Allegiance to Whom?

Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 1 Samuel 18:1

To disobey the king’s command was treason. To betray his best friend was unthinkable. What would Jonathan do?  His father, King Saul, had told Jonathan and all his attendants to kill David, who Saul considered his most dangerous enemy (1 Samuel 18:8, 19:1). Jonathan, however, loved David and knew that David was God’s chosen heir to King Saul’s throne. Was it possible to remain loyal to both men and to God in such an unwinnable situation?

Jonathan balanced the seesaw of his relationship with both men because he remained focused on God’s sovereignty. He set aside his personal feelings and ambitions and aligned himself with God’s plans no matter how much pain it brought him. He honored his father’s position as king even after he lost all respect for him. He also resisted the temptation to abandon his obligations as a prince of Israel and as a general in the army even though his heart may have yearned to follow David into exile.

Jonathan’s submission to God in both these matters stuns me. Of course he didn’t know that he wouldn’t live long enough to be a co-regent with David as they planned (1 Samuel 23:17). But he did fully embrace that God was in charge of his circumstances. Throughout this ordeal, he deferred to God’s will rather than to his own desires. Even as his heart was breaking, he assured his friend, “Go in peace, David—God is with us. He’s still in control. Rest in that fact” (1 Samuel 20:32, paraphrase).

Sometimes we face situations like Jonathan’s –serving a leader we don’t respect, parting from someone we cherish, and/or submitting to God’s plans when they conflict with our dreams. How do we maintain our spiritual balance in these circumstances? We do what Jonathan did. We focus on God’s absolute sovereignty and inherent goodness. And we walk by the light of those truths hour by hour.


To understand why God had rejected King Saul and chosen David read 1 Samuel 15. What did Saul consider important? What did God consider important?

Take note of each time Jonathan refers to the LORD in 1 Samuel 20. What is his attitude toward God and God’s will?

To learn more about Jonathan’s character, read 1 Samuel 14:1-13. How does he demonstrate his allegiance to God in this situation?

How do we show our allegiance to God? Consider Peter’s words in 1 Peter 4:7-11, written to first century Christians who also faced difficult times.

 Denise K. Loock

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