1 Samuel 19:4-5
“Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, ‘Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?'”
Jonathan was a son of Saul, the first king of Israel. He was expected to be the next king after Saul, but after God dethroned Saul, David was anointed as the real successor. There is only one successor, so in a physical sense David and Jonathan were rivals.
Jonathan did not consider David as his enemy but loved him as he loved himself (1 Samuel 18:1). That was because Jonathan had enough goodness in his heart to discern the goodness of David. Jonathan’s goodness kept him from struggling for the throne and his own benefit and helped him to follow the will of God. What kind of goodness did Jonathan have?
- Jonathan did not pass over the transgression of his father
David was a sheep herder, a common shepherd. But after he defeated the Philistine commander, Goliath, during the war between Israel and the Philistines, he became a distinguished man in Israel. At first, Saul was pleased with David and made him a commander. But a problem arose when Saul and David triumphantly returned from the war. The women from all the towns of Israel received them singing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul got very angry and hated David and kept a jealous watch over him.
Saul sent David into a very fierce war and even sent his soldiers to David’s house to kill him. When Jonathan saw his father Saul was trying to kill the innocent David without reason, he did not pass over his father’s sin.
Jonathan spoke well of David to his father, Saul. He said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
- Jonathan loved his rival David as he loved himself
First, he followed the will of God without any selfish desire
If you were in Jonathan’s shoes, whose side would you take, David or Saul? From a human viewpoint, Saul was Jonathan’s father, and the king of a country, so it is dishonoring his parents for Jonathon to disobey Saul and vindicate David. However, Jonathan knew his father Saul had already been abandoned by God, and God willed David to be the next king. Jonathan had successor’s right to the throne, but he accepted the will of God without consideration of his own desires. He encouraged David to accomplish God’s will.
John the Baptist realized Jesus was the Savior. How did he feel when he saw his disciples following Jesus? He said in John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
When we readily abandon honor and fame for God’s will to be fully accomplished, God deems it goodness. When it comes to the works of God, many believers and church workers say they hope that the will of God will be fully achieved and His kingdom be expanded. But in reality, most of them hesitate to sacrifice themselves and give up what they have.
Jonathan and John the Baptist had the attitude that they wanted to melt down like salt without leaving behind their own shape for the will of God to be fully achieved although they would not gain fame and honor. This is goodness in God’s sight. If you fulfill your duty and dedicate yourself with this kind of good attitude, even if your merits are not praised, God will never fail to remember it and reward it.
Secondly, Jonathan did his best to stop his loved one from sinning
He did not fear going to his threatening father and prevent his father from sinning by petitioning repeatedly to dissuade Saul from killing David. Jonathan loved his father from the heart although Saul was wicked. He tried to persuade his father again and again not to commit greater sins even though his father would hate him, and Jonathon would also come under distress from his father.
Ancient loyal servants, who loved their king from the heart, did not hesitate to give sound advice to the king about his wrongdoings even if it meant their deaths. When you find your parents, brothers and sisters going in the way of death, how great an effort have you made to guide them to the way of life? How much more have you asked them to go the way of life and salvation and prayed for them with burning love from your inner heart?
It is the same as the case with the church departments and mission organizations to which you belong. What did you do when you saw your seniors and leaders committing unlawful acts? Above all else, you should not reveal to others or gossip about their errors if you love and honor them. When they make some mistakes that are not apparent untruths, if you judge them and gossip, how far you are away from goodness and love!
Even if your leaders go the way that is against God’s will, if you gossip about their offenses again and again, it will be the grounds for Satan’s accusations. If you draw back saying it is not your business, it is not goodness either. If you overlook some errors because you feel uneasy about your seniors or because you are afraid of loss caused by your words, it is not a duty towards your seniors, nor is it goodness in God’s sight.
What then shall we do in goodness? More than anything else, you should have the courage to speak the truth without fearing the loss. If you give them advice with goodness and in love and service, they will not feel offended but listen to your words.
I have done my best to stop the flock from sinning and persuade them to live in truth because I love them. I have taught them the good will of God the Father and showed the clear evidences testifying to the word. Nevertheless, since I have not been satisfied with what I have done, I prayed for each of them day and night until now without stopping.
When they need actions of my love, I served them with the deeds so that they can run a race of faith without committing sins. If I could stop them from sinning with loving care, I would take good care of them with all my might. If it is possible with charity, I give them charity money to prevent their sins.
Regarding charity, I gave them more money than they need. If they need one million Won, I gave more than one million by a hundred thousand Won. That’s because I am afraid that they may spend all the money I give them on their needs but do not give its tithe to God due to their weak faith. So, I give them more money than needed so that they can give the tithes.
Sometimes, some of them continue to sin although I have tried my best to help them live in truth. Then, I think over what I should do to have comfort and mercy on them. Some of them commit unforgivable sins. I put such souls in my mind and ask God to forgive them with an immeasurable love transcending justice.
I have not eluded the pains of childbirth only if I could save one more soul and I could prevent saved souls from sinning again and help them continue their way of life. It is goodness to try one’s best to stop his loved ones from sinning and going the wrong way.
Thirdly, he fulfilled his duty to his father to the end.
Good people want to turn their eyes from the scene where someone commits a sin and to keep themselves away from wickedness. Still more, good people suffer greater pains when they see their family and loved ones sinning. Although Jonathan suffered many pains because of his father’s wickedness, he did not abandon his duty towards his father,.
Jonathan knew God had already forsaken his father Saul. He anticipated what would happen to his father when he was with the evil one and abandoned by God, but he never left his father. In the end, he drew his last breath with his father while they were engaged in war against the Philistines.
Jonathan was with his father in everything whether death or life, not leaving his father. He fulfilled his duty to his father. It was goodness. Here you must not misunderstand one point. It’s not good to be with evil ones that God has forsaken to the end considering it as right duty. Jonathan was with his father as a son to the last moment because he could not just watch his father going the way of destruction. He did not do it because he joined in the wickedness of his father nor was he ignorant of his father’s wickedness, he did it because he fulfilled his duty as a son.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord all of you accomplish the perfect goodness so that you can join the parade of glory and blessing God has prepared.