Can you think of a better gift than a genuine, deep friendship? True friends want the best for each other and put the other person first. Like Jonathan in today's Bible story, they aren't jealous when good things happen to the other person; they are glad. True friends don't mind when friends gets praise and attention. A Godly friendship includes a shared faith in Jesus Christ and putting God at the center of the relationship. A Godly friend listens and, if needed, gives biblical advice. A Godly friend will pray with you and for you. A Godly friend will encourage you to follow God and obey God's commandments. A Godly friend will keep growing as a Christian and encourage you to do the same. A Godly friend will help you stand against evil and do the right thing. Godly friendships aren't perfect. Misunderstandings and disagreements happen. Genuine friends set their pride aside and spend the time and energy necessary to reflect and work things out instead of casting blame or being stubborn.
Scripture tells us that a true friend is always loyal. (Proverbs 17:17) David and Jonathan are a perfect picture of this. Before David killed Goliath, Samuel anointed David as the next future king of Israel. After David killed Goliath, Jonathan basically adopted David into his family as a brother and they became best friends. David would play the harp for King Saul, Jonathan's dad. King Saul placed David in leadership positions. Eventually the king became jealous of David and wanted to kill him. King Saul told Jonathan and all of his servants that they should kill David. But Jonathan warned David and asked his father to stop. The king stopped. Sometime later King Saul tried to kill David again by throwing a spear at him. David escaped, but he knew this was it. There was no way he could stay around the king, so he ran away. The king went after him. David ran away to find Jonathan. He asked his friend why King Saul was after him and why he wanted him dead. Jonathan wouldn’t believe him, but David insisted that the king would not tell his son what he planned to do because they were friends. Jonathan and David made a plan. David was going to skip dinner with the king to go be with his family. If the king was ok with him being gone, then everything was fine and David was not in trouble with the king. But if Jonathan told King Saul that David was visiting his family and the king became angry, then they would know that the king wanted David dead. Jonathan and David made an agreement. After Jonathan knew the answer about King Saul and David, he would shoot three arrows near a certain rock. If he told his servant boy that the arrows were near the rock, then everything was ok. If Jonathan told the boy that the arrows were beyond the rock, then David would know to run for his life. Dinner came and went. No David at the table. Dinner came again the second night and King Saul asked Jonathan where David was. When given the answer, King Saul flew into a rage and threw a spear at Jonathan. He told Jonathan that David would take the kingdom from him, but Jonathan wanted to know what David had done to deserve death. Jonathan was very angry and saddened by his father. The third day Jonathan shot his arrows and announced that they were beyond the rock. When the boy was sent away, David came out of hiding. They hugged and cried. Jonathan told him to go in peace and to remember their covenant before the Lord between them and their families forever.
Think about the friends you have. The most loyal friends tell their friends about Jesus. They tell the truth. They accept apologies. They ask forgiveness. They don’t give up on each other. They go through life with each other and with Jesus.
1. Why was King Saul angry at David? 2. Why did Jonathan help David escape? 3. How did David feel about the king even after he heard of his plot to have him killed? 4. What would you have done in Jonathan's place? In Daniel's place? 5. How should we treat our friends?
Shoe Prints: As each person enters the room, have them create a dirty footprint on a white sheet of paper. Mix up the footprints and then pass them out. Each person must find the shoe that matches the footprints. (This works best when people are coming into the room from outside. Once they have walked across a carpet or clean floor, the dust is often left behind and it is difficult to get footprints.) Variation: Take a digital photo of part of the bottom of each person’s shoe and print and use these instead of the footprints.
Simon Says: Simon Says is a simple game where children need to follow the instructions of one child who says, “Simon Says…” followed by an activity like “raise your hand”, “raise your leg”, “dance”, etc.
Hide and Seek: One child is chosen to be the ‘it’ and while he/she counts to 20 or 50 or 100, all the other children hide and the ‘it’ tries to find them one by one.