The Knitting of Jonathan and David
sermon preached by Dr. Jack Hyles
“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Samuel 18:1
God looked down and saw King Saul and other famous people, men of renown, honoring David because he had killed Goliath. God wanted to honor David, also. As I’ve said time and time again as I’ve spoken, the heart of God wanted to also honor David. God reached down to Jonathan, the son of the king, and knitted his heart to the heart of David.
Apart from salvation, perhaps, God gave to David the greatest gift that He can give to a human being. That is the gift of a friend. When Jonathan was knitted to David, he immediately gave to David five things. In I Samuel 18:4, there are five things listed that were given by Jonathan to David with which to seal their friendship.
The first thing that Jonathan gave to David was his robe. The robe symbolized his stature, his importance, his rank, if you please. For you see, Jonathan was the heir apparent to the throne. Jonathan was the one, logically, to step on the throne of Israel after the death of his father, Saul. And so Jonathan, in reaching out and taking his robe off his body and giving it to David, was saying, “I give up my throne for you. I give up my rank for you. I give up my fame for you. I give up my standing for you. I give up my stature for you.”
The Bible says that when the prodigal son returned home, the father said, “Bring a robe and put it on him.” That meant that he was restored to his former standing. When a Jewish boy became an adult, they had what they called a presentation of that boy at the bema or judgment seat. A father would take that boy before all the people, and standing at the judgment seat that father would say, “This is my son. Today, he inherits my social standing. Today, he becomes not a minor, but a major.” That’s what the word “adoption means in the Bible. He becomes a major, no longer a minor.
A father would give that son what was called a toga pretexto or the coat of majority. Then that boy, being a major and not a minor any longer, could wear the coat that signified that he was then an adult and had been recognized as such by his father.
When Jonathan said to David, “Here, David, take my robe,” he was saying, “Take my stature, take my rank, take my throne. It’s all yours.” Jonathan gave his robe to David.
The Bible says that the second thing Jonathan gave to David was his garments. First, his robe. Secondly, his garments. Now what does that mean? Jonathan was a warrior. We often fail to remember the tremendous military victories that Jonathan had won. Jonathan said, “David, you have my robe. Take my garments. Take my military uniform. Take my insignia. Take my honors. Take my merit. Take the battles I have won. Take all the credit for all the battles I have won.”
Jonathan said, “David, you are my friend. God has knitted my heart to you. Take my robe. Take my throne.” But more than that he said, “Take my garments of war. Take my metals. Take my honors. They are yours.”
I recall distinctly how back in the last days of World War II when I was training to be a paratrooper. I took several weeks of training and then I got my wings. And I’ll never forget they joy. That captain said to us, “Do you know what? Fellows, you are in such good shape, you can lick five average men on the street.” Now, I’ll be honest with you. I have not met five average men since then, because I couldn’t lick any of the fellows. By the way, one paratrooper can lick five marines. I will tell you that much for sure, and I’ll prove it after the service if you’ll meet me in the alley. If I’m not there, just start without me! I will not forget those wings. Boy, my chest grew out about a foot on this side here.
Jonathan said, “David, take my robe. I will not be king. You can have my throne, have my crown, and have my robe.” More than that, he said, You can also have my medals and my garments—my army outfit. My leadership, if you please. You can be a general now in my place.”
There’s a third thing that he said: “Also, take my sword.” Now what the average person doesn’t realize is that this was a fabulous gift. Did you know that in I Samuel 13:22, we find that, at the time, there were only two swords in all of Israel? Only two swords. The Philistines had not allowed the Israelites to have blacksmiths and there were only two swords in all of Israel. One was owned by Saul and the other was owned by Jonathan.
Jonathan said, “David, I am knitted to you. I am your friend. God has given me to you. Take my robe, my throne, my garments, and my honor. Take my sword and my defense, if you please, my self-defense.” It was one of the two swords in Israel. “Take my sword, if you please.” But there was something else. He said also, “David, take my bow. Take my bow.”
Now in II Samuel 1:22, we find that Jonathan’s bow was his prized possession. It was perhaps his most prized possession. He said, “Take my robe, my throne. Take my garment, my honor. Take my sword, my self-defense. Take my bow, my prized possession.” Can you feature such gifts as that from one man to another? Jonathan said to David, “Take my bow.” You’ll find if you’ll read the Scripture that Jonathan’s bow was a very prized possession. It was perhaps his most prized possession on the face of the earth.
