Lesson 23 is focused on friendship and “how to avoid being consumed by jealousy and hatred, as Saul was”.
The Church finished up looking at 1st Samuel this week and in doing so totally missed what the real message is in this very important part of the Bible. Covenants.
Melissa touched on this topic a few weeks ago in the LDS Sunday school lessons and once again the Church is missing the mark. The friendship we read about in this passage is more about different types of covenants than anything else. The covenant that Jonathan and David took between them was a very important sign of God’s loyalty to us and the importance of what it means when we take the name of Christ upon us. We’ve identified ourselves with Him because of the blood He shed on our behalf.
To date this is the shallowest lesson in the series thus far. The lesson encourages grown adults to ask themselves why and how they choose friends and why it’s important not to be jealous of other people in your friend’s life. Of course they’re referring to how King Saul became jealous of David who would one day become King of Israel. It sounded more like this lesson was written for a kindergarten class than a room full of adults.
What they should have focused on is the word covenant and what it means for you and me as children of the Most High!
The Hebrew word for covenants is beriyth which means a compact made by passing between pieces of flesh or cutting. An animal was cut in two and the parties in the covenant would pass between the animal that had been cut in two to signify they were both sealed in the promise of the shed blood.
When people in biblical times took out covenants with each other it’s referred to as “cut a covenant”. In the case of Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 20:8 the Lord was their witness and guarantee. The promise or covenant they shared between them was that no matter what happened in life, the other person always had your back and this also included every single member of your family as well.
Because of Saul’s jealousy over David the covenant between Saul’s son Jonathan and his best friend David was of great import. Jonathan warned David on numerous occasions when his father had plotted to kill David. He always provided safety to him and protected him with his life.
David and Jonathan’s covenant gives us a beautiful picture of the lengths God goes to and has gone to for us as His precious children in giving His Son as a ransom to provide us redemption and eternal life with Him.
1 Samuel 18:1-4 tells us that Jonathan and David made a covenant with each other and after Jonathan heard David speak his heart became one with David’s. He loved David as he loved himself. In Hebrew the word love is ahab – Strong’s 157. We see this word used in Hosea 11:1 when it says God loved Israel and in Deuteronomy 6:5 when God instructs the Israelites to love Him with all your heart.
They exchanged clothing.
Jonathan took off his robe, his belt, his sword and girdle and David put them on himself. This was done to signify to everyone that when they saw David in the clothing of Jonathan who was the son of the King Saul they would see that David was a child of the king. It’s a foreshadowing of what God would do for us as His children.
When we become Christians we’re seen as a child of God. We’re dressed in the righteousness and robes of Jesus. When God looks upon us He sees us with His Son’s shed blood upon us and declares us righteous.
This is one of the most significant stories in the entire Bible and the Mormon Church has reduced it to a sharing time experience for a classroom of small children.
I want to be sure to mention that this lesson did point out a few of the significant passages but they were laden with questions and admonitions to not be jealous of others and to choose your friends wisely. This has absolutely nothing to do with what 1st Samuel is talking about.
We’re praying the Mormon people will want to dig a lot deeper than what they were presented with in this lesson!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18