Jonathan: Faith Encourages
It sounds really good, in theory. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Sounds good—that is until:
- Your friend scores an A, and you get a B
- Your first sled used to be Granny’s, his is a muscle car
- You interviewed for the job, he got the promotion in your place
- You were excited about your new apartment, until he led you through his new house
Alone except for his armor bearer, the son of the Commander-in-Chief penetrates enemy territory and inflicts a blow so severe that the Philistine army disbands and slithers away in fear. Being second-in-command to his father, the king, such victories would obviously pave the way for great recognition and ultimate promotion in the grand scheme of succession. However, when noses were counted, he finds himself condemned by his irrational father and rescued by the soldiers whom his father commands. Saved by populace resistance but further reward did not come.
Then there’s the problem of the 9 foot, fully armored, irritating and intimidating Philistine bully. Suddenly some “no-name” shepherd dude best known for his musical skills, appears on the seen, Goliath lies headless on the hill, and the enemy is again on the run. This time, however, the king takes notice and dishes out rewards. The unexpected hero becomes bachelor #1 and thousands sing his praises. Suddenly Jonathan and the shepherd boy, David, find themselves to be brother-in-laws!
How is a guy supposed to respond? Jealousy? Sulking? Undercut? Start rumors? Contrast and compare? Grumble to the circle of close friends? Set the other up for a sure defeat? Hmm—“Rejoicing with those who rejoice” is a whole lot harder than “weeping with those who weep!”
“Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. And Jonathan stripped himself of the ROBE that was on him and gave it to David with his ARMOR, including his SWORD and his BOW and his BELT.” 18:3-4
When God has chosen to work out His purposes by elevating/exalting another over yourself, how can you find contentment in the unexplainable inversion of fortune? A page out of Prince Jonathan’s play book is a great place to begin: “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David and encouraged him in the Lord” 23:16
Jealousy stealing your joy? Resentment dumping cold water on your dreams? Another seeming to get what you feel you deserve? You can pout. You can grumble. You can sulk. You can light a candle on your solitaire pity-party cupcake, OR you can look for the hand and purpose of God, get over yourself and discover the secret to enduring joy. You can get up and go encourage THEM in the Lord!
See you Sunday, Church!