11th February 2016

Friendship is a Sheltering Tree

“Jesus said to the disciples, “you are my friends, if you do what I command you.’”
John 15:14 (ESV)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a poet who lived from 1772-1834. A few years before his death he wrote a poem called “Youth and Age”, in which he reflects on his life and underlines three things he found to be very special—he wrote:
“Flowers are lovely; Love is flowerlike; Friendship is a sheltering tree;
Oh, the joys that came down shower-like; Of Friendship, Love and Liberty,
Ere I was old.”

David and Jonathan in the Bible were firm friends.  This is one of the great friendships mentioned in scripture and one from which we can learn a very special lesson. If we look closely at the final meeting between these two friends we will find that David, although he had been anointed King of Israel by Samuel, was being hounded every day by King Saul, who was out to kill him! At this point in time David and his men were probably half starved, tired of running, not knowing where to go next. And just when he needed him most, his friend Jonathon arrived to cheer and comfort him; to allow David to rest for a short time under the sheltering tree of their friendship; to be refreshed, encouraged and comforted (1 Samuel 23:14-18).

Jonathon came to David in a time of need at great risk to his own life, showing courage and utter loyalty to that bond of friendship; and this act revived and strengthened the courage of David, the fugitive. Verse 16 tells us how he did that—he didn’t bring fifty extra swords, spears and slingshots to add to David’s arsenal—no, this verse says he came to David and “strengthened his hand in God!” (Italics mine). He strengthened him with the promises of God—promises of God’s interest in him and plans for him as King of Israel.  This was the last time he saw Jonathon alive!

Friendship cries out in a very loud voice—“You are not alone, I’m always here for you!” These were also the words of Jesus.  Before his ascension, Jesus said to the disciples, his friends in Matthew 28:20 (Weymouth), “And remember, I am with you always, Day by Day, until the Close of the Age.” In my own words, he told them to “Never forget, I will always be there for you guys until the new age dawns!”  And this was the last time they saw Jesus during their physical lives!

Such special encouraging words for them and us too—don’t you think?

Thank you, Lord, for your constant presence in our lives; for the fact that you always know where we are and what we are doing; and that you place your hand of blessing on our heads.

Study by Cliff Neill


cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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