Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?”
1 Samuel 20:1
This morning, let me start off by telling a story that I think perhaps I told in a sermon several years back. Which was a story of when Tia and I first started dating.
And every good story has to start with the words, “So there I was.”
So there I was, from the get-go, I was pretty sweet on Tia, and because of that, I really wanted to put my best foot forward, not just with Tia but also her family. Early on into our dating relationship, I learned that Tia and her family were huge fans of roller coasters, huge roller coaster fans. In fact, if you can find someone to love you the way Tia’s family loves roller coasters, you are well.
Because of their love for coasters, every year they would make a pilgrimage down to 6 Flags Great America. Now, for me, up to that point, I had never been on a roller coaster. Never cared to. But being the romantic that I am, I figured if I wanted to earn some points, it would be good for me to make the trip with them, with the thought of really how bad could roller coasters be.
So I agreed to go, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. However, soon after agreeing to go, some of the glean in my eye started to fade a bit because I began to see the planning that was starting to take place for this trip.
First, there was a conversation about the time of departure, which was far earlier than I anticipated. And I learned that we would leave very early, crack of dawn early, wake up the rooster early because it was critical that we are one of the first, if not the first people in line, waiting for the park to open, to maximize every second that we can during operating hours.
Second, there was then a conversation surrounding the strategy by which we would attack the park, and yes, the word attack is the proper word to use here. So, with a map of the park laid out on the table, with a little review of how last year’s attack plan worked, and how it could be improved, Tia’s family then started to strategize the best route we would take from coaster to coaster to ensure we exceed last’s effort in terms of the number of rides, as well as in terms of hitting the priority coasters as much as we could.
So, with our attack plan, we were given times and locations that would be the most strategic for our limited bathroom breaks we were allotted. We were given times when we would eat lunch and dinner to keep up our strength for the day but not in such a way where it could slow us down.
As the battle plan was being drawn up, I felt like I was sitting in a master class in the art of war at West Point.
In fact, I don’t know if Napoleon himself, at the peak of his military power, ever laid out a more brilliant, thought-through, strategic plan than what I just witnessed. So with our plan in place, as the day came to make the trek down to 6 Flags…
We got up early, which allowed us to get in line right at the front, all according to plan. As the gates opened, we ran to priority #1 roller coaster, which was the biggest and fastest coaster in the park, according to plan. But then, as we waited in line, I was informed of a plan that was not discussed with me present, which I will refer to as the boyfriend hazing initiation plan.
And this plan was not to slowly break me into roller coasters. Rather, this plan was to line up in such a way that I would ensure I would sit in the front seat of priority #1 roller coaster, you know, the biggest and fastest coaster in the park, just to ensure I get the full experience. Which I did.
And from that first ride on, for the rest of the day, it was one roller coaster after another, after another, after another, where the ups and downs never seemed to end. I felt I was in roller coaster purgatory until finally, finally, the day came to an end, the time was up, and we were basically forced by the park officials to leave. Which we did, with everyone in Tia’s family delighted because we set a new record for the number of coasters ridden. But the happiest one at the end of the day was me because it was finally over.
And through that experience, I learned two major things. First, at least when it comes to roller coasters, Tia and her family are bonkers. Second, I learned I do not like roller coasters at all, like not even a little bit. By the end of the day, I learned how much I like things that are nice, stable, and steady.
Now I tell you that story not just to air past grievances but to set us up for a bit of a theme. I wanted us to consider this morning from our text, which is the theme revolving how much of a roller coaster life can be that never seems to end, that for the majority of us, we do not like to ride.
Now, I know there is a song that sings life is a highway, which implies a smooth ride by which you can set your cruise control and coast. But that is simply not true. Life is a roller coaster that is filled with a never-ending ride of ups and downs, twists and turns. And I want to center on that theme this morning because of how much of a roller coaster ride David, who is the central character in today’s passage, has been on since we first met him in chapter 16, so many ups and so many downs that never ever seemed to end.
For the sake of review to help set the context of our passage today, let me just remind us of this roller coaster David has been on since chapter 16. When we first met David, he was the almost forgotten youngest son of a man named Jesse who was a lowly shepherd boy. But then things are up, in fact way up, as David was anointed to be king by the great prophet and priest Samuel.