Here was David. He had defeated Goliath. He was the hero of the nation. He was the astronaut being taken to the White House for honor. Jonathan said, “Take my robe. My hopes for being king are yours. Take my garments, all the honors that I have made. They may now be owned by you, David. Take my sword. I will have nothing with which to defend myself. You defend yourself with my sword. Take my bow. Take the most prized possession I own in this world. Take it.”
Then Jonathan said something else. He said, “Take my girdle.” It is not what we think of. A girdle was the part that held not Jonathan but held his sword, his bow, and his garments. It was that little innermost part that held all the rest. So what Jonathan said was this: “David, take my robe. You be king instead of me. Take my garment. You be the great military leader instead of me. Take my sword. You defend yourself. I’ll not defend myself. Take my bow. Take the most prized possession I have.” He said to David, “Take it all.” He said, “Take that which is the closest to me. Take that which is of interest to me. Take that which is the dearest to me. Take it all.” And so gave Jonathan to King David.
Now listen carefully. Another David had risen like unto King David. The Bible says that Jesus shall someday sit on the throne of David. The Bible speaks about Jesus being the son of David. It says that our Lord is the root and offspring of David. IT says our Lord is the seed of David. Now if Jonathan gave to that king David—because David slew Goliath—his robe which stood for his throne, his garments which stood for his honor, his sword which was his self-defense, his bow which was his most prized possession, and his girdle which said, “Take it all,” how much more should God’s people give to Him who will sit someday on David’s throne, who is the root and offspring of David, who is the seed of David, and who is called the son of David? If Jonathan of old could give that to David, we ought to come to Christ this morning and say, “Dear God, Dear Christ, take it all.”
By the way, Jesus also had killed a giant. He died on the cross and rose victoriously from the grave. He killed Goliath. He conquered death. He put down Satan. He destroyed the last enemy. He killed a giant, like David did. He used a stone to do it, too.
David used a stone and a slingshot. Our Lord rolled the stone away and rose triumphantly as the King of Kings, the living Christ ever to live and to sit at the right hand of the Father. You folks have heard me tell this. A preacher one day preached about Jesus being honored by the Father. When he got home, his son said, “Daddy, isn’t God wonderful?” He said, “Why, son?” “Well,” the child said, “this morning you preached that God did everything with His left hand.” The father couldn’t understand it. He said, “Why, I didn’t say any such thing!” But the child said, “Oh, yes, You said God is left-handed. God made the world with His left hand. God hold us with His left hand. God keeps us in His left hand.” The father said, “I didn’t preach any such thing!” “Oh, yes, you did,” said the son. “You said that Jesus was sitting on the right hand of God, so He has to do all that He does with His left hand.”
Now, on the right hand of God the Father this morning, there is our David: the root and offspring of David, the seed of David, the son of David, and the One who will rein on the throne of David. You and I should say to Him, “Dear Lord, take my robe. That means my hope for fame. Take my garments. That means any honor I may ever have. Take my sword. That means I’ll not defend myself, that’s up to you. Take my bow. Take my most prized possessions. They belong to you. Take my girdle. Take it all.”
To save my life, I cannot understand why, if Jonathan would give everything to King David, God’s people in 1970 wouldn’t say, “Dear Lord, take my robe. Take my garments. Take my sword. Take my bow. Take my girdle. Take it all.” And that is what God wants.
I am sick about something. I am weary about something. I cannot understand, to save my life, how a bunch of bearded monsters with long hair; dirty beards; dirty, filthy toes; dirt caked between the toes; with sandals on their feet; and with filthy, dirty garments on will yield themselves more to communism, H. Rap Brown, the Carmichaels, socialism, destruction and to revolution. Those of us who name the name of Jesus Christ ought to give to Him who loved us, died for us, rose for us, and gave us all we have that is decent and good.
God will not be pleased, my dear friend, until you give Him everything you have: your robe, your garments, your sword, your bow, and your girdle—God wants it all.
Now let’s go back and look at those again. In the first place, Jonathan said, “David, take my robe.” In your heart today, there is a throne. Somebody rules that throne. Either you rule it or Jesus Christ rules it. This morning you ought to say if you have not said it before, “Dear God, take my robe. You rule. I’ve ruled long enough. I’ve decided where I go. I’ve decided what I’ve wanted long enough. Now You rule on the throne. Take my robe.”
