I decided to break up the posting of the Beth Moore notes since they're so long. Enjoy...
Have you ever felt an almost instant bond to a new friend? Below record the reasons you believe you felt such a kinship.
Yes, I've had several friends like this. I usually find out that we have many things in common, including either the same spiritual questions or history of similar experiences or beliefs.
Jonathan's expressions of love and friendship toward David paint one of the most beautiful portraits of covenant in the Word of God. The word covenant in 1 Samuel 18:3 is derived from the Hebrew term, berith, which means, "determination, stipulation, covenant. It was a treaty, alliance of friendship, a pledge, an obligation between a monarch and his subjects, a constitution. It was a contract which was accompanied by signs, sacrifices and a solemn oath which sealed the relationship with promises of blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience." (workbook, p. 31)
We don't make covenants today. I think we are almost afraid to stipulate consequences for breaking a contract. "Conditional" friendships are "bad." But conditional friendships are the very things that cause us to treat each other with reverence. Too much fear of loss can cause us to behave with jealousy and clinginess. But a healthy respect for the possibility of loss can instill a respect for the other person's needs and desires. We don't like to admit this in our must-have-it-all society.
Principal question: How does Jonathan's covenant with David compare to Christ's covenant with believers?
Christ gave up his Godly form for our benefit (Philippians 2:6-8), without our love in return, while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
Conclude your lesson by briefly recording how you entered into the covenant with God through Christ (when and how you accepted Christ as Savior).
See the August 16 entry</a> for my testimony.
When emotions are unchecked by the Holy Spirit, one negative emotion can easily feed another, joining together as links in a chain of bondage. The original Hebrew word for the kind of anger Saul experienced is informative:
Anger: Charah-to burn, be kindled, glow with anger, be incensed, grow indignant; to be zealous, act zealously.
Unlike some of its synonyms, charah points to the fire or heat of the anger just after it has been ignited.
Charah captures the moment a person explodes with anger-the moment anger is ignited before any sense of control takes over, before a rational thought can be processed.
When was the last time you exploded over some thing? Go ahead, you can record it. Questions like this keep us humble!
Did you have any regrets later? (workbook, p. 36)
I always have regrets now when I do this... There was a time when I did not recognize the heat of my anger; but I do now because it really does frighten me at times and I am making an effort to notice it more. Occasionally I still "lash out," but I hope that I am learning to exercise self-control.
There is also talk here about jealousy being prompted by fear... This was helpful for me in coming to an understanding of some situations in my past where people have been jealous of me because of their fear.
A very big difference exists between being jealous of someone and being jealous for someone. God is jealous on our behalf. He is jealous for us to know the One True God. He is jealous for us to be in a posture of blessing. He is jealous for us to be kept from the evil one. He is jealous for us to be ready for our Bridegroom. Jealousy for someone's best is of God. Jealousy of someone's best is of the enemy
Is there anyone you can honestly say you are jealous "for"? Who is it and what is the nature of your righteous jealousy on his/her behalf? (workbook, p. 38)
Something interesting to think about...
Have you ever been talked out of a negative spiral of emotions only to be captivated by those feelings again? If so, describe. (workbook, p. 40)
This happens sometimes with regard to my occupation situation.
Our words can only treat the symptoms. Only God can heal the disease of uncontrolled emotions. We've probably all been in Saul's place at one time or another. Something makes us furious; then someone tries to "talk some sense into us." We feel a little better and pledge to put our anger away forever. Then, here it comes again with the power of gale-force winds. Our emotions negatively ignited can be more powerful than we are. Our best recourse when negative emotions begin controlling us is to fall before the throne of grace and seek God! Take solace in the fact that Christ knows how it feels to be tempted by feelings (Heb. 4:15; 2:18). (workbook, p. 40)
It's hard for me to imagine Jesus being tempted by emotions.
Why do you think David ran to Samuel when he first escaped from Saul?
