Strengthening Others

Encouraging Your Friends in the Lord

I have been reading 1 Samuel lately and meditating on the story of David. His life was certainly one filled with “ups and downs.” And, frankly, many of them were brought on by his own sin and mistakes. Being a man after God’s own heart did not make him perfect. In chapter 23, David is on the run from Saul (which he would do for a total of 10 years). He rescued cities from the Philistines only to have those cities determine to turn him over to Saul. So he ends up in the wilderness regions—this time, in a wood in Ziph.

It must have been a discouraging time—wondering why the Lord was allowing such trial and injustice. David had not forgotten the moment he had knelt in the middle of his brothers, with his father looking on, while Samuel—the man of God—poured the oil of anointing on his head declaring David to be God’s choice for the next king. So why was God permitting the current king to hunt him down? Why were all these people against him?

Saul had his troops out each day looking for David in his wilderness hideouts, but God was preventing Saul from finding David. Jonathan visited David in chapter 23 and “strengthened his hand in God.” Wow, how good is that! Jonathan knew his friend had to be struggling with all kinds of thoughts and questions so he determined to do what he could to help his friend.

Jonathan arose—a simple word, but it means he didn’t just sit there and pray for David, or think, “Boy, I know David must be having a rough time out there.” He put action to his concerns and was willing to leave his father—at personal risk, I might add—and go to his friend.

Once he got to David, he didn’t waste any time. Jonathan went to work helping David see the bigger picture, and reminded him of the promises of God. Thus, he strengthened David, not in personal resolve, but in his relationship with the Lord. That, is being a true friend.

So, I got to thinking. Is there someone I know who is going through a tough time? Who is wrestling with questions, and wondering what God is doing? Have I cared enough to go to them, but more than that, have I taken time to point them to the Lord? Those are the actions of true friendship.

Certainly there were times when David had to encourage himself in the Lord, but what a blessed day it was when his friend, Jonathan came to his side and “strengthened his hand in God.” May the Lord help us to be that kind of friend.

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