The Model Friendship

by Dr. Bob Gray Sr. | March 2019

Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Deuteronomy 13:6-8, “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;”

“Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;”


“Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:”

In the middle of these relationships of brother, son, daughter, and wife is a relationship of a friend. “Thy friend, which is as thine own soul…” The same phrase is used in I Samuel 18:1 where it says, “Loved him as his own soul” and also in verse 3.

Did it ever dawn on you that you had no choice that your mother, father, brother, or sister would be? The only close divine given relationship that one could have that one chooses for him or her self independent of any one else is a friend.

In Deuteronomy 13:6 there is listed mother, daughter, son, brother, and friend that is as thine own soul. You have no choice about who your mother, father, brother, or sister are! The truth is you could not even choose your wife or husband because they would have to agree! You did not place an order for your child! You dead sure didn’t choose your mother-in-law! Ha! The friend is the only relationship place right up there beside mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or sister.

There are many things mentioned in the Bible about friends, what a friend is supposed to be, to do, and how friendship is supposed to be!

God always gives us an example in Scripture. The Bible teaches us we are saved from a Devil’s Hell by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We have the example of the Philippian jailor who asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!” The result was the jailor and his entire family were saved!

Along with the truth that God teaches in the Bible He gives us examples of that truth. The great example of the Bible truth of friendship is the relationship between Jonathan and David.

I Samuel 14:49, “Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:”

Saul was the king and Jonathan was the eldest son of the king. Jonathan being the oldest was heir to his father’s throne.

Jonathan was the heir apparent for the throne of Israel
Jonathan was a great general of the army

Jonathan was to become the next king. He was a fighter and a courageous leader of the army. The first thing that is required to be a friend is character! You do not qualify to be a friend if you do not posses character.

Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 27:14, “He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”


“Friendly” is not “How are you today” rather it is being “knitted together.” He “must shew himself” and that takes character. You cannot have a friend until you “are” a friend and you cannot be a friend until you posses character! You cannot be a friend until you take your mind off of yourself and place it on others and that takes character.

When every one loves your friend that is the easy time but let the heat be put on your friend and it will soon become a curse to you and it will take character to remain his friend! No one can be a friend until one thinks about others and one cannot be a friend until you are a friend and you cannot be either without character.

We have elected in the past two presidents because we said to ourselves character is not an issue and we will pay for it as a nation. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama possessed little discipline. One in the moral arena and the other in the lack of common sense plus in the financial malfeasance arena!

Character is demonstrated in rising on time, working hard, paying your bills on time, reading the Bible daily, praying daily, being dependable, and living a holy life. In case you desire to be a friend you must develop character because it will take character for you to do for others without expecting anything in return.

The road to character development has to be with one putting his flesh in subjection to the Holy Spirit of God that indwells every believer. This is the only way you can put others first!

When the Scripture in I Samuel 18:1 says, “The soul of Jonathan was knit to David” it does not say David knit his soul to Jonathan. It does not say that Jonathan knit his soul to David. It does say the soul of Jonathan was knit to David. The word “knit” can be defined as they “grew together as one entity.” Two bodies in one soul! Only God could do such a thing! Real friendship is God’s work not man’s work! It is given to those who possess character!

There is not one place in the Scriptures that tells us that David loved Jonathan but several times the Bible says Jonathan loved David. It simply means it was probably a one sided friendship! There was a covenant between them that had to do with David’s life being spared! It means that one can be a friend to any one you desire to be a friend too! You do not say to someone, “I’ll be your friend if you’ll be mine?” You do not quit being someone’s friend and that takes character.

Jonathan was a friend to David. Jonathan loved David as he loved his own soul. Jonathan was a friend to David and it was one sided. David was a friend to King Saul and it was also one sided. You cannot make friends, but you can be a friend.

Jonathan was heir to the throne
Jonathan was a great general
Jonathan was a man of character

I Samuel 20:17, “And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”

II Samuel 1:26, “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”


Friendship can be one sided! If one would quit attempting to make friends and start being a friend then God will reward with friendships. Friendship is totally void of seeking anything in return.

Jonathan was heir to the throne
Jonathan was a great general
Jonathan was a man of character
Jonathan’s friendship to David was one sided
Jonathan’s friendship to David was total unselfishness

Jonathan made it clear to David that he ought to be king instead of himself. Jonathan unselfishly gave up his right to the throne to his friend David. There is not such thing as one demanding anything of a friend. Someone says, “If you were my friend you would…” He is not a friend! If you say to someone “We’re not friends anymore” then you were a fake friend.

Jonathan gave up the throne, crown, scepter, and power to his friend David.

I Samuel 20:4, “Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.”

How about testing your friendship? Is there any one in the world that you would do anything for if they needed it? I mean if they hated your intestines? Then you are not a friend! Jonathan turned his back on his own crown, scepter, and throne for David. Friendship is total unselfishness!

I preached with Dr. Jack Hyles for 22 years at least once a month. The last 11 years of his life it was almost weekly. I was Dr. Hyles friend but I never wondered if he was my friend. I was his friend but I never asked myself if he was my friend. It is not my job to make friends it is my job to be a friend. I cannot control what you do but I can control what I do!

There is only one that you can be sure of who is your friend and that is Jesus the Son of God. Please do not misunderstand I have confidence in others’ friendship. However, I am not in the business of looking for friends rather I am in the business of being a friend.

Jonathan said to David here is my robe, my bow, my sword, my throne, and my kingdom.

I Samuel 23:14-18, “And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.”

“And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.”

“And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”


“And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.”

“And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.”


It looked bad for David but Jonathan was a friend to David regardless.

Jonathan was heir to throne of King Saul
Jonathan was a great general
Jonathan was a man of great character
Jonathan’s friendship to David was one sided
Jonathan’s friendship to David was total unselfishness
Real friendship is instinctive

Jonathan did not waver! He did not say I cannot take sides! Character is when you subconsciously do right and is instinctive. Jonathan’s soul was knit to David and it became one soul in two bodies. Friendship does not need to be returned in order to be real friendship. Friendship is total unselfishness!

I Samuel 23:17, “And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.”

Jonathan was heir to the throne
Jonathan was a great general
Jonathan was a man of great character
Jonathan’s friendship to David was one sided
Jonathan’s friendship to David was total unselfishness
Real friendship is instinctive
Real friendship is closer than blood

The closet relationship is friendship not kingship! One has to work harder at having friendship in marriage because of selfishness.

Loyalty to a person who perverts truth is in reality disloyalty. King Saul perverted truth and thus Jonathan was being loyal to truth that found its embodiment in David. It takes character to look beyond the man to the truth he embodies and to stay with truth regardless of the attacks it brings with it.

Friendship does not require being together

I Samuel 23:18, “And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.”

This is the last time David and Jonathan saw each other. The truth is they were rarely together and the total years of crossing paths were only 6 years.

Jonathan made David a better Christian

I Samuel 23:16, “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”

Note the phrase “strengthened his hand in God.” Does that boy friend you are dating make you a better Christian? How about the girl friend you are dating? Again, friendship is the greatest and deepest of all relationships. Are you reading your Bible less since you these people entered into your world? How is your soul winning? How is your prayer life?

The model friendship is a God given friendship that is bathed in unselfishness! If you want a friend then you cannot be a friend and will not have a friend!

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