An Oath of Friendship


In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. I Samuel 20:35-42 ESV

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV


When a new person becomes the President of the United States, he or she takes the oath of office. The new president swears that “I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Whatever the president does, whatever laws he or she signs, whatever decisions he or she makes, this oath must be kept in mind. Everything must be done in a way that is faithful to that oath.

David and Jonathan took an oath of friendship. They swore to each other that they would always be friends and help and protect each other. They also promised that their children, and the children after them, would remember this promise. Whatever they did in their lives, whatever choices they made or battles they fought, they swore that they would never do anything that would be unfaithful to their friendship. This was their comfort when Saul’s anger made it dangerous for David to stay in the king’s court. He had to run for his life, and David and Jonathan knew they might not see each other for a long time; maybe never. But they promised never to forget their friendship.

People take oaths and make promises, and sometimes they are unfaithful to them. When people get married they promise to love each other for the rest of their lives, but sometimes they break that promise. Occasionally a President of the United States is unfaithful to the oath of office. David and Jonathan could not know if their children and grandchildren after them would be faithful to each other. There’s only one person we can trust to always keep his promises, and that’s God. He promised to bring his people back to him by sending the promised Savior, and in Jesus he kept that promise. We have the promise of life forever with God, and we never have to doubt that God will keep his oath to us.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of eternal life that Jesus won for us on the cross. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.