1 Samuel 18:4
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow…
He loved him as his own soul (ver. 3). Human friendship is a shadow of Divine. The greatest and best Friend is God in Christ Jesus. Happy is every one who can say from the heart, "This is my beloved, and this is my friend" (Song of Solomon 5:16). Consider -
I. ITS CONDITIONS, on the part of man.
1. Rationality: capacity of thought, voluntary choice, moral esteem. "Amidst the ashes of our collapsed nature there slumber certain sparks of celestial fire" (Owen).
2. Reconciliation; inasmuch as man is alienated from God, and under condemnation.
3. Renewal in righteousness and true holiness, so that we may be "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). "Friendship is a union of souls, and souls can be united only where there is more or less accord" (Amos 3:3).
II. ITS CHARACTERISTICS, on the part of the Lord. All his perfections render it in every respect transcendently excellent. But notice more particularly -
1. Its disinterestedness. "He first loved us," with a pure, free, condescending, self-sacrificing love. "Greater love hath no man," etc. (John 15:13).
2. Its faithfulness.
3. Its constancy. "The love of friends of this world is defective in three respects - they begin to love late, cease early, love little. But the love of God is an unequalled love. He loves us without beginning, without intermission, and without end" (Nouet).
III. ITS BENEFITS, or the blessings enjoyed by those who have fellowship with him.
1. Counsel, warning, rebuke. Reproofs are "the graver looks of love."
2. Defence, support, and effectual help.
3. Sympathy, encouragement, and everlasting consolation. "And now," said Jonathan Edwards, on his death bed, turning from his earthly friends toward the approaching darkness, "where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never failing Friend?"
IV. ITS CLAIMS, or the duties of those who enjoy such benefits and desire their continuance.
1. To cherish proper feelings toward him - confidence, affection, and delight in intercourse with him.
2. To do those things that please him. "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you."
3. Not to be ashamed of him, but to confess his name before men; to love and serve his friends for his sake, and to seek in all things his honour and glory. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.