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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 451-500 (The Word - Wedges)

F.E. Marsh :: 489. What Love Does, as Illustrated in David and Jonathan

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I. SAMUEL 20:32-42

DAVID’S confession about Jonathan’s love for him, was that it “was wonderful” (1 Samuel 1:26). In Jonathan’s regard for David we have illustrated the attitude and action of love.

  1. Question of Love. Jonathan knew that all the hate that was burning in the mind of his father Saul against David, was born of jealousy, so he dares to ask the question, “What hath he done” (1 Samuel 20:32). Love will often make us bold, when under ordinary circumstances we should be timid. It was love to Christ that made Mary “early” at the sepulchre (John 20:1), and that prompted John to run with fleetness of foot, and get to the tomb “first” (John 20:4).
  2. Discernment of Love (1 Samuel 20:33). Saul’s casting the javelin at Jonathan, led Jonathan to see what he would do to David the first opportunity that occurred, yea, what he had intended to do. Love can see farther than reason. Love has long sight and insight. Love is not deceived by appearances, nor gulled by probabilities. Love is a thermometer that ascertains the temperature of things.
  3. Grief of Love (1 Samuel 20:34). Jonathan is greatly grieved at the attitude of Saul towards David. The hatred of Saul to David cuts like a knife into the heart of Jonathan, and causes it to bleed with anguish for his friend. Love is always concerned for the object it loves. It was the love which Paul had to Christ and to Christ’s, that prompted him to labour (1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8), yea, that made him willing to be accursed, if others might be saved (Romans 9:3).
  4. Punctuality of Love. At the appointed time Jonathan goes to apprise David of the state of matters (1 Samuel 20:35). Love is never late with its engagements. In the “fulness of the time” Christ was born (Galatians 4:4). When “the hour was come” to keep the Passover, “He sat down” (Luke 22:14); and when the hour of His death arrived, He gave Himself up to be led to the death of the cross (John 17:1). Believers should be equally observant in doing what the Lord enjoins on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2), and in the assembling together for prayer (Heb. 10:25). This we shall do, and do constantly (Acts 2:42), and well, if we truly love Christ.
  5. Arrangement of Love (1 Samuel 20:36-40). Jonathan had previously arranged with David about the signals which should indicate Saul’s feeling towards him, and these would show him whether he should return home or go away (1 Samuel 20:19-23). The lad who was with Jonathan and playing a part, little thought that he was a sign in his actions to the hidden David. What appears to be an ordinary event to a man of the world, is often an extraordinary event to the man who loves God (Romans 8:28). The cross of Christ to the mob seemed to hold an impostor, but the event of all events was being carried out there (Acts 2:23), and the arrangement that had long since been come to, was being fulfilled (1 Peter 1:20).
  6. Fellowship of Love (1 Samuel 20:41). How significant are the words, “Wept one with another,” Kindred hearts are beating in mutual sympathy. What a type we have here! Our divine Jonathan sympathizes with us in all our trials and afflictions, for He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15), and what He feels for us, we should feel for Him, in loving our brethren (1 John 3:14-18) as He has bid us (John 13:34).
  7. Benediction of Love (1 Samuel 20:42). “Go in peace,” is Jonathan’s benediction upon David. How these words remind us of the words of our Divine Jonathan, when He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). When we have His blessing of peace, it calms the storm of temptation and the wind of trouble, and causes a great calm in the heart, and sweet stillness in the soul (Luke 8:24).

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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