Day 15

David and Jonathan

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan

1 Samuel 20:1-42, 1 Samuel 21:1-15, 1 Samuel 22:1-23, Psalm 34:1-3, Matthew 10:34-39

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 20:1-42, 1 Samuel 21:1-15, 1 Samuel 22:1-23, Psalm 34:1-3, Matthew 10:34-39

I don’t know if it’s because I’m the daughter of a Navy Captain, or because my heart beats to the rhythm of the tides, but I feel most settled at the ocean. Recently, on an early morning walk, I remembered a line from a poem I wrote in sixth grade: “the waves jump up and hit my face / in and out, like fancy lace…” Relentless and submissive, joyful and with full abandon, the waves come and serve themselves to the shore. They do not pause several hundred feet out to decide whether or not they should move forward.

If only making decisions came so easily for me.

Granted, it’s their ontological design, so there’s that. But I still long for a simple, clear confidence of direction when making difficult decisions—especially relational ones that cause me to choose one loyalty over another. Or when things are simply inconvenient and I know the consequences will be costly. I confess I find it easier to hover out from the shore rather than risk crashing on the wrong one.

I admire the clarity of mind Jonathan displays in 1 Samuel. Early on, he’s presented with a tangled, messy, relational situation, yet Jonathan honors his commitment to David without hesitation, promising, “Whatever you say, I will do for you” (1 Samuel 20:4). Boom. I can almost hear the splash and feel the spray on my face.

In that split second, Jonathan has committed to protect his friend David from his own father, King Saul. In doing so, he helps to preserve a kingship, which ultimately results in the Messiah’s arrival and our own salvation rescue. Jonathan couldn’t have known the long-range significance in the moment, or what the ultimate cost of such a commitment would be (1 Samuel 31). But he did know the next right thing to do, and he did it with moral clarity and a clear conscience.

My decisions aren’t usually life-and-death, and the accompanying narrative is not nearly as dramatic. But when it comes to decision-making in my own life,  I’ve experienced the tension between relational loyalties and moral clarity in more ways than I can count.

Take the other night—a somewhat trivial, but practical example. We were sitting in our courtyard, as our neighbor’s two small dogs continued to bark… at 11 o’clock… pm.

It’s not a new issue for us; there have been conversations, requests, and reminders. We could’ve very easily called the police to come issue a citation. It would even be morally appropriate to do so. But I happen to know our neighbor is an older, divorced woman who lives alone, and those two dogs are her family. I also know she would nearly die if the police showed up at her door. So after hesitating for about 20 minutes, I texted her a kind but firm request that she bring her dogs inside since it was so late. She did, and the next day she sent me a heartfelt text of apology.

Long-range significance? I’m not sure, except that she knows we pastor a church and pray for her regularly. But I do know it’s better to extend grace and compassion—overlooking my own temporary inconvenience—rather than risk whatever potential kingdom fruit may come from our relationship.

Many decisions cost far more than this small disturbance in our neighborhood. But even in the small things, God is teaching me about His presence in all things. When my choices are guided by what will bring glory to God and grow fruit for His kingdom, the decisions come more easily, and with quicker clarity. As Jesus Himself tells His disciples in the last part of Matthew 10:39, whenever we lose our life for His sake, we will find it in Him.

Perhaps there is a rhythm to be found here yet—like the waves.


Kim Thomas is a painter, author, and the Curate at The Village Chapel in Nashville, Tennessee, where she and husband Jim call home. Together they were called to start the church in February of 2001. Her undergrad studies were in art while her graduate degree is in theological studies. Kim has written 5 books and paints in the Japanese medium of Nihonga. The abstract work allows for a slow interaction between artist and materials. When asked how would you describe an ideal day… “Words and images without words—that’s a perfect day’s work.”

Post Comments (44)

44 thoughts on "David and Jonathan"

  1. Krystyn Carey says:

    I want to make decisions with this kind of moral clarity!

  2. Micahlee says:

    There are so many changes and decisions happening in my life right now. I am graduating college and getting married and moving out. It’s going to be a year of transition and I hope that I can find the rhythm that is spoken about in today’s reading.

  3. Shelby says:

    The reading for today, was SPOT on. Fabulously written by Mrs. Kim Thomas, as well.

