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4. David & Jonathan (1 Samuel 18-20)

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Main Point: God will always be with those who trust in Him.

Key Verse: The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He'll never desert you. So don't be afraid. Don't lose hope. - Deuteronomy 31:8

Props: Three pieces of thick yarn or rope, about 18 inches long (three different colors, if possible); Pillows, a wig (or scrap of “fur” fabric), clothes or a blanket


Say: We learned the story of how David struck down the huge Philistine warrior named Goliath. David didn’t wear physical armor made of metal. Instead he wore the armor of God, trusting that the battle belonged to the Lord. Ask: Who can remember the name of the King of Israel at that time? Saul. Say: Saul was still the King, though God had privately promised that David would one day be the King. Saul did not know that God made this promise about David. Ask: Who can tell me why Saul didn’t fight Goliath himself? He was afraid. Say: Even though Saul was the biggest Israelite, Goliath was still bigger than him, and he was afraid just like all the other soldiers were.

Good Friends And A Jealous King (1 Samuel 18)

Say: After the battle with Goliath, Saul decided to keep David in his service full-time. David became very close friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. The Bible says they became one in spirit. Teacher: Show your three pieces of yarn. Say: In this friendship, there were really three people. There was David, Jonathan, and the Lord. Tie the pieces together with a knot at one end. Ask a volunteer to come up and hold the knot. Start braiding the three pieces together as you talk. Say: God knitted these two young men’s hearts together, sort of like this. David and Jonathan loved each other, and they both loved and respected the Lord. A friendship of two people that centers around a love for God will be strong and will last a long time. These kind of friends don’t think about what is best for ME, but what is best for each other, and how to glorify God. Hold up the braided pieces. Thank your volunteer.

Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him just as he loved himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David. He also gave him his military clothes. He even gave him his sword, his bow and his belt. - 1 Samuel 3-4

Note to Teacher: It is possible that Jonathan’s gifts to David were a symbolic gesture. He may have suspected that David was God’s chosen successor to the thrown of Israel. By giving David his robe, Jonathan may have been indicating that he was willing to give his authority to David, and therefore relinquishing his claim to the thrown.

Jonathan’s covenant with David was like a promise to be best friends forever. He was saying, “What’s mine is yours.” We will see that this friendship lasted throughout both of their lifetimes. These men would risk their lives for one another. It was a friendship based on trust and obedience to God.

Application: Some of you may have a best friend that you love as much as you love yourself. That is awesome. But some of you may not have found a friend like this yet. Let me encourage you to pray and ask God for such a friend. The Bible says that every good and perfect gift is given to us from our heavenly Father (James 1:17). A great friend who loves you and encourages you to be godly is a wonderful thing. God wants to pour out the blessing of friendship on you. Don’t be afraid to pray for this. The Bible says that God is happy to give good gifts to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11)

Say: After the last Philistine had fallen, and the Israelite men returned home from the long battle, the women ran out to greet them. They were so excited that their husbands and son were finally home. They began to dance and sing praises. They sang, “Saul has killed thousands of men. David has killed tens of thousands.”

For younger children: Lead the students in singing this verse several times to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Saul has killed his thousands of men, thousands of men, thousands of men,

Saul has killed his thousands of men, But David has killed ten thousand.

In other words, everyone in town was saying David was a greater warrior than Saul. Ask: Can anyone guess how this song made Saul feel? Jealous, angry. The Bible says:

That song made Saul very angry. It really upset him. He said to himself, "They are saying David has killed tens of thousands of men. But they are saying I've killed only thousands. The only thing left for him to get is the kingdom itself." From that time on, Saul became very jealous of David. So he watched him closely. - 1 Samuel 18:8-9

The next day, the spirit that made Saul sad and upset came to torment Saul again. David came to sooth him by playing his harp as he usually did. While David played, Saul grabbed a spear and threw it at David, but David got away from him two times.

It’s hard to imagine how David might have reacted to this. He must have thought that the evil spirit was making Saul act crazy. But in fact, Saul knew what he was doing. He was trying to get rid of David. Saul was afraid of David because the Lord had left Saul, and was with David (1 Samuel 18:12).