From there, things continued to move up, and David was invited into the king’s court to play the harp for King Saul, who we read that in short order became a loved and trusted servant of Saul. Pretty high highs. From there, in chapter 17, at the start, it seemed like David was kind of down, kind of discouraged because while he was tending to the flock, his brothers were camped out in a battle against the great enemies of Israel, the Philistines.
And it seems pretty clear at the start of chapter 17, David wished he was there with them, down, discouraged, disappointed. Only for things to greatly change for David, to up, as he entered into the battle to represent Israel to fight against the giant man Goliath, which he did in such a way that God brought forth an incredible victory as David struck down Goliath. Which led to all of Israel routing the Philistines. What an incredibly emotional up that must have been. Think how full of encouragement David had to be.
Then in chapter 18, further encouragement for David, a further up, because we read that David found a loyal and committed best friend, a man named Jonathan, who was Saul’s son and who is also in our text today.
But then, in chapter 18, after the up of a victory parade, things started to quickly crash down for David, as King Saul became jealous of him with such jealousy that Saul tried to kill David with a spear. A real downer. In fact, I am sure a confusing downer. However, as that was happening, David was growing in favor among the people because he is having success wherever he went. So in some ways, back up.
But then, at the end of 18, more of the roller coaster ride, where Saul tried to manipulate the situation at hand to sneakily kill David, which he did by offering to David his oldest daughter in marriage, which at first had to be an up for David that was encouraging. But when that didn’t work out, a down. But then back up, as Saul offered his youngest daughter Michal, who loved David, which did work out.
And this marriage worked out because David more than paid the bride-price that Saul set for this marriage, which was the killing of 100 Philistines, to which David killed 200.
And as he killed the 200, it was just more ongoing success for David, in ways that helped his name become even more highly esteemed. The up kept going up.
But then there was the rollercoaster of our text last week, where Saul put a public hit out on David’s life, a real down. Only for Jonathan to be an advocate for David, which Jonathan was successful in doing in such a way that Saul not only took off the hit but even declared protection for David, a real up.
Only for Saul to flip-flop, to later in the text try to once again pin David to the wall with a spear, back down. Only for David’s wife Michal to help him successfully escape to safety, at least some measure this had to be a bit of an up. And as he fled, David found Samuel who took him, probably a further up.
Only for Saul to send messengers to where David was hiding out, to kill him, back down. Yet, as the messengers came, God moved in such a way that He used Samuel and other prophets to not only protect David but do an incredible work in the messengers, back up. And this up and down scene with Samuel, the prophets, and the messengers happened three times because three times Saul sent messengers to kill him. Up down, up down, up down, up.
And finally, our text ended with, I would think, was at least somewhat of an up for David, as God humbled Saul to the point that he was laying naked on the floor in great shame. Can you imagine this rollercoaster for David, who at this point was still a young man? From chapter 16 when we met him through our text today, and really all the way through the rest of 1 Samuel, this was his reality. He lived on the rollercoaster of emotions, filled with high highs but also low lows, where I am sure for him it never felt like he was walking on nice, stable, and steady ground.
Now today, as we come to our text today, as mentioned, more of the rollercoaster ride for David, with more up and more downs, more twists, more turns. So with all that being said, look back with me starting in verse 1, as we read that after the great scene in the previous passage where God used Samuel and prophets to protect David, once again David had to go back on the run as he fled the area.
For the sake of review, to help set the context of our passage today, let me just remind us of this rollercoaster David has been on since chapter 16.
When we first met David, he was the almost forgotten youngest son of a man named Jesse, who was a lowly shepherd boy. Down.
But then things are up. In fact, way up. As David was anointed to be king by the great prophet and priest Samuel. From there, things continued to move up, and David was invited into the king’s court to play the harp for King Saul, who we read that in short order became a loved and trusted servant of Saul. Pretty high highs.
From there, in chapter 17, at the start, it seemed like David was kind of down, kind of discouraged because while he was tending to the flock, his brothers were camped out in a battle against the great enemies of Israel, the Philistines. Down, discouraged, disappointed.
Only for things to greatly change for David, to up. As he entered into the battle to represent Israel to fight against the giant man Goliath, which he did, in such a way that God brought forth an incredible victory as David struck down Goliath. Which led to all of Israel routing the Philistines. What an incredibly emotional up that must have been. Think how full of encouragement David had to be.
Then in chapter 18, further encouragement for David, a further up, because we read that David found a loyal and committed best friend, a man named Jonathan, who was Saul’s son and who is also in our text today.
