Being a Best Friend {David and Jonathan Bible Lesson}

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Everyone has friends. Everyone wants to be a friend to others. But what does that really look like in God’s eyes? Using the story of David and Jonathan will help our children understand true friendship. This is a step in the right direction on the narrow path of godliness. {Deuteronomy 5:32}

Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 20

Materials: two magnets (one weak “toy” magnet and one really strong magnet); a pack of sticky notes; something to stick the magnets onto, such as a white board, or metal door.David and Jonathan

Free Poster:  Click on the image below and print.Friendship imageBackground: David killed Goliath. It was quite the event and Saul added David to his court. Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s best friend. Jonathan had given David his robe, armor, and sword. Jonathan and David made a covenant between them to solidify their friendship. David served Saul well and was given many leadership opportunities. But Saul became jealous of David and tried to kill him.

Object Lesson on David and Jonathan:

{Hold up the two magnets.}

What can you tell me about magnets? [Accept answers.] Magnets are neat because they stick to objects. {Have the two magnets stick to each other.} The magnetic field is interesting because if the magnets are one way, they stick to each other. But if you turn one around, they repel from each other.

{Show how the magnets will not stick, no matter what you do.}

I wonder how strong these magnets are. Magnetic fields can go through objects. Let’s take these sticky notes and see how many we can stack on top of each other until the magnetic field is too weak to hold the magnet to the board.

{Do the weak magnet first, Have the children predict the number of sticky notes. Then add them one at a time until the magnet will not stick anymore. It took me 5 sticky notes for the weak magnet. Then have them predict for the strong magnet. Then add the sticky notes one at a time. Then 5 at a time. My magnet still stuck even through my entire stack of sticky notes!}

Bible Lesson on David and Jonathan:

Scripture tells us that a true friend is always loyal. (Proverbs 17:17) David and Jonathan are a perfect picture of this. Before David killed Goliath, Samuel anointed David as the next future king of Israel. After David killed Goliath, Jonathan basically adopted David into his family as a brother and they became the best of friends. David would play the harp for King Saul. King Saul placed David in leadership positions.David and Jonathan

Eventually the king became jealous of David and wanted to kill him. He had thrown a spear at David and then King Saul told Jonathan and all of his servants that they should kill David. But Jonathan warned David and spoke to the king on his behalf. The king relented.

Sometime later King Saul attempted to kill David again by throwing a spear at him. David escaped, but he knew this was it. There was no way he could stay around the king, so he fled. The king went after him.

David somehow made it to Jonathan. He asked his friend why King Saul was after him and why he wanted him dead. Jonathan wouldn’t believe him, but David insisted that the king would not tell his son his intentions because of their friendship.

Jonathan and David made a plan. David was going to skip dinner with the king to go be with his family. If the king was ok with him being gone, then everything was fine and David was not in trouble with the king. But if Jonathan told King Saul that David was visiting his family and the king became angry, then they would know that the king wanted David dead.

But David worried about Jonathan’s safety, than King Saul would turn on him as well. Jonathan and David made a covenant. In three days after Jonathan knew the answer about King Saul and David, he would shoot three arrows near a certain rock. If he told his servant boy that the arrows were near, then all was well with David. If Jonathan told the boy that the arrows were beyond, the David would know to flee for his life.

Dinner came and went. No David at the table. Dinner came again the second night and King Saul asked Jonathan where David was. When given the answer, King Saul flew into a rage and threw a spear at Jonathan. he told Jonathan that David would take the kingdom from him, but Jonathan wanted to know what David had done to deserve death. Jonathan was very angry and saddened by his father.David and Jonathan

The third day Jonathan shot his arrows and announced that they were beyond the boy. When the boy was sent away, David appeared to Jonathan out of hiding. They hugged and wept. Jonathan told him to go in peace and to remember their covenant before the Lord between them and their descendants forever.David and Jonathan

Life Application for Being a Best Friend:

Sometimes people can be like two magnets that will never stick to each other. They aren’t mean to each other, but maybe they don’t have anything in common and don’t really care to hang out with each other. These are people who are acquaintances.

You stick with your friends though. But even then, you can have friends for a short time, or friendships that last your entire life.

There will be many times we will mess up and treat our friends poorly, or we might be treated poorly by our friends. Even though King Saul had told Jonathan he wanted David killed, he could not believe that the king really would do it. Jonathan did not believe David.

Sometimes we are like the weak magnet. Perhaps you get into an argument with a friend, or a friend wrongs you in some way. {Put the sticky notes up again to show how the weak magnet does not stick.} And your friendship is not strong. Neither of you apologize or ask for forgiveness. What will happen to that friendship? [It will disappear.] {Have the magnet slide off the sticky notes.}

Jonathan and David were like the strong magnet. Even though Jonathan did not believe David, their friendship was tight. {Make the sticky note stack thicker.} Once Jonathan knew the truth, he committed treason to save his innocent friend and let him flee to freedom. He was almost killed by his father because of his friendship with David. {Put the strong magnet on the stack of sticky notes.} David and Jonathan

{Hold up the poster. Read it aloud.}

Do you think Jonathan would have died trying to save David? [Yes!] You are like David. You need to be saved. You need to be saved from your sin. You cannot be with God the Father because of your sin. Wages of sin is death. But you have a friend who laid down his life for you so you can go free.

Jesus died so that you can stand sinless before God. His friendship is the strongest one we will ever have.

Think about the friends you have. Do you want to have a weak magnet friendship or a strong magnet friendship? [Accept answers, hopefully they want to be a strong friend to others.] The most loyal friends tell their friends about Jesus. They tell the truth. They accept apologies. They ask forgiveness. They don’t give up on each other. They walk the road of life with each other and with Jesus.

What can we learn from Jonathan and David? If we want to be godly, then we must be a good, loyal friend to others. Even though friends are great, Jesus is the closest, best friend we can ever have!

{Display the poster in the room throughout this series and read it each week.}

Follow Up Activities:

Pinterest Board for David and Jonathan
David and Jonathan a Lesson About Friendship
David and Jonathan Faithful Friends Activities
David and Jonathan Coloring Pages and Crafts
David and Jonathan Sunday School Lesson
David and Jonathan
Jonathan Helps David Escape

For more ideas, lessons, coloring pages, games, etc, click to my Old Testament Pinterest board! I’ve found all kinds of fun stuff for you!

Follow Future.Flying.Saucers.’s board OT Bible Lessons & Activities for Kids on Pinterest.
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