True friends are a gift from God. And David surely must have felt that most keenly at this time in his life.
Once again, he heard that King Saul was after him, and he must’ve been getting tired. He’d been running all over the desert, hiding in caves, and Saul just wouldn’t give up. Maybe David started wondering, “Is God really still with me? Samuel said I would be king, but is this really going to happen? How can I be king if I’m dead?”
But at this time of exhaustion and discouragement, Jonathan sought him out. I kind of wonder how that happened. Was Jonathan with Saul and the army and did he sneak off while they weren’t looking? Or did Saul leave him behind because he knew that Jonathan loved David?
Whatever the situation, Jonathan managed to do what Saul couldn’t. He found David. And when Jonathan saw his friend feeling tired, afraid, and discouraged, verse 16 says that he “helped [David] find strength in God.” Jonathan told him,
Don’t be afraid. My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this. (17)
What Jonathan did for David, God calls us to do for others. I love how the NASB translates Ephesians 4:29. It says,
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
“Good for edification.” The NIV puts it, “helpful for building others up.” Do our words build others up or tear them down? So often, we find pleasure in tearing others down “in fun.” And most times, there are no hard feelings from it. After all, it’s just “in fun.” But sometimes the words we speak “in fun” can cut most deeply. How much better would it be if instead we found words that built people up?
“According to the need of the moment.” David desperately needed to hear Jonathan’s words at that point and time. And we should be looking to do the same. Looking at each person’s need of the moment, and asking God, “What does this person need to hear? What do you want to say to them?”
“That it will give grace to those who hear.” Do your words impart grace to people? Are they gifts that bring people closer to God? Are they words that help people to understand God’s grace and working in their lives? That’s what Jonathan’s words did for David.
Good for edification. According to the need of the moment. Giving grace to those who hear. What kind of words flow out of your mouth?