But then, in chapter 18, after the up of a victory parade, things started to quickly crash down for David as King Saul became jealous of him, with such jealousy that Saul tried to kill David with a spear. A real downer. In fact, I am sure a confusing downer.
However, as that was happening, David was growing in favor among the people because he was having success wherever he went. So in some ways, back up.
But then, more of the roller coaster ride where Saul tried to manipulate the situation at hand to sneakily kill David, which he did by offering to David his oldest daughter in marriage. Which at first had to be an up for David. That was encouraging, but when that didn’t work out, a down.
But then back up, as Saul offered his youngest daughter Michel who loved David, which did work out. And this marriage worked out because David more than paid the bride-price that Saul set for this marriage, which was the killing of a 100 Philistines, to which David killed 200.
And as he killed the 200, it was just more ongoing success for David, in ways that helped his name become even more highly esteemed. The up kept going up. But then there was the roller coaster of our text last week, where Saul put a public hit out on David’s life, a real down, only for Jonathan to be an advocate for David, which Jonathan was successful in doing in such a way that Saul not only took off the hit but Saul even declared protection for David, a real up.
Only for Saul to flip flop to later in the text try to once again pin David to the wall with a spear, back down. Only for David’s wife, Michal to help him successfully escape to safety. At least some measure this had to be a bit of an up. And as he fled, David found Samuel who took him, probably a further up.
Only for Saul to send messengers to where David was hiding out to kill him, back down. Yet, as the messengers came, God moved in such a way that he used Samuel and other prophets to not only protect David but do an incredible work in the messengers, back up. And this up and down scene with Samuel the prophets and the messengers happened 3 times because 3 times Saul sent messengers to kill him. Up down, up down, up down, up.
And finally our text ended with, I would think, was at least somewhat of an up for David, as God humbled Saul to the point that he was laying naked on the floor in great shame.
Can you imagine this rollercoaster for David, who at this point was still a young man? From chapter 16 when we met him through our text today, and really all the way through the rest of 1 Samuel. This was his reality; he lived on the rollercoaster of emotions, filled with high highs but also low lows. Where I am sure for him, it never felt like he was walking on nice, stable, and steady ground.
Now today, as we come to our text today, as mentioned more of the rollercoaster ride for David, with more ups and more downs, more twists, more turns.
So with all that being said, look back with me starting in verse 1 as we read that after the great scene in the previous passage where God used Samuel and prophets to protect David, once again David had to go back on the run as he fled the area.
And as he fled, he came back to his good buddy Jonathan to process with him what he could have done to get Saul so upset, to see where his guilt maybe, where he might have sinned against Saul in such a way that caused Saul to seek his life. David is back down, discouraged, fighting real despair here in verse 1, I am sure fatigued by the rollercoaster ride he had been on.
And in verse 2, as David was trying to process what was happening from the depths of discouragement and despair, we see Jonathan do what any good friend would do, should do. Jonathan spoke truth to David, words of encouragement to David. In our text, Jonathan said to David, “David, you are not going to die, far from it. Listen, I know my dad, and even though he is a loose cannon, before the cannon is shot off, he does nothing great or small without first talking to me.”
So don’t worry, before anything happens I will be made known of it and I won’t let you die.
However, in verse 3, as David was flying downward in the rollercoaster of despair, we read that he answered back to Jonathan, having real doubts to what Jonathan just said. By saying back to him, “Jonathan, that sounds good, but your father knows we are buddies. He knows that I have found favor in your eyes. Don’t you think that he would think that I better not let Jonathan know about my intentions for David because he would assume it would grieve you?”
Jonathan replied, “I know we are friends and I know that your dad does confide in you for virtually everything, but with me, this is different. His consuming hatred towards me is unlike anything else.”
As truly as the Lord lives, as your soul lives, David told Jonathan, “I got to tell you Jonathan, I am just a step away from death. Your dad is coming for me. And he is not going to stop.” You can just feel the emotional down here, this just feels like David was emotionally down and defeated.
In text as David shared his heart with his friend, Jonathan agreed. “You know what David, you are right. This is different,” he said. As he agreed with David’s assessment of the situation, Jonathan went back to reaffirm to his friend the covenant he made with him back in chapter 18, which he will do multiple times in this passage. This speaks to the type of friend Jonathan was.