Then Saul sent David away from him and made him the commander of 1,000 men in his army. All the soldiers loved being led by David. Listen to what the Bible tells us about David:

In everything he did, he was very successful. That's because the Lord was with him. - 1 Samuel 18:14

David’s success and popularity made Saul even angrier with David. He came up with another plan. He offered to let David marry his oldest daughter, if David would continue to fight his wars. Saul hoped the Philistines would kill David in battle. But very humbly, David said the he was not important enough to marry the King’s daughter. So Saul let another man marry her.

Then Saul found out that his other daughter, Michal, was in love with David. He wanted to try his plan again. Saul had his attendants talk to David about marrying Michal. Again, David said he was not important enough to be the King’s son-in-law. Since David felt unworthy to marry the King’s daughter, Saul told him he could “earn” the right to join the royal family by killing 100 Philistines. David agreed to this. He went out and killed 200 Philistines, and Saul gave David his daughter to marry.

Saul realized that the Lord was with David. He also realized that his daughter Michal loved David. So Saul became even more afraid of him. He remained David's enemy as long as he was king. The Philistine commanders kept on going out to battle. Every time they did, David had more success against them than the rest of Saul's officers. So his name became well known. - 1 Samuel 18:28-30

Michal Helps David Escape (1 Samuel 19)

Say: Saul would not give up trying to kill David.

Saul told his son Jonathan and all of the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan liked David very much. So Jonathan warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be very careful tomorrow morning. Find a place to hide and stay there. My father and I will come and stand in the field where you are hiding. I'll speak to him about you. Then I'll tell you what I find out."

Jonathan told his father Saul some good things about David. He said to him, "Please don't do anything to harm David. He hasn't done anything to harm you. And what he's done has helped you a lot. He put his own life in danger when he killed Goliath. The Lord used him to win a great battle for the whole nation of Israel. When you saw it, you were glad. So why would you do anything to harm a man like David? He isn't guilty of doing anything to harm you. Why would you want to kill him without any reason?" - 1 Samuel 19:1-5

So Saul promised Jonathan that he wouldn’t harm David. Ask: Do you think Saul is telling the truth? Listen for answers. Say: We’ll have to listen and see about that!

David went back to serving Saul. Once again he battled the Philistines bravely. And again, David went to sooth Saul with music when a terrible spirit was making him very upset. But just as he had done before, Saul threw a spear at David. David ran away. A-ha! So Saul wasn’t telling the truth to Jonathan. Saul sent men to David’s house and told hem to kill him in the morning.

But David's wife Michal warned him. She said, "You must run for your life tonight. If you don't, tomorrow you will be killed." So Michal helped David escape through a window. He ran and got away. - 1 Samuel 19:11b-12

Then she did something very clever. She took a statue and put it in David’s bed, and covered it with clothes. She even took some goat hair and put it at the top where his head would have been. Teacher: Use props to show what this might have looked like. When Saul’s men came looking for David, Michal told them that he was sick in bed. When the men reported this to Saul, he said, “Bring him up here to me in his bed. Then I'll kill him.” Can you imagine that?! So the men went to get David, bed and all, and they realized it was a statue in the bed. They had been tricked.

Saul asked his Daughter, Michal, why she had done this. She told him that David made her help him. David had run to see Samuel, God’s prophet who had anointed him. Saul heard where David was and he sent men to capture him. But when the men arrived, God’s spirit came upon them, and instead of grabbing David, they spoke messages from the Lord. So Saul sent more men after David. But when those men got to where David and Samuel were, they started speaking messages from God also. So Saul went to capture David himself. But when Saul got there, the Spirit of God even fell on him! He took off his royal robes and he, also, spoke messages from God all day and night.

Jonathan Helps David Escape (1 Samuel 20)

So David escaped and ran to where Jonathan was. David told Jonathan that Saul really was trying to kill him. He said, “What have I done? What crime have I committed? I haven't done anything to harm your father. So why is he trying to kill me?” (1 Samuel 20:1) Jonathan wondered why his father would try to hide his plans from him. But David knew it was because of Jonathan’s close friendship with David. Jonathan vowed that he would never let Saul kill David. The two men came up with a way to be sure of Saul’s plans.

