1. HIDING IN DENS AND CAVES
a. Name one instance that reveals David’s nobility of character—and the source of it. 1 Samuel 22:1, 3, 4; Psalm 57:2, 3.
“David’s anxiety was not all for himself, although he realized his peril. He thought of his father and mother, and he concluded that he must seek another refuge for them. . . . From this history, we may all learn precious lessons of filial love. . . .
“[The family of David] concluded that they would be safer with him whom the prophet Samuel had anointed to be king of Israel, even though he was a fugitive in a lonely cave, than exposed to the insane madness of a jealous king. . . .
“In the cave of Adullam, the family were at last united in sympathy and affection. The son of Jesse could make melody with voice and harp as he sang, ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ [Psalm 133:1.] He had tasted the bitterness of suspicion and distrust from his brethren; and the harmony that had taken the place of discord, brought joy and comfort to the exile’s heart. It was here that David composed the fifty-seventh psalm.”—The Signs of the Times, September 7, 1888.
“When by the jealousy of Saul driven a fugitive into the wilderness, David, cut off from human support, leaned more heavily upon God.”—Education, p. 152.
2. TEAMING UP IN TRIAL
a. Who else fled to follow David in the cave—and how was this an educational experience for the anointed fugitive? 1 Samuel 22:2.
“It was not long before David’s company was joined by others who desired to escape the exactions of the king. There were many who had lost confidence in the ruler of Israel, for they could see that he was no longer guided by the Spirit of the Lord. [1 Samuel 22:2 quoted.] Here David had a little kingdom of his own, and in it order and discipline prevailed. . . .
“God was giving [David] a course of discipline to fit him to become a wise general as well as a just and merciful king.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 658.
“The uncertainty and unrest of the wilderness life, its unceasing peril, its necessity for frequent flight, the character of the men who gathered to [David] there, . . . all rendered the more essential a stern self-discipline. These experiences aroused and developed power to deal with men, sympathy for the oppressed, and hatred of injustice.”—
Education, p. 152.
b. Describe the predicament that many faithful followers of Christ will have undergone by the time the Lord returns—and the hope that shines through in the midst of it. Zephaniah 3:12; Hebrews 11:37–40.
“From garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains and deserts, from the caves of the earth and the caverns of the sea, Christ will gather His children to Himself. On earth they have been destitute, afflicted, and tormented. Millions have gone down to the grave loaded with infamy because they refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By human tribunals the children of God have been adjudged the vilest criminals. But the day is near when ‘God is judge Himself’ (Psalm 50:6). Then the decisions of earth shall be reversed. ‘The rebuke of His people shall He take away’ (Isaiah 25:8). . . .
“Whatever crosses they have been called to bear, whatever losses they have sustained, whatever persecution they have suffered, even to the loss of their temporal life, the children of God are amply recompensed. [Revelation 22:4 quoted.]”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 179, 180.
3. A COURAGEOUS PRINCE
a. Who was faithful Jonathan, and for what qualities had he already been distinguished in Israel? 1 Samuel 13:5; 14:1, 6, 13–15, 20, 23.
“In Jonathan, the son of Saul, the Lord saw a man of pure integrity—one to whom He could draw nigh, and upon whose heart He could move.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 208.
“Jonathan, the king’s son, a man who feared the Lord, was chosen as the instrument to deliver Israel. Moved by a divine impulse, he proposed to his armor-bearer that they should make a secret attack upon the enemy’s camp. ‘It may be,’ he urged, ‘that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.’ . . .
“Angels of heaven shielded Jonathan and his attendant, angels fought by their side, and the Philistines fell before them. The earth trembled as though a great multitude with horsemen and chariots were approaching. Jonathan recognized the tokens of divine aid, and even the Philistines knew that God was working for the deliverance of Israel. Great fear seized upon the host, both in the field and in the garrison. In the confusion, mistaking their own soldiers for enemies, the Philistines began to slay one another.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 623.
b. What had revealed that Jonathan was not only faithful and brave, but was also beloved among the people, thus showing strong suitability as the natural heir to his father’s throne? 1 Samuel 14:24, 27, 43–45.
“Saul could not claim the honor of the victory, but he hoped to be honored for his zeal in maintaining the sacredness of his oath. Even at the sacrifice of his son, he would impress upon his subjects the fact that the royal authority must be maintained. . . . Though the command was unreasonable and had been violated through ignorance—the king and father sentenced his son to death.
“The people refused to allow the sentence to be executed. . . .
[1 Samuel 14:45 quoted.] The proud monarch dared not disregard this unanimous verdict, and the life of Jonathan was preserved.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 625.
4. UNSELFISH LOYALTY
a. Explain the depth of admiration that Jonathan had shown for David—and God’s purpose in this friendship. 1 Samuel 18:1–4.
“Especially was the heart of Jonathan knit with David’s, and there was a most sacred bond of union established between them, which remained unbroken till the death of Saul and Jonathan. This was the Lord’s doing, that Jonathan might be the means of preserving the life of David, when Saul would try to kill him.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, p. 79.
b. How had Jonathan interceded in David’s behalf? 1 Samuel 19:1–7.
c. How had Jonathan then placed his own life at risk? 1 Samuel 20:4, 13–17, 27–34. Describe the poignant moment when Jonathan and David grieved together over Saul’s hardness of heart. 1 Samuel 20:41, 42.
“Jonathan, by birth heir to the throne, yet knowing himself set aside by the divine decree; to his rival the most tender and faithful of friends, shielding David’s life at the peril of his own; . . . the name of Jonathan is treasured in heaven, and it stands on earth a witness to the existence and the power of unselfish love.”—Education, p. 157.
d. What later brought David comfort in the wilderness of Ziph—and how did this inspire his heart? 1 Samuel 23:14–18; Psalm 11:1–5.
“At this time, when there were so few bright spots in the path of David, he was rejoiced to receive an unexpected visit from Jonathan. . . .
“After the visit of Jonathan, David encouraged his soul with songs of praise, accompanying his voice with his harp as he sang: [Psalm 11:1–5 quoted.]”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 660, 661.
5. SELFISHNESS SUBDUED
a. What do we as families need to realize about true biblical friendship—and the effects of real Christian love? John 13:34, 35; 15:13.
“Our love is frequently selfish, for we confine it to prescribed limits. When we come into close union and fellowship with Christ, our love and sympathy and our works of benevolence will reach down deeper and will widen and strengthen with exercise. The love and interest of Christ’s followers must be as broad as the world. Those who live merely for ‘me and mine’ will fail of heaven. God calls upon you as a family to cultivate love, to become less sensitive in regard to yourselves and more sensitive to the griefs and trials of others.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 530.
b. Name some important fruits of genuine love. 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.
“All who are imbued with [Christ’s] Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another. . . .
“When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart. This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 678.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why might God be taking me through experiences similar to David’s?
2. When does a bleak, dark cave fill up with light in a spiritual sense?
3. Why was Jonathan confident that the Philistines could be defeated?
4. Whom might God want me to visit as Jonathan to David in the cave?
5. What type of love—and toward whom—is God calling me to cultivate?