You folks who are visiting don’t understand this, but I have no greater joy than our teenagers here at First Baptist. We try to teach them how to dress decently. If they have mini skirts this morning, it’s not because we haven’t skinned the fire out of them, I’ll tell you for sure. I detest with a passion, I hate with a passion, I abhor, and I cannot understand a girl running around with three-fourths of her leg showing. I think it is abominable and a disgrace in the sight of God Almighty and decent people. I just want to tell you that if our girls are running around with mini skirts on, it is not because I like the things. I’m talking about ladies, too, by the way. I have given serious thought to buying some material, a needle, and thread, just standing back at the door as folks walk out or walk in, and doing a little sewing on the bottom of some skirts.
But you folks who come to First Baptist know that I love the young people. And you know, boy, I skin them. God bless them. That is why they are sitting so quietly this morning. They don’t want their names called in the service. I am like the Pentecostal preacher that said, “I heal the dead, cast out the sick, and raise the devils.” And I do. I heal the dead, cast out the sick, and raise the devils for our young folks.
I have no greater joy than for one of the young men to walk in my office dressed properly and decently, look me in the eye, shake my hand, say, “Pastor, I’m glad to see you,” and talk to me man-to-man, like a young boy ought to. These slouchy, hip kind of fellows with the bell-bottom trousers and turtleneck sweaters bother me. Turtleneck sweaters are okay for a hay ride, but not for church, as far as I’m concerned. I thought I would leave just a few of my little pet convictions with you while you are here this morning.
A fine, clean-cut young man walked into my office yesterday. He’s a teenager in our church. He has now graduated from high school last year. He said, “Brother Hyles, I’ve sought something in my heart all these years. Years ago, I came to this church when I was a little boy. I never got away from it. Mother and Dad didn’t want me to come here. They don’t like you.” That broke my heart and surprised me. I didn’t think that anybody didn’t like me!
He said, “Mother and Dad don’t like you, but I came one time years ago and I never got away from it. There was something here that I felt. I tried to go to another church closer to home, but it was dead and I didn’t feel God there. The months passed and I couldn’t get my mind off First Baptist. I felt God here.” Oh, that’s a wonderful thing to say: “I felt God here.” He went on to say, “Brother Hyles, three months ago, I came back after all these months and years. One of the boys invited me.” He said, “I got saved and I felt God in my heart. Now, for three months I’ve been so happy. Mother and Dad think you’re a fanatic. They think you are too strict.”
That’s because I don’t believe in Coca-Colas, Dr. Peppers, 7ups, spitting on the sidewalk on Sunday, or talking over three minutes on the telephone at a time. One of our ladies said one time, “Brother Hyles, you’re against…” I said, “Yes, I am. I’m against it.” This young man looked at me and said, “Brother Hyles, I think that God wants me to be a preacher.” He said, “Mother and Dad think it is okay to be a preacher, but they said, ‘Don’t be like Hyles.’ They said, ‘Okay, be a minister, but visit around to other churches.'” They were hoping that he would forget about me and have somebody else to emulate.
Then the young fellow said, “My folks just get mad.” I said, “Well, you be the kind of preacher that God wants you to be.” He said, “Why, of course, I’m going to go to Tennessee Temple College next year and prepare myself for the ministry.” He had just been saved for three months. As he walked out he said, “Dad and Mother won’t be very proud of me.”
I thought about that day when, on the corner of Ackard Street and Commerce in Dallas, Texas, I told my drunkard dad that I was going to be a preacher. I wanted him to be proud of me. He cursed and swore and said, “Have you got to be a preacher?” I said, “Dad I’ve got to be a preacher.” Dad said, “Okay. If you’ve got to be one of those money-grabbing preachers, be a good one.” I walked away. I wanted to be honored by my father.
Oh let me say, dear friend, there must come a time in every person’s life when he says, “Dear Lord, take my robe. I’ll not rule anymore. I’ll not be king anymore. I’ll let You be King of my life. I’ll go where You want me to god. I’ll do what You want me to do. I’ll be what You want me to be. I’ll say what You want me to say.”
Only to be what You want me to be,
Every moment of every day;
Yielded completely to Jesus alone,
Every step of the pilgrim way.
Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands,
Ready to do what His Word commands.
Only to be what He wants me to be,
Every moment of every day.
How about your robe this morning? Who has it? Take it with Jonathan and say, “Your Honor, King David, take my robe.” But there’s something else. “Take my garments.” What does that mean? “Take my honor. Take my medals. Take my winnings. Take my good conduct medal. Take my medal of honor. Take my bronze star. Take my general’s stars. Take it, King David. God has knitted my soul to yours. Take it.” Every Christian ought to say this morning, “Dear God, not only take my robe but take my garments. Take my honor.”
