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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 20

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-42

  1. INTRO:
    1. Communion: (after 2 song)
      1. We are called to live sacramentally(sacred/holy) like broken-bread & poured-out wine
      2. Communion is a reminder that the blood which He shed for you takes you…
        1. Takes you within the veil.
        2. It takes you to the place of constant access to His presence.
        3. It takes you outside the camp to the place of consecrated availability for His plan.
          1. It speaks of our access forever by the blood into His presence; but also our availability, in the path of separation, for the plan & purpose of God to be fulfilled in each of our lives.
    2. Last week: We had David fleeing from Saul & God kicking out all the crutches he was leaning on, which left only God to lean on.
    3. This week: David finds Jonathan and tells him of Saul’s determination to kill him. Jonathan devises a plan to find out if this is true and warn David.
      1. Last chapter David was singing himself out of his problems by faith (Ps.59:16) But the mere fact that he rejoiced in God has not relieved the pressure at all - indeed, it seems to have intensified!
      2. He emotionally cries out to Jonathan...What have I done???
      3. Catch David’s mood/passion in this conversation.
      4. Even a man like David, under pressure, can come to a place where he doubts his friends & also doubts God. (Read 1-11)
    2. THE PROBLEM! (1–11)
    3. In spite of Jonathan’s attempts to reassure him, David is convinced that Saul is still trying to kill him.
    4. Are these symptoms found in your life today? - Have the pressures of some situation, some circumstance, some trial, brought you to doubt the promise of God, & the Word of God, & His purpose for your life?
      1. This is a natural progression that when a man begins to loosen his hold upon the promise of God, he begins to lose his contact with spiritual friends.
        1. A chill in our relationship with heaven is always followed by a chill in our relationships down here.
        2. It’s sheer pressure is absolutely overwhelming & throws us completely off balance, until we learn the lesson that God has for us right in the middle of it.
    5. (10) It’s in vs.10 that we realize, in David’s question, that Jonathan here showed greater faith in the promise of God, than did David at this point.
    6. THE PROMISE! (12–17)
    7. Jonathan promises to warn David about his father’s plans, and both men make a sacred vow to be loyal to each other, whatever the cost.
    8. (14,15) Jonathan turns it around, your going to make it, & I might not.
      1. So when you do, here’s what I want you to do... (what encouragement!)
    9. (14) ESV If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die.
      1. That steadfast love is the Royal Love talked about by Paul in 1 Cor.13:4-7 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
    10. This promise between the 2 of them, spared Mephibosheth his life (2 Sam.9).
    11. THE PLAN! (18–23) [show arrow]
    12. I’ll shoot arrows right next to you if all is OK...uh, oh ok! (That’s trusting a friend!)
      1. However, if they wing over your head, it is goodbye, until we meet in heaven!
    13. What a fateful moment! Just a matter of a few yards was going to decide David’s future.
      1. Either he would go back into Saul’s house, to the comfort of Jonathan’s friendship; Or, he’d have to go into exile as one cast upon the mercy of God, w/not a friend in the world to turn to!
      2. One of these ways was to be God’s path for David, the path that would lead him eventually to the throne of Israel. [there’s no doubt to David’s preference!]
        1. No doubt he would have chosen: Jonathan, Mical & his own home, his position reinstated in Saul’s house & army, living in royalty.
        2. That surely was preferred to the alternative: a life in exile, a fugitive, an IDP, living out in the ruggedness of unknown mountains, day after day, month after month, year after year.
          1. The decision, however, was out of David hands completely!
          2. He only got to stand by the stone of Ezel! And wait for an arrow from heaven unerringly to hit the target - an arrow that would tell him either to go out into the wilderness or back into the palace of Saul.
        3. We can call this the stone of David’s destiny! [lit. The stone of departure]
      3. In the margin interprets it “the stone that shapeth, or sheweth the way”.
        1. When you sit & wait at Ezel, you fully realize, the decision is not in your hands.
        2. Is this a lesson God is trying to teach you this morning?
      4. See, Jesus is our stone of destiny. 1 Pet.2:4 As you come to him(Jesus), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious.
        1. The burden of the pressure of circumstances, whatever it is, may be rolled away as you bring it & leave it at His feet!
        2. What else can you do? All you can do is what David did, as he took his stand at his stone of destiny & waited.
        3. But, it’s actually a great thing to be in a position like that, when all you can do is to take your stand at Calvary, & wait!