In the passage, in line with the covenant Jonathan made with David, he said, “whatever you say, I will do. I am not going to let you ride the rollercoaster alone. I will be there with you and I will do whatever you need for me to do.”
So in verse 5, David came up with a plan that would need Jonathan’s help. “Jonathan, as you know, tomorrow is the new moon, and you know we have a celebration meal to mark this occasion. But how about this… how about I fail to come and sit at the table with the king?” which would be the normal expectation for David.
But instead of coming to the meal, Jonathan, what I will do, I am going to go hide myself in the field until the 3rd day at evening. Which probably just refers to the imprecise nature of predicting the exact date of when the new moon would fill the sky. So it seems like they had maybe 2 days that they felt good about when the new moon would come so they would have to prepare for the feast on both of those days.
So by the 3rd day, David felt confident the new moon would have occurred, making his absence noticeable. Verse 6, Jonathan, as your father notices I am gone and it seems clear that he wonders where I am. Just tell him that I earnestly came to you to see if it would be ok if I could run back home to Bethlehem so that I could perform a yearly sacrifice there with my entire clan.
And when you tell him that in verse 7, take note of how he responds. If he says back to you, “oh good, that makes sense. I am glad David could do that,” if that happens, we can trust that things are well for me. That indeed he had a change of heart towards me. And I am safe in his presence.
But if you tell him I went back home for the sacrifice, and he gets angry at this news, then we know that he is bound and determined to bring me harm. This was a pretty simple and straightforward plan to test the heart of Saul. Verse 8, after David laid out this plan, we read he then looked to his good friend and asked Jonathan to please deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you, which is also a call back to what we read in chapter 18 and the promise that Jonathan gave to David to be loyal to him.
Now even though Jonathan already affirmed his commitment to David, for David, this was such an emotional rollercoaster ride for him. I am sure he had a hard time knowing who he could trust, even if he could trust his closest and most loyal friend. So he asked for added assurance from Jonathan.
And as David sought assurance from Jonathan, he did so in a way where he tried to protect Jonathan from feeling backed into a corner to have to defend David if David was actually in the wrong. So David told Jonathan in the text, “thank you for your assurance, but I do understand that if there is guilt in me, if in the end I am the one who is wrong, not your father Saul, not only are you not obligated to keep the covenant, but if I am guilty, you should kill me yourself. And don’t even waste time bringing me to your father.”
Which here, I think part of the tolls of this rollercoaster ride for David was that his own confidence was crushed. To the point that he struggled to trust others, and he couldn’t even trust himself. In verse 9, as Jonathan heard all that David had to say, he spoke up again with words of truth and encouragement to his weary friend. “David, far be it from you! David, you know we are friends, you know that I love and care about you. And my desire is for your good. So David, please trust me when I tell you, if I knew that my father determined to harm you, I would tell you. Do you think I would not tell you?”
Now, let’s put ourselves here at this scene. This had to be such an emotional conversation that was going back and forth between these two friends. Where really, it probably felt for David that their friendship was on the line. In fact, for David, it had to feel like everything was on the line. Because the reality was, in every sense of the phrase, this was life and death for him.
In verse 10, as David and Jonathan continue to reaffirm their covenant of friendship with each other, we see that they then started to further put their plan in place. So David asked Jonathan, “Ok, so we both feel good about the empty seat test for your Dad. Now, from there, how do you plan on telling me how your father answers, so I know if he spoke roughly back to you when he is told that I am in Bethlehem for the yearly sacrifice, or if he responds back to you with words of favor? Jonathan, how do you see this playing out?”
And in Verse 11, Jonathan had an idea that he didn’t just want to share with David but also show David.
So we read that they went out into a field.
And as they got to the field, in verse 12 Jonathan further reaffirmed his covenant to David with God being his witness. And by the way, as a little side note that we will continue to return to today, when people are on the roller-coaster of life with ups and downs, often they need a lot of affirmation.
So not only be patient with them when they seek affirmation, but be proactive with them to give it. Affirming and re-affirming truth is what they need. In fact, we all need it.
Which I am sure is one of the reasons why God commands us to not forsake coming together as a church. So week after week after week, through his Word God, through the taking of the Lord’s supper, we can hear God affirm his promises towards us. Which is one of the many reasons why I hope we all do what we can to make sure we are faithfully present to hear these God-given affirmations each Sunday.
