten yourself up. Non-friends are known for sermons. Ever heard of sermonic friends? They always use such things as the Lord led me to give you these verses.
I always wonder, how come the Lord himself didn't deliver the verses? How come he had to use you to bring them to my attention? You've got a good friend and he's hurting, let him hurt. A good friend feels like weeping, let him weep. Let him complain a little. He knows it's wrong. You want somebody to hear him.
Isn't it true that those kind of people are rare? When you've got an intimate friend, he hangs with you even when you're to the point of cursing. He stays right there. I had a friend tell me, Chuck, you can build a wall around your house. I'll climb over that wall. I'm going to be near you. And there's a fourth characteristic and that is he's a source of constant encouragement.
23, 15, 16. David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life. Think of that. There was a hit man on David's life. His name was Saul and he was in the wilderness of all places. Behind every bush, every rock, down in the ravine, there could have been Saul. And he lived under the gun of Saul's haunting life. And look at Jonathan, verse 16. Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh and encouraged him in God. Wow, that's the kind of friend I want.
Some friends come and tell you the seven bad things that could happen when he gets a hold of you. But others come and say, look, let me tell you what God's going to do. Isn't it important when you have a friend like this and you see them in a low tide, you're there and wherever you can you bring encouragement? Sometime an encouragement is nothing more than I understand how that feels. You have every right to have those feelings. I support you in them. I stand with you. There will be a brighter day someday, but right now it seems like the end. You know, in this family that we call the church, we ought to have a few friends like that.
That's what makes the night air so lonely when you walk out in it. I had a dear Norwegian lady who lost her husband in a pastorate I had up in New England. She used to call me Pastor Swindoll. She said, oh, Pastor Swindoll, you do not know how lonely it is to fix a meal for one. She had a marvelous relationship with her husband and then suddenly God took him. She didn't have one friend.
She said, night after night I drown in my tears. Someone has said loneliness is the most desperate of all English words. Don't think it's a sign of maturity that you don't have friends. That's a strange theology. Even Jesus surrounded himself with them. There is to be an interdependence in the body of Christ that the world witnesses and says, my, how they love one another. My life is not the richer because I have no friends.
I am the looser. My constant prayer would be, God, give me a few. I'll settle for one and love me and help me and encourage me like Jonathan did David. I think it's a shame that some have brought this low level of sexuality into the relationship and claim that this is a biblical basis for homosexuality. It wasn't like the love of a woman. It was beyond that. It was a relationship that was a kindred spirit in God so that these men could embrace and relate and love one another and assure each other with God's encouragement in the low tides.
It's beautiful. The most shameless of relationships. David's friendship with Jonathan was pure.
It was authentic. And in the coming days, we'll discover how Jonathan's friendship with David has become a model for us all. You're listening to Inside for Living and a message from Chuck Swindoll titled Aftermath of a Giant Killing. And to learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insideworld.org. Just before we hear a closing comment from Chuck, I'll remind you that Inside for Living has a long history of providing Bible study tools to complement each series. These study tools have been produced because sometimes the deepest spiritual lessons you learn occur apart from this program when you're reading the Bible on your own. Along those lines, you might want to purchase a copy of the very practical Swindoll Study Bible. At Inside for Living, we take to light in helping listeners and readers learn how to apply the truth of God's Word to every aspect of their lives, even the complicated ones. In this study Bible, Chuck's practical insights are intended to help readers learn to think biblically no matter what issues they face. You can purchase a copy of the Swindoll Study Bible right now when you go to insight.org slash store or give us a call.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. With you, we bear a tremendous burden for the complicated cultural issues that have surfaced in recent years. And in many respects, it seems like these problems have done little more than polarize our friendships and cause a deeper divide. So for the followers of Jesus Christ, how do we make any difference in our world?
First, Chuck. Personal holiness is rarely the result of legislation. Now, don't get me wrong. I truly believe our country should establish and enforce laws that uphold biblical values. But genuine transformation in the heart sweeps across a country when Christians begin to think and act biblically. The Reformation, for instance, was ignited by Martin Luther in Germany, but the torch was carried by zealous believers who burned with passion for the unadulterated truth of God's Word. For that very reason, Insight for Living Ministries is fully devoted to making disciples and equipping listeners just like you to think biblically so that you are prepared to act biblically in this culture with its back turned against God.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul put it this way, don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. And I'm calling on every listener, and that includes you, to do your part in fulfilling our calling. Jesus' mandate was clear, go and make disciples of all the nations. Together, God can use you and me to accomplish something phenomenal for Him. Together, you and I can ignite a fresh worldwide movement by making disciples, one listener at a time. The only thing that stands in the way of our mission is the financial resources that are required.
That's where you come in. Let me urge you to stretch yourself and give generously today. Please ask God what He wants you to give, and then obey by responding to His leading.
Become part of something phenomenal. Let's impact our country together and our world by equipping Christians to think and act biblically. Thanks, Chuck. We invite you to give generously toward this worthy cause. Here's how to respond. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the aftermath of a giant killing. That's Monday on Insight for Living. you
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