Tuesday, July 15, 2014

David and Jonathan

1 Samuel 18:1-4: "And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle."

The point, as I've always been told, is that David loved Jonathan and Jonathan loved David, because they were both manly men. And that's good. Men need to love each other more. Men need to bond into deep relationships with other men.
...Thank you focus on the family, for always giving me the wrong answer.

I visited a friend in Phoenix this last week, and at last, after many years, I believe I understand this section of Scripture. First let me say that if it didn't use the word love I would hesitate to myself, because it's so different than the eros of a marriage, or even the philo of a friend or brother. It's something beyond both that that finds itself in the service of God. It's a helpful clarity for agape, although it's something more specific than that. There are, I think, two things that makes it special, three which makes it unique.
1) David and Jonathan saw that the other was completely, 100%, souled out for God. They had given themselves fully and without hesitation, body, soul, mind, to Him.
2) Both had similar experiences in trusting God for combat. Both Israelites, both about the same age.
3) Both saw that the blessing and favor of God was upon the other.

As I have thought about my own case I decided a confluence of these three things contributed to it. A similar religious history in the churches of Christ, at a similar age and stage of life in having a number of young kids, a similarly named wife, similar enjoyments like chess, reading, running, martial arts, a similarly good mind. The secondary areas of life match fairly closely, but the key piece was seeing the similar all encompassing burning passion for doctrine, and hearing the work that goes on at the church he has been called to pastor which validates it. I thought, 'this man has given himself totally to God without hesitation. I admire, rejoice in, and would see more.'
For that I see in him what I perhaps could have been, had God called me to being a pastor. There is something in seeing yourself with different eyes that causes joy to jump over the barriers and knock you to the ground. The result of which is when you spend time with them it goes too fast, and you come away greatly encouraged. It's not a jealous feeling, nor a brilliant one, nor a bright feeling, but rather feels more like a deep, swift, clear, straight river. It's not physical, touching, or sweet like a marriage can be. It's a little like going into battle and having your life in their hands, but it's more reflective, more focused than that. It's combat but at the same time like you're going on the jungle boat tour at Disneyland while big band music plays. It's not that you overlook their faults, which you immediately offer advice for, and it's not that you're polite and acquiesce to their propositions, no, you're still abusive in humor, still fully yourself, it's just that you are compelled to rejoice at seeing or considering them. Friend is too crude a word, and brother isn't specific enough. Knit-Soul is an odd an expression for the feeling, but it so unique that I suppose it gets closer than anything else. I feel it now. I wish I could describe it.

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