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David: A Man After God’s Own Heart – Sermon #5

 

1 Samuel 18:1-4

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER

Intro: As David moved through the days of his life, he was a man truly blessed by the Lord. God was gracious to David in that God placed in his life certain people on whom David could lean during the hard times of life. The people provided a strong support system for David and helped him make it through many dark hours in his life.

One of the most precious and profound of the relationships David enjoyed was the friendship he had with King Saul’s son Jonathan. Jonathan was a true of God to young David. In fact, the very name “Jonathan means Jehovah has given.” Jonathan was strategically placed in David’s life at the very time David needed a genuine friend. Jonathan proved to be the greatest and dearest friend that David would know in his entire life.

It is a shame and a disgrace that some have tried to take this precious, godly relationship between two men and make it into something it was not. Some have taken the words of 2 Samuel 1:26 and have twisted them to imply that David and Jonathan were lovers. Nothing could be farther from the truth! What is true is the fact that Jonathan became to David the rarest of gifts: he became a true, intimate, genuine friend!

You see, as you pass through this life, you will make hundreds and even thousands of acquaintances; but you will have few real friends. In fact, if you develop two or three genuine friendships during your lifetime, you are a blessed person.

So, what is a real friend? One person said, “A friend--a true friend--the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.[1] Another said, “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are.[2] We ought to praise the Lord for the few, genuine friends we possess in our lives!

I want to examine this precious friendship between David and Jonathan. I want you to see the greatness of their friendship. But, I want you to see the even greater friendship that is pictured in these verses. For here, we can see a portrait of the love Jesus Christ has for the saints of God. You see, the saints of God have a genuine friend in the Lord Jesus. And, by observing the signs of friendship, as they are given in the Word of God, we can understand something about the greatness of Christ’s love for His people. So, let’s examine this friendship that David enjoyed with Jonathan and seek to understand the friendship we enjoy with Jesus. I want to preach on the subject, The Prince And The Pauper. Please allow me to share with you the signs of a genuine friendship.

 

I. JONATHAN’S LOVE WAS AN UNCOMMON LOVE

A. Verse 4 tells us that Jonathan removed his princely robe and placed it on David. He even gave David his sword, his bow and his girdle or belt. In other words, Jonathan willing laid aside the symbols of his position as the crown prince of Israel and gave them to David. When someone saw David on that day, they might have mistaken him for Jonathan. That is a picture of a love that involves personal, profound sacrifice. It is a picture of uncommon love!

This kind of love can also be seen in 1 Sam. 23:17. There, Jonathan reveals to David that he knows David will ascend to the throne of Israel after Saul. But, Jonathan is not jealous of David. He intends to stand by David, even as David assumes a throne that should have belonged to Jonathan. Again, that is a picture of selfless, personal sacrifice.

Jonathan consistently placed David ahead of himself. That is what a true friend always does!

B. This is a picture of the love Jesus has for His people. Just as Jonathan laid aside the royal robes and gave them to David; Jesus has done the same for His children. Consider Phil. 2:5-8. That glorious passage reminds us that Jesus laid aside His Own robes of glory for a time to come to this world to die for us. And in His dying and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus made a way that old sinners like us could be clothed in His robes of righteousness. His death is proof positive of His uncommon love for lost sinners, Rom. 5:8; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10.

C. Like David we were nothing but paupers, dressed in the rags of our sins, Isa. 64:6, until Jesus came to us in His love; saved us by His grace and clothed us in His Own righteous robes, Isa. 61:10; Rom. 4:16-25! Now, in heaven, we are in Jesus, Col. 3:3; we are seated with Jesus, Eph. 2:6; and the Father in Heaven sees us as if we were Jesus, Rom. 4:24. Thank God for the Lord’s uncommon love!

 

II. JONATHAN’S LOVE WAS AN UNCOMPLICATED LOVE

A. According to verse one, Jonathan loved David just as he was. Think about it! David was nobody from nowhere, but Jonathan saw something in little David that ignited love in his heart. He loved David just because he was David, and for no other reason! The prince loved the pauper and his soul was “knit with the soul of David. The word “knit means to tie, or to bind together.” There was nothing in David to cause this love to grow, yet it was there just the same. The prince loved the pauper with an uncomplicated love.

