David is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Or perhaps he's running--fleeing for his life from the jealous wrath of King Saul. No doubt young David is scared, weary, confused, and discouraged. He and his rag-tag army of marginalized misfits are sneaking from cave to cave, constantly looking over their shoulders for signs of Saul's elite army on their tail.
At this pivotal moment in the life of David and in the story of Israel, who else shows up to encourage and comfort David but Jonathan, who happens to be both King Saul's son and David's beloved friend? Despite Jonathan's love for his father and his natural human ambitions to succeed his father as king, the prince perceives God's plans to prosper David's future.
Jonathan seeks out David in the desert caves and utters to his father's enemy these words of friendship and hope: "Don’t be afraid. My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this” (1 Samuel 23:17).
In a recent Bible class, Stan Smith distilled Jonathan's words of encouragement down to these three encouragement-inducing expressions:
Know anyone who's scared, weary, confused, or discouraged? Want to help them find strength in the Lord? These three simple statements might be the perfect place to start.