Verse 13, as the plan was being laid out, with the further affirmation of Jonathan, we read that in a sense Jonathan invoked a curse upon himself. Telling David that if Saul, his dad, intended to harm David, and Jonathan didn’t pass that info on, then may the LORD himself deal with Jonathan.
Verse 13, he then prayed over David, asking the Lord to be with him as he once was with his father Saul. Which refers to the time before God took his empowering spirit from Saul as judgment for his sin in chapter 13.
And as Jonathan re-upped his end of the covenant, in verse 14 he asked David to do the same on his end. To show and continue to show steadfast love towards him, towards Jonathan’s family line. Doing so by further acknowledging to David, further affirming him, by further encouraging his friend who was down. By helping David to see the evidence of God’s grace that was on him and how the Lord was indeed with him, as the Lord used David to cut off the enemies.
And as this affirming and re-affirming of David and the friendship covenant is taking place.
Jonathan further prayed over David in verse 16, asking the Lord to continue to take vengeance on the enemies of David.
As both men continued to affirm their loving friendship towards each other. To say it again, this had to be just such an emotional scene. That in itself was just a roller-coaster of emotions. Life and death on the line, friendship challenged and affirmed. A plan in place with no certainty of how successful it will be or the outcome it would reveal.
This scene was not stable, not sure, not a highway, but a roller-coaster.
Keep going, verses 18-19, with the empty seat plan in place. Jonathan started to show David how he would communicate to him if indeed Saul reacts harshly. Which would have to be a plan where the communication would be done in secret. Not wanting anyone to find out out of fear that eventually things would get back to Saul. So, Jonathan said to David, “On the third day, go and remain over there by the stone heap.” And in verse 20, on that day, “I will come back to the field with my servant, I will come under the guise of wanting to work a bit on my archery skills of shooting bow and arrow.”
“And after I shoot the arrows, listen in for the instruction that I tell my servant boy. What he was to do in terms of retrieving the arrows after they are shot.” Verse 21, “If I tell the boy, look, the arrows are on this side of you. Take note that will be how I communicate to you good news, that as the Lord lives you are not in danger but are safe to return.”
However, in verse 22, “If I tell the youth to look for the arrows that are beyond you,” David, as hard as it would be for me to tell you that. Just know, that is my communication to you that things did not go well with my Dad. And that it is time for you to once again flee, trusting that the Lord has sent you away.
“But David, if that is the message that I give you, please, please, please know that as you go away, that our covenant before the Lord is with us forever.”
You can just sense the tears just flowing down their faces, where clearly the friends still had some hope that God might work in such a way in the life of Saul that Saul would repent and show kindness towards David, so this would all go away. But these guys were not dumb, they were not fools. They understood that without some kind of unique work of God, the likely painful outcome that was about to take place.
Verse 23, we read that the plan was being put into action. David hid in the field as the new moon came. Verse 24-25, everyone else sat in their normal seats. I will let you read the names yourself to see who was all present.
And after day one, when Saul noticed that David was not there, in verse 26, he didn’t think anything of it. For Saul, something must have happened where David, perhaps he was not clean, which would not allow him to participate in the feast. No big deal, things happen.
However, in verse 27, as day two of the feast came, still no David, his place was still empty. And for Saul, this was now a concern. Gone one day, eh, it’s fine, no need to read anything into it. But now gone day two as well, Saul needed to find out what was going on.
So we see that he went to Jonathan to see if he knew why David was not present. So in verse 28, Jonathan responded back to his dad according to the planned-out script that he and David walked through beforehand. “Ummmm, David? Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that recently he came to me in earnest, asking if he could head back home to Bethlehem so that he could participate in the yearly sacrifice that his clan holds there.”
“A sacrifice that he told me had some family pressures tied to it, specifically from his older brothers who insisted he was present for. And, Dad, I figured we really didn’t need him here, not that big of a deal, so I gave him permission to go.”
And as Jonathan went through reciting his script, I am sure his heart was racing, his palms were sweaty. I am sure his stomach was filled with nerves and butterflies, anxious to see how Saul would respond.
Which he did in verse 30, doing so with a response filled with anger, not just anger against David, but also against his son Jonathan, who we see in verse 30 Saul went after about as harshly as he could, telling Jonathan that he was nothing more than the son of a perverse and rebellious woman. Which further underscores how awful of a dad Saul was, to say that about his own son.
And as Saul went after Jonathan, seeking to verbally disgrace him, he also let Jonathan know that he was not fooling him with the story that was just told about David in Bethlehem. As Saul told Jonathan, “Son, how dumb do you think I am? I know you have chosen this son of Jesse, this lowly shepherd over me, which further proves how much an idiot of a son that you are, Jonathan. What you just did, this is to your shame, this is to the shame of your mother, how could you choose him over me? In the text, Jonathan, do you not understand because of him, this kingdom will never be yours.”
So Jonathan, don’t lie to me, don’t give me some kind of made-up story. Rather, you need to send for him, you need to bring David to me, for he shall surely die. Once again, you can just read this passage and feel the intensity of this scene. This was Jonathan keeping his promise to David, a promise where Jonathan fully jumped on the rollercoaster with him.
As Saul talked down his son in the most condescending way possible, we see Jonathan show real courage. In that, he didn’t simply cower down before his dad in shame, which was Saul’s goal. Rather, we read that Jonathan courageously spoke up in verse 32, “Why, Dad, why should David be put to death? Tell me, Dad, what are his charges, what has he done?”
But as Jonathan courageously spoke up on David’s behalf, unlike what we read in our text last week when Jonathan said something similar to Saul, that resonated with Saul in such a way that Saul relented.
In our text today, this questioning rebuke by Jonathan did not land.
Because we read in verse 33 that Saul took his spear, that he has tossed multiple times at David as he tried to pin David against the wall. And this time, Saul tossed it at Jonathan, his own son, trying to strike him. Only for Jonathan to be able avoid it and escape.
Now, it seems like Jonathan was a pretty sharp guy. But after what just took place, he didn’t have to be a genius to see what Saul’s intentions were for David and this empty seat text. They were not for good, but for harm.
So in verse 35 we read that morning Jonathan went to the field where David was hiding, taking his young servant with him, which was the plan. In verse 36, also according to plan, Jonathan shot the arrows and instructed his servant to retrieve them. And as the servant went to look for them, Jonathan relayed the secret message to David by painfully shouting out to the boy in ways that David could certainly hear.
“Servant, is not the arrow beyond you?” which communicated to David all that he needed to hear. Which I am sure too was a rollercoaster of emotions for him.
Where perhaps as Jonathan entered the field, David had some guarded optimism of a good report, only for that guarded optimism to be stripped from him with the absolute downer of a report that he dreaded to hear. And as the boy retrieved the arrows and brought them back to Jonathan, we see Jonathan send the boy home without delay in verse 39, with the boy knowing nothing of what just took place, having no suspicion that something more was going on than simply Jonathan doing some normal archery practice.
Down to verse 41, as the boy was out of sight, we read that David came out from where he was hiding behind the stone heap, falling on his face, bowing before Jonathan three times, which was a great sign of respect and admiration towards his friend who kept his covenant with him.
Then as David got up, we read that the men gave the cultural farewell of a kiss, doing so with more tears streaming down their face, with our text telling us that David wept the most. Just a rollercoaster of emotions bursting forth here for David.
My guess is that all the emotional things all happening at once for him, grateful for Jonathan, where he felt loved and cared by him.
Yet, at the same time, I would guess also angry at Saul, scared for what lies of uncertainty of what lies ahead as his life was still very much in danger. All of this while grieving the reality that he was being forced to leave everything behind in order to save his life, including his friend Jonathan and his young wife Michal who he could not take with him which would have put her at such risk. So we won’t see her again until chapter 25 where we learn that Evil Saul gave his daughter to another man. It makes so much sense that David is crying deep tears here, as the roller-coaster ride going forward would be one that would take him on the run.
Which by the way, take note that all of this, this entire roller coaster ride was because God anointed David to be king. David didn’t anoint himself, God put him on this rollercoaster. Up to this point, the only things we have read are positive things about David, his character, his heart for God. Yet here he was at the end of our text, a man who was in the valley of life, beat down with despair, where seemingly he lost everything.
Finally, our text ends with Jonathan saying goodbye with another prayer, a Jonathan blessed David that he would go in peace. Then after the prayer, yet another affirmation of their covenant that the Lord would be between these two men and their offspring forever. And with that, David got up and fled for safety as Jonathan head back into the city.
Now for our time to close, I just want to give you some real brief thoughts on the rollercoaster of life that I think our text reminds of. Because of time constraints as mentioned, this will be brief.
