There is a serious famine of the Truth of God’s Word today and because of this, a lot of perverse interpretations are being given to it. Such is the case of Jonathan’s love for David. It is unthinkable that this story, in the triangular relation with King Saul could degenerate to the level of homosexuality. Yet, this triangle of hate, rebellion and love is probably one of the greatest stories in the Bible to open our eyes to the eternal Fate of Man.
God had been Israel’s invisible King, protecting them and blessing them above all the other nations. He called them a holy nation, but they were not satisfied, they wanted to be like the other nations, with a visible king ruling them.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” [Exodus 19:6]
So, they pressured Samuel the prophet of their desire for a king, rejecting God’s rule. God obliged and helped them to get the king they wanted by choosing the best among them. Saul, the son of Kish, a humble and polite man became their king.
Though Saul came from a wealthy family, he soon became wealthier and much more powerful than he could ever imagine. He came from the lowest tribe of Israel, Benjamin, and now had a command over all the armies of the twelve tribes.
Then came the first major commission to him, he was to be present at a sacrifice or prayer meeting that Samuel the prophet was going to host. But Saul decided to surprise Samuel:
1 Samuel 13:8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
1 Samuel 13:9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
1 Samuel 13:10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
1 Samuel 13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
1 Samuel 13:12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
Saul displayed his lack of integrity, proving that he could not be trusted. He displayed a total lack of patience and self-control, qualities that are expected of a man of God. He believed more in the people he could see rather than the God he could not see.
The PEOPLE put pressure on him by their actions and he changed allegiance, from following God to following the crowd.
The people may have rejected the authority of God, but it was still God’s nation, she specially belonged to Him. God had an everlasting covenant relationship with their fathers. He had sworn to be their God forever and be responsible for them. But, they were a people who had become rebellious.
There were debts owed the nation, which God had promised to collect and the time was ripe for the collection of the debt. Amalek had grossly abused Israel and tried to eliminate them right under God’s protection. They had attacked the weakest group of people among the travelling Israelites and God had promised that they were going to pay for it at His chosen time.
After so many decades had passed on the sin of Amalek, Saul was tasked to go and make them pay for the evil they had done to innocent Israeli travellers. He was to wipe off the entire Amalekites nation, sparing nothing, not even a hoof! This was supposed to be Saul’s way of proving that he had repented of his sinfulness.
Sadly again, Saul did otherwise. He had become powerful enough to decide what he would accept from God or not. He chose to obey God in his own way, not the way chosen for him.
1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
1 Samuel 15:20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
1 Samuel 15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
The rebellious people who followed him contested the command he had received from God and he obliged. That was a complete disrespect for God.
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” [1 Samuel 15:22-23]
Saul’s sin had been found out and did he seek forgiveness from God for his sinfulness? No. Was he remorseful? Yes. Remorse was not enough, there has to be a full repentance, which is a fruit of Godly sorrow. This was completely absent in Saul’s case.
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” [2 Corinthians 7:10]
On top of these, on learning that there was a new kid on the block, Saul repeatedly sought to eliminate this new kid; it was obvious that he was a man given to live in the flesh – the alien nature to God.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” [Galatians 5:19-21]
And for all the works of the flesh, he was guilty of, he was unrepentant of any of them; in fact, it was as if he was proud of them. It was a rebellious life.
Saul was as profane as Esau in the sight of God. Saul, who used to follow God, became a reject in His Presence. It is the worst thing any man can achieve in his life.
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” [Hebrews 12:16]
Lastly, Saul was as cruel as an Orca whale hunting a mother dolphin and calf for hours until the mother is exhausted and the calf can no longer be protected. Saul’s cruelty was exhibited against his own son (1 Samuel 14:39) and later against David (1 Samuel 18:11).
The Man After God’s Heart
David, the shepherd boy, was the opposite of Saul.
He was chosen in a similar way like Saul, but led a contrasting life to Saul. So, who was David? Why did God call him “a man after My heart”? What made him special in God’s sight? Did he not commit adultery and killed the husband of the woman with whom he slept?