I just had a little praise meeting last night, and I paused to think about the fact that more than a thousand preachers are coming, getting ready to come in from all over America for Pastor’s School. My mind wandered back to a dark day in my life about 14 years ago. I thought that I was taking a stand that was right. Some denominational leaders told me that if I didn’t quit doing certain things and quit running with a certain crowd that they would blacklist me and I wouldn’t preach in any more denominational meetings.
They said that I had to support the schools that I thought were liberal, where they were having dances. Any school that allows dancing or alcoholic beverages on the campus or teaches anything other than the Bible is the verbally inspired word of God and that Jesus is the Son of God will not get one penny from our budget. Not one penny. We won’t support anybody who doesn’t believe and teach the inspiration of the blessed Word of God.
So I gave God my garments and went home that night and said, “I guess it’s all over.” I got beside my bed and said, “Dear God, I will preach at rescue missions.” I tried to figure out what I could do to make a living, because I had taken my stand. Every preacher who had me scheduled to preach at his church cancelled me out in twenty-four hours. Every one. I thought, “Well, I guess I could sell clothes. I did than in college at J.C. Penney Co. I guess I could lay oak floor. I did that in college a little bit, for 18 months. I could lay oak floor and do carpentry work.” But, I gave God my garments and last night as I paused to think about more than a thousand preachers coming from all around the world to learn what God has done here, I said, “Praise the Lord!” I gave Him my garments and He gave me one of His to take its place.
Oh, give Him your honor this morning. Let Him have your robe. Let Him have your garment. But there’s something else. Let Him have your sword. Jonathan had a sword; David had none. There was only one other in all of Israel, and that belonged to King Saul. Jonathan said, “Here’s my self-defense.” Give Jesus your self-defense this morning. Let me tell you what I mean by that. I used to fret myself to death because folks criticized me. I’ll be honest with you. I still don’t know why folks don’t like me. I like me real well, and I don’t know why folks don’t like me! We have four or five members who like me, too. But I used to worry myself to death. Why, down in Texas on time a fellow got a rumor out that I had stolen a thousand dollars from the church budget and bought a carpet for the parsonage. (It really was only $500. They had said $1,000.) I used to spend my time going from house to house, defending myself. But one day I just said, “Lord, here’s my sword. You defend me.” I never defend myself anymore. I never, never do it.
Let me tell you about yesterday, for example. I was just thinking last night, “This is a typical day.” I got a letter. A fellow said, “Yeah.” I don’t know how he said it, but anyhow, he had Y-E-A-H there. And this is the way I think he meant it. He said, “Yeah, you say you got convicted and you talk about being a Baptist, yet you go to the Church of God convention, the non-Pentecostal group, and you preach at Rolla, Missouri (where I was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), and preach the Church of God convention. You’re a compromiser.” I’d never been called that! One fellow says I’m a compromiser; the other fellow says that I’m too narrow-minded.
He let me have it yesterday. He also said, “You’re not a good Baptist.” My Bible says, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Anyway, he ate me out. This young man said, “My parents think you are terrible.” Then I got a call and someone said, “Do you know that you are not very popular at Moody Bible Institute?” Ah. I cried for ten seconds about that. That was yesterday.
Then I went down to the shopping center to take some cleaning. Walking down to the shopping center, I saw a person that I knew and said, “Hi, how are you?” They turned away. Later, another person said, “Somebody said you are a sheep stealer.” All in one day. That’s just a typical day. Yesterday was an easier day than usual. That’s fine. Moody Institute students don’t like me. I’m not very popular at Moody. People won’t speak to me in the shopping center. I’m a compromiser because I go preach to the Church of God folks. I’m too narrow-minded and, “Don’t be like Hyles when you become a preacher.”
But years ago I decided on my knees to quit defending myself from things like that. God takes care of my defense. I gave God my sword. Never fight back. If somebody hates you, just give God your sword. If somebody slaps you, just give God your sword. Don’t fight back.
And so Jonathan said, “David, here’s my robe, my throne; my garments, my honor; my sword, my self-defense.” Then he said, “David I want to give you something else. I want to give you my bow. My possessions. All I have belongs to you.”
Somebody said not long ago, “Did you know Hyles is worth a million dollars?” I said, “No, I didn’t know that. My salary is $8,000 a year plus a place to live.” My book, Blue Denim and Lace, would have made $25,000 last year if I had taken the profits on it alone. My Uncle Harvey took me into his office when I was 23 years of age and said, “If you will got to a certain seminary and get a doctor’s degree, I’ll give you $250,000 of my business.” I said, “I’m sorry.”
