** And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. ** 1 Samuel 23:16
A few days ago, we talked about renewing our strength through the truth and comfort of God’s Word. We also talked about the transformation that the Lord is constantly working in each of us through our trials and how this process strengthens us over time, even though the process itself may make us feel weaker for a season.
Continuing with the different ways the Lord strengthens us in moments of weakness, 1 Samuel tells us that…
** And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. **
Jonathan didn’t need to strengthen David physically. He was already a mighty warrior. But David did need encouragement because he feared for his life by the hand of King Saul. It was Jonathan’s words of loyalty and friendship that helped David to continue to trust the Lord with his problems.
We understand that God’s Word can strengthen us in times of trouble or despair, but we can also speak strength and hope into others’ lives in another way.
With our own words.
We can speak positive and strengthening words that are not exact quotes from God by just being sensitive to someone else’s pain, just like Jonathan did for David. Just because our words are not chapter and verse from the Bible doesn’t mean they don’t have value. If God lives in us, and Jesus is God, i.e. the Living Word, then the things we say can be words from God’s heart as well.
IF they are offered with prayer and sensitivity. If they are words of edification and concern.
Jonathan didn’t quote a verse from the book of Numbers or Exodus, but he did remind David of God’s calling in his life to be king and he let David know that he was in full support of him even though the throne was his own to take. Jonathan gave David words of hope to help him go just one more day and help him to make a plan to face the days ahead. They were words of friendship, loyalty and kindness. All things that the Lord approves of.
You and I can do that for someone at any time. We can strengthen them by being a true friend of encouragement. We can help them to see the gifts that the Lord has given them. We can remind them of how the Lord has used them in the lives of others and our own. We can remind them of how far they have come since the Lord began His perfect work in them.
If they are not a child of God, we can still speak value and comfort into their lives by helping them to see the positive things that they have in their lives. We can help them to find something to be thankful for. We can share what the Lord has done for us and help them to see that the Lord wants them to have a similar story.
I think we can also see that Jonathan was proactively involved in David’s life and trials. 1 Samuel tells us that **Jonathan arose**. He got up, he went to David and he was hands on helping David to deal with his problem.
Compassion is love in action. It is putting feet to our thoughts. We are ‘moved’ with compassion. That is the story of Jonathan and David. Jonathan physically moved to help David. Yes, he used his words, but he also stepped in and found a tangible way to help. He was present in his friend’s pain.
If we are feeling weak and in need of strength, we can turn to God’s Word for help. We can also turn to a good friend and ask the Lord to speak through them.
Or we can be that friend that moves and speaks to strengthen others.
We will all have our turn at both. We will need to be strengthened on our dark days and we will be called upon to strengthen others on theirs.
If you need help today, let someone know and ask the Lord to help them encourage you.
If you are in a place of strength and faith, ask the Lord to help you to reach out to someone for Him and to give you the words, the wisdom and the energy to help.
Whether you are the Weak or the Strong, The Lord will answer both prayers and continue to perfect His transforming work in both of you.