B. This is a clear picture of the grace of God. This is portrait of how we are loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. His love for us is not based on our worth or our merit. The Bible is clear, in our natural state; we possess nothing that would commend us to the Lord, Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 4:18-19.

But, He loves us anyway! His love for us is pure, perfect and uncomplicated.

1. His Love Is Primary Love 1 John 4:10; 4:19 Even when we could not love Him because of our sinful condition, He loved us anyway!

2. His Love Is Perpetual Love Jer. 31:3 The love God has for you and me is a love that had no beginning and will have no ending. His love is everlasting!

3. His Love Is Proven Love Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:8-9 The love of God found its ultimate expression the day Jesus died on the cross for our sins. God sent His Son, John 3:16, to die for a fallen, wayward, sinful race, Isa. 52:4-6. And, He did it all because He loves us!

C. God knew that we could never love Him like He loves us; but He loved us anyway! He knew that we would never show our love for Him to the same degree He demonstrated His love for us; but He loved us anyway! He knew there was nothing about us that merited His love; but He loved us anyway! He knew that we would trample Him and His love under our sinful feet; but He loved us anyway!

We will never understand it, but God’s love for us is really very uncomplicated. He loves us because He is God! He loves us because that is His nature, 1 John 4:7; Eph. 2:4. Thank God that His love for us is not based on what we deserve! He loves us because that is His choice!

 

III. JONATHAN’S LOVE WAS AN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

A. Verse 3 tells us that Jonathan “loved him as his own soul. Along the way, there were hurdles that developed which could have derailed their relationship. For instance, Saul hated David and repeatedly tried to kill him, 1 Sam. 18:25; 19:1, 8-11, and many other places. Jonathan’s devotion to David even caused a rift to develop between him and his father, as he repeatedly took David’s side against the king, 1 Sam. 19:2, 4-7; 1 Sam. 20:24-34. Things even became so heated between Jonathan and Saul that Saul actually tried to kill his own son. By the way, it’s a good thing Saul was a bad shot with that javelin!

In spite of the problems and in spite of everything that happened, Jonathan loved David to the end. His love was totally unconditional!

B. Even when it wasn’t easy for this friendship between Jonathan and David to exist, it did. It existed and flourished because Jonathan refused to allow anything to sever the bond he has with David. When his soul was “knit to the souls of David, it was bound to him for life. The Bible also says that they made a “covenant together, 1 Sam. 18:3. A covenant was more than a mere promise. It was life and death guarantee. They bound themselves together for life with an oath. They swore to be friends to the end; and they both honored the covenant. When Jonathan was killed in battle, David spoke of his death and of their friendship, 2 Sam. 1:17-27. As David speaks it is clear to see that he speaks of a friendship that was unfailing and unceasing.

C. Again, this is a picture of the kind of love with which God loves us. His love for us is not affected by our behavior. It is not affected by His feelings. It is unaffected by our responses to Him. His love is not affected by anything at all.

His love is never ending and it is totally unconditional. In fact, there is nothing that you can do that will make the Lord stop loving you! Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make Him stop loving His children, Rom. 8:38-39.

You see, nothing we did made the Lord start loving us and nothing we can do will ever make His stop loving us. Love is a choice that God, in His sovereignty makes. It is a choice that He is willing to stand by forever. Thank God for unconditional love!

 

(Ill. Greg Louganis recorded an unprecedented double/double in Olympic diving when he won gold medals in the men's 3-meter springboard and platform competition in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. Few will ever forget how he fought back in 1988.

In the springboard event he missed one dive and hit the board with his head. Physicians stitched his cut, and he went on to win. In the platform diving he won the gold on his final performance with an incredible reverse three-and-a-half somersault tuck. It was a breathtaking finish that brought Americans to their feet. It was the same dive that clinched the gold for Louganis in the '84 games.