Now, I’m simply saying, come to a day where you say, “Dear Lord, take my most prized possessions. Take my money. Take my life. Take my talent. Take my future. Take my youth. Take all I have.” That’s what Jonathan said to David. He also said, “Take my girdle. Take it all. Take everything.” We have folks in our church who have given all. How about you? A lot of you won’t even give a tithe. You won’t even give God ten percent of your income. You don’t give God Sunday night, You don’t give God Wednesday night. You don’t give God money. You don’t give God special offerings. You don’t give God your talent. Oh, you ought to say this morning, “Dear Son of David, Thou, the root and offspring of David, Thou, the seed of David, Thou, who someday will sit on the throne of David, if Jonathan could take off his robe, his garments, his sword, his bow, his girdle and give to Thee, how much more should I give to Jesus Christ?” May I say this in closing? Oh, my precious friend, He’ll give you so much more back than you gave to Him.
I told you a little story two years ago. I didn’t intend to tell it, but I think I will (and I’m not going to go into length about the story). One day beside a road in India was a poor peasant with nothing in his hands but a bowl of rice, he cursed the day he was born. He grumbled and mumbled because he had nothing but a bowl of rice.
He looked up and saw a caravan coming down the road, and the rajah was at the top of that caravan in a chariot. The old Indian cursed the rajah. He said, “All I have is a bowl of rice. Look at that caravan. Look at my bowl of rice.” He cursed the day he was born as he looked at his bowl of rice, and he cursed the rajah, who had so much.
As the caravan got closer, the Indian looked up and said to himself, “Oh, I wish the rajah would stop and give me a gift. I wish the rajah would stop and give me a gift.” As the rajah got closer, it seemed like he was going to go by. The Indian looked at his bowl of rice and swore and cursed the rajah. He cursed the day he was born, as he mumbled in his beard.
Suddenly, the caravan did stop. The rajah got off of the chariot and came over to where the poor peasant was, with just a bowl of rice as the sum total of all his possessions and worldly goods. The rajah looked and said, “Give me a bite of rice.” The peasant cursed and swore under his breath and mumbled his hatred into his beard as he thought, “Look what he has. He has it all: wealth, riches, honor, and fame. All I’ve got is a bowl of rice, and he wants my rice.”
The rajah said, “Give me a bite of rice.” So the old peasant reached in and took one grain of rice out of his bowl and handed that grain of rice to the rajah. The rajah said, “Give me a bit of rice.” “You want more of my rice? It is all I have. Look what you have!” The rajah said, “Give me a bit of rice.” The old man reached in and got one more grain of rice and put it in the rajah’s hand. The rajah turned and walked off. The man cursed, swore, and mumbled in his beard as he looked and realized that the rajah had taken from him when he already had so much.
As the rajah got in his chariot and the caravan proceeded, the old man began to eat his rice and curse the day he was born. All of a sudden, he felt something hard in the bottom of his bowl! There was a piece of gold the size of a piece of rice. He reached in again and felt a second one. He reached in again, but could only find two. There were two pieces of gold the size of rice grains. He looked up to heaven and said, “The rajah was here, and I only gave him two grains of rice.” He screamed and cried, “Two grains of rice! Only two grains of rice for the rajah! Only two grains of rice for the rajah!” Then he screamed, “I wish I had given him all! I wish I had given it all!”
Oh, one day we’ll stand before God and the only thing that will be gold and eternal is that which we have given to God. Take off your robe this morning and say, “Here it is!” Give it to God. Take off your garments and say, “Lord, take these, too.” Take out your sword and say, “Take it.” Take out your bow and say, “Take it.” Take off your girdle and say, “Dear God, take it all!” And one day you will stand before Him and be glad you gave everything to God.
I gave Him my old tattered garments,
He gave me a robe of pure white.
I’m feasting on manna from Heaven,
And that’s why I’m happy tonight.
There are people this morning who hare holding onto your rice. Holding onto your bow. Holding onto your sword. Holding onto your garments. Holding onto your robe. Holding onto your fame. Holding onto your money. Holding onto your honor. Holding onto your sword, your self-defense. Holding onto your possessions. Holding onto your girdle. Give it all!
Let go and let God have His wonderful way.
Let go and let God have His way!
Your burdens will vanish; your night turn to day.
Let go and let God have His way.
Let us pray.