May 10, 2020. I Samuel 20:12-23

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I Samuel 20:12-23 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

12 Then Jonathan said to David: “The Lord God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, 13 may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die; 15 but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

17 Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 And when you have stayed three days, go down quickly and come to the place where you hid on the day of the deed; and remain by the stone Ezel. 20 Then I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target; 21 and there I will send a lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I expressly say to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them and come’—then, as the Lord lives, there is safety for you and no harm. 22 But if I say thus to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you’—go your way, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter which you and I have spoken of, indeed the Lord be between you and me forever.”

  • The Plan
    • David knows that his time in the palace of Saul had come to an end
      • Jonathan is hopeful that David can stay, but senses the end also
      • When hope fades, God closes one door to open another
    • When God closes a chapter in our lives, he opens a better one
      • Jacob flees to Haran and returns the father of a nation
      • Joseph is taken to Egypt in chains and ascends to govern it
      • Moses runs away to Midian and returns as a deliverer of Heb.
    • Both men sense that a parting was at hand
      • Their friendship held fond and prosperous memories
      • Parting of family and friends is inevitable, painful
      • Both men sense that this parting will be permanent
    • David is to hide in the field by the Stone Ezel
      • Jonathan is to return to Saul to see what his reaction to David’s absence is (acceptance or rage)
      • Jonathan will signal to David what Saul’s response was
      • Play on words: David is to sit at Ezel while his seat at the table remains empty
    • Jonathan will come to the field with arrows and a boy servant
      • If Jonathan shoots (literally, sends) 3 arrows short and tells the boy that the arrows are close near him, all is well
      • If Jonathan shoots 3 arrows far and tells the boy that the arrows are far beyond him then David is to flee for his life
    • Jonathan promises to send David away safely
  • The covenant
    • Jonathan senses that his star if setting while David’s is rising
      • He knows that David is destined to take Saul’s place
      • Jonathan shows no jealousy, bitterness, disappointment, or opposition to what he sees happening
      • Whether God has revealed this to Jonathan or not, he knows it
      • The roles will be reversed: Jonathan will be at David’s mercy
    • Jonathan asks for 2 mercies: treat him and his descendants well
    • David covets that they will treat each other well
      • Later, when the Gibeonites, who were attacked by Saul, ask for 7 male descendants of Saul to execute, Jonathan’s desc. are spared (2 Samuel 21)
      • Of Jonathan’s siblings (Merab, Michal, Abinadab, and Malchishua) Merab, who had been promised to David twice, lost all 5 of her sons, and the concubine Rizpah lost 2 of hers
    • The covenant is before the Lord and can’t be broken without judgment
      • Jonathan promises to honestly report back to David
      • David is to treat Jonathan’s household kindly
  • The Parting
    • As Jonathan departs Ezel both men know a permanent change is coming
    • When a sea change comes we are to trust and continue to serve
      • The fond memories will be there after the move, injury, disease, funeral, or traumatic event (not taken away)
      • Serving the Lord is always forward looking (Philippians 3:14)
    • To wallow in sorrow of the past is to lose effectiveness for future
    • The change could not diminish the bond between David and Jonathan
    • Tragic changes can lead to great ministry and glory to God (Joseph, Moses, Jesus on the cross)
    • Providence always furthers God’s kingdom