David was a man who truly loved God. Despite being left in the forest with the family sheep, his heart was always with the Almighty God. That was why you would find him, when he felt alone, not moaning or complaining, but singing in the audience of the sheep, “O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.” [Psalm 31:23]
His life was as tranquil as the Word of God. He lived in the peace that the Word of God provided him, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). When his mighty men wanted to engage those of Saul in a civil war, he made it clear that such must not happen and when his nephew assassinated the captain of Saul’s house, he grieved and even fasted. He was a man given to peace.
David knew where to find true joy, he knew that the happiness of a man is based on his feelings, but joy, which is not based on feelings but one of faith, only comes from God. He would say, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
When he was not sure, which path to tread, especially when he was being pressured by his enemies, he would go back to God and remind himself, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). He would conclude, “The Lord is my Shepherd … He leads me…” (Psalm 23:1).
At one time, as he was being pursued to death by Saul, he had a good opportunity of killing Saul, for which no one would have blamed him had he done so, but what did he do? He controlled his emotions and said, “The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.” (1Samuel 26:23)
I have been around some Christians, who would like to fast and pray against their fellow believers to die a cruel death, simply because those people either disagreed with them or offended them. Not David. David had a different mind-set.
Even when Saul eventually died in a battle against his enemies, David would mourn and fast in grief, for Saul and his sons. He was a faithful servant to an unfaithful master till the end.
You would even see how meek he was, when his own son had deposed him in a coup d’état, a man called Shimei began to curse and rail at him, throwing stones and shaming him as he went along on foot.
“And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.” (2Samuel 16:6-8)
David did not retaliate. He did not even allow his bodyguard to touch the man, but he meekly accepted the cursing and abuse, because he knew what was written in Genesis 12:3 by God: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
You would further see where his heart lay, when his sworn enemy died and he should have assumed the throne, but he had to bid his time for another seven years. He was never impatient like his predecessor.
At one time, he desired to drink from the wells of Bethlehem (2Samuel 23:15), and three of his mighty armies risked their lives to fetch him the water, but when they presented it to him, he “poured it out to the Lord” (2Samuel 23:16); he considered it as the blood of those men! He was that good.
David’s act of kindness would be exemplified when he and his men watched over Nabal’s flock without payment or any expectations. The Bible records, “….now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.” (1Samuel 25:7) His kindness was even better displayed when he brought Mephibosheth into the palace to eat at his table (2Samuel 9:11)
This was who David was and the very reason he was a man after God’s heart – a man of the spirit.
Jonathan – Saul’s Son and David’s Friend – Man in the Middle
In between Saul the son of Kish, and David the shepherd boy was Jonathan. Jonathan was a loyal son as well as a faithful friend. But it was this very quality in his life that destroyed a promising future.
How do all these characters relate to the believer?
Saul’s life is the life of the flesh. The life of the fallen nature in Man. It is life that is given to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and pride of life. A life that is completely contrary to God’s nature.
Unfortunately, that is the life a vast majority of Christians, and I am not even referring to the religious or nominal Christians who have not experienced a rebirth through the Blood. I am referring to those who have been justified by grace through the Blood.
They live for themselves, what appeals to their carnal minds, for as long as they can satisfy their wants, they are very pleased. They live by what they see – believe in what their body tells them or should I say their medical reports says more than what the Word of God says about them.
The life of David described above is the life of a son of God (John 1:12), a life of the spirit; it is the reason God described David as a man after His heart. David had the nature of Christ in him and lived it. This life of the son is what many believers are hoping to gain in the afterlife. But that is very wrong; it is a life God has predestined for this present life.
Jonathan is the Christian, who was born in sin and sinful by nature, but received Christ as his Saviour, got washed in the Blood and has become justified before God through grace. His love for David was not the perverted interpretation of gay love, but the fascinations of a believer with the spiritual life.
Jonathan was loyal to his father. He recognised that David was the CHOSEN one, anointed to be king and shepherd God’s people. Instead of choosing to rough it out and share in the tribulations of David, he preferred the more comfortable life of the palace of Saul.
David and Jonathan were lovers, but not in terms of homosexuality. In fact, Jonathan loved his father (he died with him) more than he loved David – would you then conclude that Jonathan and his dad were gay lovers?