          1. There are so many paths, & naturally some far-more-attractive than others
          2. Left to chose our way, what fools we would make of ourselves.
          3. There is only one way that leads to the throne, & that is God’s plan for your life & mine.
        4. Therefore, “stand still & see the salvation of God.” Wait! The decision is beyond you; the battle is not yours but God’s; let Him decide. [hide in His wounded side!]
    15. DAVID’S ABSENCE & SAUL’S ANGER! (24–34)
    16. At the new moon festival Saul notices that David is not present at the meal. Jonathan makes up the excuse that David has gone to Bethlehem to take part in a family sacrifice.
    17. (30) These words describe his son as the lowest of lows! [had to sting!]
      1. He was saying, “your not my son at all”, for my son wouldn’t betray me like this. Therefore Jonathan you’re slandering your own mother & saying she was a common prostitute. “Your not my son. You must be illegitimate!”
    18. (33) David & Jonathan lied to Saul, & it almost cost Jonathan his life!
      1. It has been well said, “Faith is, living without scheming.”
      2. In the midst of the trials of life, we must beware lest we become weary, stop trusting, & start scheming.
        1. And right now you can judge David, or perhaps you’ve schemed your way out of a situation before?
    19. A furious Saul not only states his intention to kill David but actually attempts to murder Jonathan for befriending him!
    20. (34) Wow, grieved for David?...not grieved that your dad just chucked a spear at your head & called you “a son of a perverse, rebellious woman!
    21. Well, Jonathan is pretty convinced now. And so with heavy heart he takes his lad with him & went outside to shoot the arrows.
    22. JONATHAN’S ARROWS! (35–42)
    23. In accordance with their plan, Jonathan shoots some arrows to warn David. So David meets with Jonathan 1 final time to affirm his loyalty & say good-bye before he leaves.
    24. The arrows weren’t from Jonathan’s hand alone, for he was but the instrument.
      1. The arrows went beyond David to say, “Goodbye, till we meet in glory.” “Is not the arrow behind you?” shouted Jonathan.
      2. Picture David now, crouched behind the rock of Ezelwaitinganticipating… his destiny hanging in the balance.
        1. We watch on in slow motion. David tensely watches its flight as it arches over him, landing behind him. :(
        2. What was his feelings? What was the message to his heart? He knew it meant the Lord was sending him away. It wasn’t left to chance, this was the will of God. In fact, this arrow was shot by the very hand of God, & behind its flight was the loving purpose of God for his harassed child.
          1. If David dared to linger now, after this word from heaven, he’d lose his life, the crown, & everything God had for him.
          2. David’s life was being emptied from vessel to vessel, like wine, in order to preserve its freshness & keep it away from going musty.
            1. Every crutch/prop taken away; now he must stand alone!
          3. Before him lay the rugged mountains & dark valleys, w/no promise of relief from the pressure.
          4. Behind him was the comfort of friendship, of human love, of home, any restoration of honor.
            1. Now, nothing - but God!!!
      3. Certainly the hardest thing of all was to lose the crutch of Jonathan’s love.
        1. They met only once more(23:16) before Jonathan died.
        2. Here 2 friends cut asunder in the sovereignty of God!
        3. As his UCLA football team suffered through a poor season in the early 1970s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad, he remembers with a smile, that friends became hard to find. “My dog was my only true friend,” Rodgers says of that year. “I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends - and she bought me another dog.”
    25. Let these arrows wing over your head this morning:
      1. Lk.9:23 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
      2. Mt.10:37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
      3. Lk.14:33 Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
    26. End: The message of the arrow beyond you is not primarily geographical, it is spiritual!
      1. We are called to live sacramentally like broken bread & poured-out wine.
        1. Let God empty you out that He may save you from becoming spiritually stale & lead you ever onward!
        2. He’s always calling us to pass beyond the thing we know into the unknown.
        3. Remember, A throne is God’s purpose for you; A cross is God’s path for you; Faith is God’s plan for you. (Alan Redpath; The Making of a Man of God)
      2. I said during communion that Jesus’ blood takes you…
        1. Takes you within the veil.
        2. It takes you to the place of constant access to His presence. But also like David…
        3. It takes you outside the camp to the place of consecrated availability for His plan.
          1. It speaks of our access forever by the blood into His presence; But also our availability, in the path of separation; For the plan & purpose of God, to be fulfilled in each of our lives.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 20". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-samuel-20.html. 2017.
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