When reporters hounded him in Los Angeles he gave them a very unusual response. They asked, "What were you thinking about as you prepared for your final dive?" Maybe they were referring to the pressure, or to the fact that that dive is extremely dangerous and killed a Soviet diver just a year before in 1983. Louganis' simple answer was, "I was thinking that no matter what happens, my mother will still love me."

When Greg was just eleven, he became very frustrated at his diving performance in an early and important meet. Frances Louganis took her son aside and said, "I do not come to see you win. I come to see you dive. Just do your best. I will love you no matter what." That unconditional love carried her son to forty-three national diving titles, six Pan-American gold medals, five world championships, one Olympic silver medal, and four Olympic gold medals.[3]

My friends, may I remind you that God does not look to see if we are winning. He watches over us because he loves us and He will love us no matter what!

 

Conc: In the Jewish temple and tabernacle there burned a lamp, a light of sacrifice that never went out. Day and night summer and winter, it shed its soft and mystic glow within the holy place. In the temple of the life our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ there was a lamp, a light that never went out. The oil that supplied it was never exhausted. No scorn, no hostility, no hatred could ever quench it. It was the light of love.[4]

Today, that same light still shines in the darkness of this world. That same light still illuminates the lonely road to Heaven. That light still sends its glow into hearts that have been afflicted and plunged into darkness by sin. It still brightens the way for those who are searching for hope in a hopeless world. It still shines to remind us that there is a God in Heaven Who loves us with an uncommon, uncomplicated, unconditional love. Today, God has reminded us again of this great, heavenly truth, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

Do you need that Friend today? If you do, you can come to Him and by faith He will save your soul if you are lost. If you have strayed away from Him and have strained your friendship with Him, you can return to Him and find that He is a faithful friend that always forgives those who come back. If you are carrying a heavy burden, and need a friend to help shoulder that load, there is no better friend than Jesus. He invites you to come, whatever the need may be, Matt. 11:28.

 

(Ill. A trucker tells the story on himself. He was yawning as he passed through rural North Carolina on Interstate 95. Only two more hours of driving, and then a good meal, some TV, a call home, and a warm bed. Most days on the road were like that--not quite as glamorous as some country-western singers suggest. A brown sedan entered the highway just ahead and began weaving back and forth between lanes, causing the trucker to throw his rig into a lower gear. At first he thought it was a drunk, but as the trucker came closer, he saw it was an older man shaking uncontrollably. The trucker was wide awake now. The car swerved violently, whipping its CB antenna like a fishing rod. "That's it," thought the trucker, "the CB." So he called in, "You in the brown Chevy, if you can hear me, pull over. Pull off the road!" Amazingly, the car slowed down and pulled to a stop alongside the road. The trucker pulled up behind him and jumped out of his cab. The elderly man staggered from his car and fell into the trucker's hands. On a rock on the side of Interstate 95, the older man poured out his story of months of fear and pain that accompanied the illness of his only daughter. He was returning now from the hospital where she had revealed that she had decided to cease any further treatment. In the hospital, each put on a face of stoic strength. But out on the road, it had suddenly come over him, and waves of tears and grief overwhelmed him. The encounter was over in less than an hour. Wrenching sobs gave way to serenity, to a warm embrace, and to a new resolve to share pain rather than deny it. The trucker offered a simple prayer and they resumed their journeys. For 50 miles they traveled in tandem, the young trucker using the CB to voice words of encouragement to his new friend. Finally, the older man announced his exit was next. The trucker said farewell, and asked if his friend could make it the rest of the way. Suddenly, a third voice could be heard across the airwaves. "Breaker 19, don't worry, good buddy. Go your way. I'll see him home!" Glancing in his rearview mirror, the trucker saw a livestock truck move into the exit lane behind the brown sedan. --From a sermon by Norm Lawson[5]

I’m glad that I can remind you today that we have a Friend Who will see us home! I sure am glad the Prince of Heaven loves paupers like you and me!)

 



[1] Pulpit Helps Illustration Collection I

[2] Timeless Treasures

[3] Reader's Digest, June 1988, p. 163-170

[4] http://elbourne.org/sermons/index.mv?illustration+1486

[5] http://elbourne.org/sermons/index.mv?illustration+1397

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