All of what I have to close will revolving around identifying, which when we are on the rollercoaster at times it can be hard to ID anything because we are just trying to hold. So as I give you these, my hopes that being able to ID these things will be an encouragement to you.
First, ID that the Rollercoaster Is Real, and I do want us to ID that. It is cliche but true, life is really filled with ups and downs, with peaks and valleys, and I actually think that is important for us to understand this since sin entered in in Genesis 3. Life is made up of ups and downs that at times feels like that ride will never end.
So this morning, if you feel like your life has been a never-ending rollercoaster, if it helps, I am sure it has been. I don’t doubt it. To go back to the start of this sermon, that has been the life of David in our study. Now his ups and downs no doubt are more extreme than anything we might face. But I think part of our reading of 1 Samuel is to see David’s rollercoaster ride, to ID with David, as we go through whatever ups and downs in our life. And now we are not alone, which leads to the second thing.
ID that we are not meant to ride the Rollercoaster alone, which was something that I didn’t at first see this week when I started to work through this text for this time. But by midweek, this was something that became one of the most clear things that I could see from this text. Over and over and over again in this text, Jonathan and David riding this together as they expressed their commitment to each other on this ride. Friends, a strong reason why we hope as a church that we connect and continue to connect with others in the church family is this right here, so that we can go through the ups and downs of life, riding the rollercoaster together, to help each other through the many ups and downs, to bear one another’s burdens in love, to ID with each other.
Now, with David, God was at work through the ups and downs in many ways. Let me give you two. First, God was at work inside the heart of David in ways in which God was preparing him to be King.
It seems like the ups were used by God to fill David with encouragement to see God at work through him, while God used the many downs to bring forth humility in David, causing David to be more and more dependent upon the LORD. And I think this is the pattern that we see all throughout the Scriptures with various characters of faith. God had a real purpose in the ups as well as in downs, to grow his people, which is one of our church pillars. Friends, the roller coaster ride is not wasted by God. It is not a ride we ride in vain, rather God was using them to grow our faith, to cause us to not trust in ourselves but in him. So this morning, if I can encourage you here, please take heart and trust, God is doing the same in you through all of your ups and downs, and maybe especially the downs. God is at work to grow you. They are not being wasted by God, you are not riding the rollercoaster in vain.
But second, let me also mention that for David, not only was God at work in the ups and downs inside of him, but God was at work through David to use David to care for others. And I am sure there are many ways God was doing this work through David, but let me mention perhaps the most important way. Friends, it seems abundantly clear that so many of the Psalms that we love, that minister to us, that we ID with, many of them were written by David while he was on the rollercoaster, particularly when the rollercoaster was screaming downward like it was in our text today.
Friends, if I can further encourage you here, who knows how God might use the rollercoaster that you have been riding in ways that for the glory of God ministers to others. ID God’s work in the roller coaster ride or as we often say, ID the evidences of his grace as you ride.
4th, and most importantly, ID that Jesus ID with you on the ride. That is one of the great blessings of the incarnation. Scripture tells us that Jesus is our faithful High Priest who can ID with us in every way, in every weakness, yet without sin.
And Jesus can ID with us because in the flesh, he himself rode the rollercoaster. Where, in the flesh, Jesus experienced many high highs, where he healed the sick, raised the dead, and had crowds praise him. But he also experienced many lows, including the lowest of the lows, as the crowds yelled “crucify him” and they nailed him to a wooden cross.
Where on the cross, the lowest of lows, God was at work in such a way that Jesus, in the place of his people of faith, bore the wrath of God by taking on the penalty of our sin in our place. So that by faith in Jesus and him alone, we might find forgiveness.
The cross is the lowest of the low. But as we know, on the third day our Lord rose again from the dead, the highest of the high. And because Jesus lives, He promises eternal life to any and all who call upon His name, including all here today. So that through Jesus not only will you be forgiven of your sin, but you have the promise that one day the rollercoaster ride will indeed stop. And that day will be joyful, not simply because the ride is finally over, but because on that day, when our Lord returns, we will be fully and eternally with Jesus, who is the sure and steady anchor of our soul.
Red Village Church, as we ride the rollercoaster of life, may we faithfully ride it together, helping each other not just to ID with each other, but more importantly, may we help each other to see the one who ID with us, the Lord Jesus Christ.