Bible Bites

Bible Bites

Caught in the Middle

Do you ever feel caught in the middle? Sometimes our love for people puts us in places we don't want to be.

Jonathan, son of king Saul, was in exactly this situation. His father was not effective or popular, but he was still the king. His best friend David was God's anointed, a rising star, enormously talented and popular, and humble. Jonathan had to balance his loyalties to both, and did so remarkably well.

His loyalty to his father is seen in his military exploits. He fought alongside his father and obeyed his commands, even in some situations that were nearly impossible. His loyalty to David is seen in their deep friendship. Jonathan encouraged David by his words and his actions:

  • Jonathan took David into his own house and treated him as a brother — 1 Samuel 18.1-5
  • Jonathan, on his own initiative, intervened on David's behalf with King Saul — 1 Samuel 19.1-7
  • Jonathan risked his own life in protecting David from Saul — 1 Samuel 20
  • Jonathan gave assurance to David at a critical moment when things were not going well for David — 1 Samuel 23.15-18

How did Jonathan maintain such balance without compromise?

This kind of balance comes only from commitment to God and to his righteousness. When we are committed to righteous principles, it puts all other things in perspective. Jonathan was the son of the king and had to be loyal to his authority — it was the right thing to do. But Jonathan was as Israelite and subject to the laws of God, which meant a commitment to defending the innocent. He was loyal to David, because David had been revealed as the future king of Israel. David was God's anointed just as much as Saul — loyalty to David was the right thing to do.

Jonathan was to David a friend who "loves at all times" and a brother "born for adversity" (Proverbs 17.17). But he was also as loyal to Saul as a son could be. Only a firm commitment to godly righteousness makes this possible.

When you find yourself stuck in middle because of competing loyalties, remember that you first loyalty is always to God (Matthew 6.33). With this loyalty firmly fixed, the others will more readily fall in place.