Let Me Strengthen Your Hand
The Old Testament character David was a Cinderella story. His father Jesse may have been a man of some influence and wealth, but David was the youngest son. When Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel, he literally had to wait while David was summoned from the field where he was tending sheep! David’s anointing was not the end of the story; in fact, David would undergo much hardship before he finally ascended to the throne of Israel.
David did not became visible to the nation because he was anointed by Samuel (done secretly), but rather because he defeated Goliath, the Philistine champion, in personal combat. King Saul moved quickly from admiration of David to jealousy when the people of Israel began to honor the young warrior more than the king. Thus began a difficult chapter in David’s life as king Saul made various attempts to kill David.
God preserved the life of the future king by using Saul’s son, Jonathan.
After David’s stunning victory over Goliath, he and Jonathan had formed a close friendship and Jonathan was responsible for saving David’s life on several occasions. Despite Jonathan’s help, David eventually found it necessary to flee to the Judean wilderness to escape King Saul.
Cinderella had her share of discouragement as she went from rags to riches. David likewise was mistreated and probably discouraged at times.
While hiding from Saul in the southern wilderness, David fought against the Philistines on behalf of the Judean city of Keilah. When Saul discovered that David was in the city of Keilah, he made plans to capture David. David was informed by the Lord that the men of Keilah would deliver him and his men to Saul. What a bitter pill to swallow! Betrayed by the very people he had recently saved from Philistine oppression!
David had done no evil to Saul. Through no fault of his own, he was an outcast and a fugitive. It was at this point that Saul’s son, Jonathan, again entered the picture. Evidently knowing where David was hiding, Jonathan went to David and "strengthened his hand in God" (1 Samuel 23:16).
What exactly did Jonathan say to David to "strengthen his hand in God?" He evidently did more than simply assure David that he (David) would be the next king (1 Samuel 23:17). Perhaps David had begun to doubt the justice and strength of God. Maybe he was beginning to wonder if there was any profit in serving a God who would allow him to be chased around the countryside like a wild animal.
Probably Jonathan encouraged David to continue to trust God even when things looked bleak, to remember that sometimes even righteous people suffer, but that God has not deserted them. No man can thwart God’s plans or His promises. God will bring justice eventually. I actually do not know what Jonathan said, but this is what I would have said…and what I say to you to strengthen your hand in God.