So David said, "Tomorrow is the time for the New Moon Feast. I'm supposed to eat with the king. But let me go and hide in the field. I'll stay there until the evening of the day after tomorrow. Your father might miss me. If he does, then tell him, 'David begged me to let him hurry home to Bethlehem. A yearly sacrifice is being offered there for his whole family group.' Your father might say, 'That's all right.' If he does, it will mean I'm safe. But he might become very angry. If he does, you can be sure he's made up his mind to harm me. - 1 Samuel 20:5-7

The New Moon festival was celebrated every month, at the sighting of the new moon. Jonathan promised David that he would find out what his father was planning, and let David know what it was. Then the two young men made a vow that they would always be kind to one another, doing good even to their children and grandchildren, as long as they both lived.

Jonathan came up with a secret code in which to tell David if he was in danger or not. He told David to go out to a nearby field and wait by a certain stone. After the feast, when he would find out about Saul’s plans, he would shoot three arrows near the large stone. Then he would send his servant boy out to get his arrows. If Saul was not planning to harm David, Jonathan would shout, “The arrows are on this side of you!” But if Saul was planning to kill David, Jonathan would shout, “Go farther! The arrows are ahead of you!” Then David would have to run far away.

So David hid before the festival began. On the first night of the New Moon, Saul noticed that David was missing, but he didn’t say anything. On the second night, he noticed David’s place was empty again. Saul asked Jonathan where David was. Jonathan told his father the story that David had made up about going home to see his family.

Saul burned with anger against Jonathan. He said to him, "You are an evil son. You have refused to obey me. I know that you are on the side of Jesse's son. You should be ashamed of that. And your mother should be ashamed of having a son like you. You will never be king as long as Jesse's son lives on this earth. And you will never have a kingdom either. So send for the son of Jesse. Bring him to me. He must die!" - 1 Samuel 20:30-31

When Jonathan asked what David had done to deserve Saul’s death threat, Saul threw his spear at Jonathan, his own son! Jonathan was very angry with his father. He left the feast. The next morning he went out to the field and shot his arrows, just as he had promised he would do. He called out to his young helper, “The arrow went far beyond you! Hurry, run fast!” This was the signal to David that Saul wanted to kill him. The boy retrieved his arrows, and Jonathan sent him home. Then David came out from behind the rock. The two friends hugged and cried together.

Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace. In the name of the Lord we have taken an oath. We've promised to be friends. We've said, 'The Lord is a witness between you and me. He's a witness between your children and my children forever.' "

Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town. - 1 Samuel 20:42

Application: David was chosen by God to become the next King of Israel. David loved God and trusted Him completely. David was right where God wanted him to be. But I want you to notice something here. Even though David was obedient and had a heart for God, did he still have trouble in his life? Yes! Say: David was surrounded by trouble because of Saul’s sin. Sin always affects innocent people. And here is the other thing I want you to notice: God did not leave David. God was with David, protecting him, in the middle of this trouble. God worked in amazing ways to protect David. God worked circumstances to favor David, he gave him a loyal wife, He sent His spirit at just the right times. And another wonderful way God protected David was by sending Jonathan as his helper. He was the perfect friend for David. He was godly, loyal and brave. And he also was Saul’s son, so he could find out things from Saul that David needed to know. God worked all things together for the good of David (Romans 8:28).

How does this apply to our lives? Remember that even though you may be right where God wants you to be, trouble can still come into your life. Sometimes this trouble is caused by the sins of others (as in David’s case); sometimes it comes because God is planning to show us something amazing about Himself (as was the case when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead). In any case, God will not abandon you. He will NEVER leave those who trust in Him.

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He'll never desert you. So don't be afraid. Don't lose hope. - Deuteronomy 31:8

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Main Point: God will always be with those who trust in Him.

1 © 2008 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Related Topics: Love, Children's Curriculum

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