1 Samuel 23:16
“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.”
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for David. Saul’s rage forced him to flee the palace, and live the life of a fugitive. For safety sake, he dwelt in caves to hide from the king and his spies. He and his men came out of hiding at the command of the Lord, and risked their lives to rescue the city of Keilah from Philistine invaders, only to find the citizens of Keilah had sold them out to Saul. It is easy to see why both David and his men could become discouraged by their circumstances.
It is during this dark hour that David receives a visit from his closest friend. This visit will prove to be a source of great strength for David, and a powerful example for all who walk with Christ down through the ages. We read that Jonathan arrived and “strengthened the hands of David.” This figurative term speaks of encouraging him in such a way that David is able to step back into life and prevail over his difficulties. It is vitally important that we learn how to have our own hands, and the hands of others strengthened.
1 Samuel 23:17 “And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.’”
Notice Jonathan did not encourage David by simply painting a rosy picture of life. He did not give the patent “everything will be OK” speech. Platitudes and empty promises of hope are of little value in the real world. Jonathan gave David a true source of strength, reminding him of the promises of God. No matter what his circumstances said, the Word of God promised David would sit upon the throne of Israel. Jonathan brought David back to the unshakable promises of God, which brought strength to his weary soul. No matter what you are facing, you will find great encouragement in the pages of your Bible. Promise after promise is given, to strengthen our hands for the journey we are traveling, as we await the coming of the Lord.