    The waves during this section of 1 Samuel are overwhelmingly stressful, makes my heart go out for David not knowing ultimately what he did wrong to Saul yet he trusts that God will provide! Such faith is admirable. What mostly intrigued me was the deeper study of Matthew 10:34-39. Throughly reading it multiple times; it describes the struggles we will have with our own family. In verse 34 it states “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on earth.” The way I took it was: God does not promise that today is the best life you will ever have, it will actually be the roughest/toughest/miserable/trialing due to the sin nature and how well we can fight it off. Ultimately the ‘best’ life we will be given is that after we fight our tribulations and enter the kingdom of Heaven. Continuing on into v35, it reflects Micah 7:6 and correlates with the separation of the closest earthly ties we can have (our own family). Verse 37 signifies the love of family is no account to take precedence of the love of Christ; Christ’s love is the closest and stronger we (should) given then to our families. Vv 38-39, meaning to follow the Lord–bringing your own cross to Him and acting in this sin-infested world such as Christ, as we seek to desire and be like Jesus we shall find Him.

    It moved me because researching deeper into this passage and seeing Saul react to Jonathan (the rough harsh way he did about now not giving him kingship), it still hurt Jonathon yet he leaned onto faith of God and David to build him up and get him through. It opened by eyes and basically said to me that family will hurt the hardest hurt but God will not hurt you.

    For instance, a family is strongest together when God is the foundation. Deut. 11:1, “You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.” My family fell apart because my parents felt as if their childhood church attendance was enough to carry them throughout life and they “paid their dues” luckily I was able to intermittently go with my mom’s parents. My parents didn’t focus on God together and lost sight of one another’s heart, trending into a dysfunctional, alcohol, abusive, marriage. My sister fell into the pattern of such life, she became a splitting image of my dad; drinks, hangs out with the wrong crowd, drugs, and wants to party all the time and has unhealthy relationships. I pray so much for her as I took an entire different route (obtained my Bachelor’s in Nursing at age 22 and became an ER nurse at age 23). She won’t talk to me because she views me as my dad does ‘worthless, waste of time, not part of the family, Bible thumper, goodie-goodie, etc’ after my dad kicked me out of the house when I was halfway through my senior year of high school for being too involved in school (when she was in 8th grade). She is 4 years younger than me and it makes me sad that she chooses the route that she does but she doesn’t want to see life how I do and doesn’t speak to me because of it.

    Just because you were born into this family, doesn’t make you family.. I have heard. I don’t have a relationship with my dad or sister. My mom I do a little as she lives in a nursing home from a bad fall a year ago and she’s intermittently confused; she had apologized for all the bad things she did and said that she should have never treated me abusive as she did.. after that I felt healed from everything. My dad doesn’t show remorse and my sister just doesn’t appear to care.

    Everyday as I lean more heavily on our gracious Lord. I realize that I’m better with the positive people in my life and ever so grateful for the Lord providing me my grandparents who saved my life by introducing Jesus.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this. Although my story isn’t the same, I can relate to not feeling wanted or guided by at least one parent whose love and attention I so desperately wanted. Thankfully, his heart is slowly softening and his drinking/drug use has become less common. I think it goes to show that although the devil aims to kill and destroy, Jesus can make absolute beauty out of our ashes. If it wasn’t for this rocky family life, I don’t think I would have realized how much I needed Jesus or how much He adores and loves me. I pray that your dad and sister would know how much He loves them, too. I also pray for the hurt you have felt over the years and continue to feel.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Shelby, this is Abby from the SRT team. Thank you so much for being willing to share your story here. We will be praying for you and your family in the midst of all of this. If you haven’t already, we would also encourage you to seek out and talk to a local pastor, counselor, or trusted mentor about these things. Being in community with other believers and having someone to process all of this with can often make a world of difference. We are so glad to have you as part of this community!

    3. Kim Thomas says:

      Dearest Shelby, I pray you will know the deep joy of belonging that comes from being chosen, kept, loved and known as a daughter of God the Father. And I also pray that you will find a sense of “chosen” family among close friends with whom you can share your life and the dailyness of shared memories. The Lord be with you dear one.

  4. Tiesha says:

    As I began to read about the waves moving forward without any hesitation because that is what they were made to do; a huge gulp I take. 1- it’s amazing that I read this after I have been going back and forth about pursuing nursing. It’s something I never thought was in God’s plans for me; I mean I’ve been in the field for almost 15 years and the last 10 as a CMA. I know the work and huge sacrifice this will need at 40yrs old! Is this really what You want God?
    Why can I not just do as the waves continue to do and faithfully without any questions.
    The pure love that Jonathan shows David in 1Samuel 20:4-42 and his promise, wow!
    I asked God to direct me and I will follow. Where’s my promise? Why do I feel stuck?

    1. Shelby says:

      If you are going back and forth with Nursing.. maybe you should shadow a couple nurses to see if nursing and the different specialties to find your calling. I’m an ER/Trauma nurse in Detroit and it’s amazing, grant it very challenging and emotionally tugging.. but the hope of positively influencing maybe one patient out of the hundred or so I encounter daily is worth it. I too have been seeing waves regarding if I want to do something on the side of nursing with Christ (sharing His word or helping other women with struggles).