This is subtle problem in the Church today is that instead of confronting the Saul-ish lifestyle they live, they switch to training that lifestyle – the fallen nature – to behave like a man after God’s heart. They teach this nature to pray. They teach this nature to fast. They teach this nature to read the Bible. They teach the nature all the religious behaviours. They even teach this nature to engage in work of the ministry!
This nature in the Christian learns to do all these things – excellently! But then it truly lives in rebellion towards God.”
It subtly covers up the innate ability to strongly rebel, thereby appearing as if it loves God – obedient and really pious. What a deception! When Paul discovered how he has been so deceived by this religious piety, he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” [Romans 7:24]. That was why you could see Jonathan trying to bring David and Saul together – he was trying to marry the flesh and the spirit. This is who Jonathan was as well and the very reason of his death.
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” [Romans 8:13] Jonathan lived after the flesh and he paid dearly for it.
Jonathan could have chosen the path of wisdom like the merchant described by Jesus: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” [Matthew 13:45-46]
Jonathan could have given up all the trappings of the flesh, the fallen nature and embrace the life of a son. The life of the son would have repaid all the losses experienced as a result of the self-denial. Instead, he was always trying his best to please God in the flesh.
Dear believer, you must be honest with yourself and see that the life you are living is wholly based on pleasing self. The self-life is the life of the fallen nature. Remember the route, by which Eve fell, she wanted something to please her-self.
If you have truly given up the self-life, you will notice that every life you live is exactly like Jesus Christ. You will not be struggling to forgive those who offend you. You will not be struggling with lust – food, sex, etc. You will not even struggle with inordinate affection. You will not be struggling with bitterness; neither will you be setting rules on lasciviousness.
If you are truly living the life of a son, you will not be seeking to control people, as so many pastors do, thinking they are right to control and manipulate people’s lives, which is a covert life of witchcraft. You will not be angry when you are challenged or opposed because of your views, even if you are right. You will not be egoistical and be thinking that you are the only one who has the oracle of God on your laps because you think others don’t have all these theological degrees as you do.
In essence, you will not be coached or coaxed into living the life of a son of God; it will be natural and free-flowing.”
Pearl of Great Price
The life of a son of God is a life of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus – full of freedom. It is free from sin and death. It is the pearl of great price. It is expensive because Jesus paid for it with His Blood and hence a gift of God.
How do you start living the life that has been moulded after the heart of God? Paul gives an advice – put off the fleshy one and put on the new man.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth …. seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; ….. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” [Colossians 3:8-10]
Switch and never go back. It is a life lived by faith in The Son.
After someone read this article on a forum I posted it to, he said this to me, brother john – You guys should be a little nice to Sul and stop criticizing him at every turn. The bible makes use of him and DAVID to bring out a point – That is to trust in the GRACE of our lord and for all intents and purposes,David was a by far worse man in terms of Biblical atrosites than Saul,so criticizing him alone is a bit unfair and missing the big picture. I hope I have in my own way been of help to you, PEACE.
And i replied him:
Bro, you are missing the biggest point here.
The article is saying a Man’s nature is like that visibly seen in Saul, and that nature is not born again and that David is that of the spirit, though with many faults, but living in grace; but you (the Christian) is like Jonathan who needs to make a decision – whether you will live a live in the flesh or that of the spirit.
What do you think?
Dear Paul, I agree with your reply 100%. You must know that not everyone will see or accept the truth. As you will remember, the Son of God came and dwelt amongst us, but we failed to recognize Him. He stood face to face with Caiaphas, the high priest, accusing Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Jewish law, yet Caiaphas did not recognize Jesus as the real deal.
Now, you will agree that Caiaphas was a shadow of the things seen by Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus was the real High Priest Hebrews 5:10 and Hebrews 9:11).
Just leave them and pray for their eyes of understanding to be opened.
You see, Saul was an Israelite, just like we have been born again into the fold of God.
Saul was living in the flesh and obeyed the laws of the flesh – laws of sin and death.
David was an Israelite as well. Though imperfect, he lived after the spirit.
Jonathan was an Israelite who was caught between the two and needed to make a choice – he chose the flesh and died.