March 24

1 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 83

Chapters 18-20 of 1 Samuel contain such a beautiful example of love. We had another beautiful example of this type of love in the last book, Ruth, between Ruth and Naomi. No one has modeled true love better than Jesus in the Gospels. We completed a study in 1 John both in our Discipleship Home Groups as well as in our weekend services. In the greek, there are four words to describe love: storge, eros, philia, and agape. The type of love emulated by Jesus and by Jonathon and David in these chapters is agape love. Agape love is the strongest word for love, rarely used outside the Bible. This love is not based on the merit of the object. It is to hold one in the highest regard, a consuming passion for the well being of the other, desires only the good of the one loved. It is an unconditional love on the object whether or not the one being loved is unlovable, unworthy, or unresponsive. So much of the love which surrounds us in this world is the opposite of this. It is conditional, it seeks something in return, it is not pure.

Realize from a practical standpoint, these two men should have been enemies. Both stood in the way of the other ascending to the throne as next king of Israel. We read in 1 Samuel 16:12-13, that God through Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel. But from the standpoint of Saul, the throne would be passed on to his eldest son, Jonathon. We read in 1 Samuel 20:30-31, “Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathon, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” Back in 1 Samuel 18:1, we read of the agape love between Jonathon and David, “Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathon was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathon loved him as his own soul.” Some seem uncomfortable with this openness of love and the free expression of it. In 1 John 3:11, John says, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love (agape) one another”.

After the study in 1 John, along with passages like this, if I am honest with myself it convicts me. If this type and level of love was truly being lived out by us believers in Christ, and the Church at large, we would see so much more power in our midst. May we all pray to agape love others, as Jonathon and David did, and as Jesus emulated and commanded.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato