David’s deepest friendship seems to have been with Jonathan. “So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, ‘May the Lord destroy all your enemies!’ And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself” (1 Samuel 20:16-17 NLT).
David and Jonathan’s relationship is a great example of friendship. While the text doesn’t tell us if David loved Jonathan, this may simply have been because Jonathan was in a position of authority as Saul’s son. It was also likely that he was much older than David.
Throughout David’s life, we see other examples of his ability to build relationships. He managed to draw a troop of fighting men together when he was on the run from Saul. “Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men” (1 Samuel 22:2).
These men became amazingly loyal to David, even risking their lives for him. David also built a relationship with Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, following his father’s death. There were other times too when David showed kindness, even to his enemies.
It reminds us of God’s kindness towards us. “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4).
God wants to draw us to himself through his unmerited kindness and his persistent patience. We see God’s kindness in Jesus, we see it through the stories Jesus told about his father, like the story of the Prodigal Son.
Such kindness sometimes causes us to pull back and ask, what does God really want, thinking he must have an ulterior motive. Or we might wonder what we have to do to keep receiving his kindness. It’s God’s nature to be kind. He’s kind to us simply because it’s part of his character. He always desires what is best for us, even though that may not always be what we think is best.
God’s kindness is a source of healing for our souls. It’s undeserved and unexpected. If God shows us kindness, it must mean we are people worth showing kindness to. God’s kindness honours us and ought to delight us. When we receive God’s kindness it softens our heart and brings us joy.