Have you ever had a time in your life when someone encouraged you toward a position and once you got in the middle of it, you went back and said, "What have you gotten me into?" Did you ever feel that way about marriage? Parenthood? Career? Church work? David probably shared your doubts and questions. David went straight to Samuel because he was the one used of God to anoint David as God's chosen leader of Israel. He likely had questions for Samuel, such as "Are you sure God told you to anoint me?" Regardless of his questions, David went to tell on Saul! Samuel received David and no doubt confirmed his calling. (workbook, p. 40)
I didn't think of it like this. I thought he went to Samuel because Samuel was a man of God and would have been considered "safe."
Why would David have "wept the most" at his and Jonathan's parting? Much mention is made of Jonathan's great love for David. David apparently had great need of this kind of love; and although it is not mentioned that he returned it, his weeping is an obvious sign of the value of Jonathan's love in his life. In the conversation recorded between him and Jonathan, I interpret several of David's sayings as expressions of fear and doubt. Jonathan's deep love gave David a safe place to express his fears and doubts so that they did not turn to jealousy. Their parting would signify the beginning of a time when David must handle his emotions without human support--or at least without such strong human support.
What are three characteristics of uncommon friends?
Uncommon friends can speak their minds without fear. Reread 1 Samuel 20:1-4 and imagine the tone David probably used with Jonathan. His words suggest nothing less than panic. Jonathan could easily have received David's words as an insult. After all, David practically took his frustration out on Jonathan and asked him to explain his father's actions. As you carefully consider the words they traded, you can almost hear their elevated and emotional tones. Jonathan responded to David's panic with the words, "Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!" (See v. 2.) I believe they exchanged heated words. David came very close to holding Jonathan responsible for Saul's actions, and Jonathan came very close to getting defensive.
Their initial words to one another would be only natural under their circumstances. What is not natural, however, was their freedom to speak their minds to one another and move on to resolution without great incident. Notice that at this point Jonathan didn't believe that Saul was really trying to take David's life; yet he acknowledged that David's feelings were authentic by saying, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you" (v. 4). He didn't necessarily agree with David, but he agreed that David was upset and needed his help instead of his doubt. (workbook, p. 43)
This is very powerful for me. I often find myself holding my feelings back from my friends because I don't want to hurt or anger them. I do try to listen to them without becoming angry, though I'm likely to confront them gently but firmly when their fears are things I don't see as valid. What a difficult place Jonathan must have been in!
Uncommon friends can share their hearts without shame. The scene between Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 20:41 touches my heart every time I read it. Something about two men unafraid to share their hearts with one another never fails to move me. Uncommon friends can be vulnerable with one another and still retain their dignity. The friendship between Jonathan and David was far more than emotion, and it was a safe place to trust and show feelings. They shared a common goal: the will of God. Each life complemented the other. They had separate lives but inseparable bonds. (workbook, p. 43)
I have experienced friendships like this, and they are precious.
Uncommon friends can stay close even at a distance. Most friendships require time and attention. We established on day 1 that Jonathan and David's friendship did not grow out of a lengthy period of time as most friendships do. They were brought together by spiritual ties, not sequences of time. They had "sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord" (v. 42). God brought them together. Their friendship was a bond of three. (workbook, p. 44)
I wrote about this on September 22:
I remember really clamming up at this point in the Refresher group last fall. I knew I was doing it, and I knew why. But I could not stop the process even though I wanted to. I have criticized myself for this in the recent past; but maybe I wasn't ready. Maybe God knows the exact timing that I need...
What happens when a friendship that was once uncommon has been damaged? What is the process for healing it?
Do you have a friend with whom you feel safe sharing your heart? (workbook, p. 44)
In most cases yes. In a few cases no. There are some areas of my life where I would like to find a friend with greater spiritual maturity than I who can listen nonjudgmentally, pray with me, and offer counsel when appropriate.
Do you have a "three strand" friendship? In other words, is God an active part of one of your friendships? (workbook, p. 44)
I would like my friendships to be this way.
You have probably gone through difficulties in which you felt lost and afraid. Can you think of ways God has reminded you that He was with you, that His "presence" was there?
Did the reminder of His presence calm your heart or did you continue to fret and search for a refuge elsewhere? (workbook, p. 47)
When I was in the eighth grade, I did not want to attend school the first day. I was afraid of eating lunch alone. As I got out of the car, I suddenly felt hands surrounding me; and I knew that God was with me.