Apr 14 (Daily reading: 1 Samuel 21-24) Today’s commentary is adapted from my book, “We Love Because God First Loved Us,” pages 100-101. We see the importance of encouragement in the friendship of David and Jonathan. David was discouraged after he had been anointed to be king. As years went by, Saul was still king and he wanted to kill David. Once David was hiding from Saul in the wilderness. “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God” (1 Sam. 23:16). Jonathan was the normal successor to the throne. He had a vested interest in David’s defeat, but he reassured David and confirmed that David would be the next king.
Jonathan’s encouragement was from God! The NIV says that Jonathan “helped him find strength in God.” One French translation says that he “strengthened his confidence in God.” When our encouragement of one another comes from God, it will strengthen, or build up one another. It may not always be easy, or make sense, to encourage someone, such as in Jonathan’s case. To encourage David meant giving away his right to be king!
One example of when encouragement may be difficult is found in the reciprocal principle: “But encourage one another every day…so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). When a fellow-believer reaps the consequences of sin in their life, we might think that they are getting what they deserve. But the one who committed the sin will need encouragement as they seek forgiveness and fellowship with fellow believers. We need to remember the expression, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” James wrote: “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (Ja. 5:16). Encouraging one another and praying for one another is always the right thing to do.
– Al Gary