November 12, 2021

Changing Sides

1 Samuel 20:1-17

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

—  1 Samuel 20:4

David thought it might have been his fault that King Saul was trying to kill him. Did he offend the king unknowingly? Did he not fulfill his duties or make a disloyal gesture in Saul’s presence? David could not figure out why Saul was against him.

David had tried to serve the king faithfully, even though Saul had tried to kill him several times. No wonder David was confused and upset.

Jonathan was also confused at this point, probably thinking that Saul had kept his vow not to kill David (see 1 Samuel 19:6-7). Jonathan didn’t seem to realize that Saul had again tried to kill David and to hunt him down (19:10, 15). But David said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

Everything hinged on Jona­than’s response. David would have been completely vulner­able and exposed if he could not trust Jonathan. But Jonathan was not motivated by his own ambitions. He realized now that he could not trust his father. And with a heart of love, Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

In this way Jonathan changed sides. And he and David pledged their friendship to one another, calling upon God as their witness.

Lord, I marvel at Jonathan’s courage to change sides despite his family ties. When you challenge me to change sides for your sake, please help me to be faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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