      Your promise will come and it slowly is tenderizing your heart. God will open doors and close doors. Be specific in your prayers. You may feel stuck because sometimes we don’t want to jump and make a big change because we ultimately are comfortable where we are. Shadow a nurse; call to a hospital/nursing home/school and ask to shadow a nurse on whichever floor you are intrigued by (Surgical ICU, Cardiac ICU, Neonatal ICU, Medical ICU, Neurology ICU, ER, Rehab, Med/Surg, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Neurology, etc). Take a small step/taste and see if it sparks that desire in you.

      Whichever you decide, you will do amazing!

    2. Sheryn says:

      I am currently in nursing school…my 2nd career after being a public safety dispatcher (answering 911) for over 19 years. I first became an LVN and after 4 years as an LVN, I am now back in school to finish my RN. Never once have I questioned that God wanted me to be here, since I have dreamed of being a doctor since I was 12. But life got in my way and it took me this long to get back into it. Additionally, the things I suffered in my past have allowed God to steer me into the path I am now on…the path of Forensic Nursing… so I can help victims of violence and abuse. I am excited to be able to serve others in this way! I am a single Mom so working and going to school is not easy – but God has helped me every step of the way and I absolutely know without a doubt that He wants me here. Email me if you wish, and we can support each other in this adventure!! [email protected]

    3. Kim Thomas says:

      I’m sure there will come a moment of peace when you will “know that you know” what you should do. Feeling stuck comes before moving out! Keep praying, talking with wise people, researching, and taking the next right step. By the way, I went back to seminary in my 50s…you can do this!!

  5. Karen From Virginia says:

    My heart is easily sad because of the season I am in (grieving the loss of my sister) and normally sensitive so I’m struck my the killing of the priests and their families as they wore the linen ephod. Because they stood with God, they were innocently killed. Then it makes me think of brothers and sisters in Christ today all over the world who are innocently killed, tortured, starved, kept from their community all because they acknowledge their Christian faith. I want to be found ready to be found faithful and compassionate towards those who are suffering for the Lord.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Karen, this is Abby from the SRT team. Just wanted to say we’re so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. We will be praying for you and your family during this difficult season. We are so glad to have you in this community.

  6. Tochi Heredia says:

    “They do not pause several hundred feet out to decide whether or not they should move forward.” Man, this hit close to home.
    I have always been indecisive, even as a child I went back and forth with everything no matter how small it was. This year has been a huge one for decision making and choosing sides.

    For instance, my extended family has been striked by pain and anger so me and my mom, the only Christians in our family, tried to remain neutral. Suffice to say, it totally backfired. More recently, I felt that I needed to be honest with my cousin and speak the truth in love, but this provoked that my cousin and I are not speaking anymore, and she is like a sister to me. I was instantly overcome by regret, worried I had made the wrong decision.
    But I’ve come to a conclusion: all these decisions that we’ve been making have been to glorify God and protect my aunt who’s suffering from the aftermath of a stroke. If God, in his great scheme of things, is using us to protect my aunt and pursue her heart, it’s all worth it. All the pain, loss, and rejection.

    I appreciate if you could pray for me, my mum Sylvia, and our family. I’m also facing decisions about my move to England, and I need wisdom to make the right ones.

    1. Laine says:

      Praying for you in all of this.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Tochi, this is Abby from the SRT team. Thanks so much for sharing. We will definitely be praying for your family, and lifting you up in prayer as you make these difficult decisions. If you haven’t already, we would encourage you to seek out a spiritual leader or counselor in your community who you can speak to regarding these things. Praying for wisdom and community that can encourage you during this time! – Abby

      1. Tochi Heredia says:

        Thank you for the encouragement, Abby. I actually accepted to meet my pastor’s wife for coffee today :)

  7. Adrienne says:

    Asking for prayer for wise decisions. We have one grandchild that is 2 months old. We watch her two to four days a week. I am 70 with fibromyalgia and my husband is 72. He does most of the work around the house. Our granddaughter is going to a relatives house on my daughter in laws side on the days we aren’t caring for her. My heart is broken because it is an hour drive each way. Then she goes into a home with 5 children. Ages 4 months to 7 years old. I need to hear from God on what we should do. I can’t imagine taking care of 3 infants at a time.. Thank you for reading and praying. Sorry for writing so much. Love

    1. Tochi Heredia says:

      Prayerful over you, Adrienne. May the Lord bring clarity and provision for whatever decision you guys make.

      1. Adrienne says:

        Thank you

    2. Renee says:

      Praying for you

      1. Adrienne says:

        Thank you

    3. Karen From Virginia says:

      I’m praying. Heart breaking.

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