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1 Samuel 23:17-18 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.
Our text is the last recorded meeting between David and Jonathan. In this meeting they make a covenant that when David becomes king, Jonathan will rule with him as second in command. Knowing well that Jonathan loves and is devoted to David we notice that Jonathan returns to abide with his ungodly father in his house. That strikes me as oddly. It seems to me Jonathan's love and devotion may not have been as strong as it should have been! He chose not to identify with David in his rejection and persecutions from Saul as fully as he should. He went back home! It almost seems Jonathan was positioned to have the best of both worlds! That is, he could live in the palace as long as Saul was king, and then when David became king he was positioned to be second in command!
I wonder if many of God's people are not guilty of the same. They are good people, truly love the Lord, and are devoted to Him to some degree. They acknowledge Him to be the future King and want to be part of His work, but they are abiding in the house of the ungodly, putting others ahead of Jesus. They refuse to go on with Him, by identifying with His sufferings and rejection, and really are enjoying the best of both worlds! The sad fact of the matter is Jonathan was never privileged to reign with King David, rather he, although fighting the enemy of God, became a casualty before David became king. I just wonder how different things might have been had Jonathan stayed with David instead of returning to his house?
Although the verse has application to the millennial reign of Christ, II Timothy 2.12 keeps coming to my mind.
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Thoughts for Consideration:
1. To be spiritually successful we must put the Lord ahead of all earthly relationships. When we do He will see that those godly responsibilities we have to our loved ones will be met.
2. You can never forward the cause of God effectively by wilfully abiding in the house of the wicked.
Note: There are instances in the Word of God where men have been forced to dwell in the house of the ungodly due to captivity, and have been used by God in that setting, but this is much different than willingly choosing to do so.
3. Separation is essential in protecting yourself from becoming a spiritual casualty
4. You cannot enjoy the benefits of both worlds. you cannot enjoy the luxury of King Saul's palace, and reign with King David in his kingdom!