Prayer & Grief

Key Text, 2nd Samuel 1:17-27. 

Have you ever viewed worldly people as dead, and felt sadness? See Ephesians 2:1, 5, & 5:14, 1Tim. 5:6. If yes, you have probably felt the need to let God know. Why do we experience this and what is God’s will for us concerning death? What is the Christian’s response to loss when in reality we are more than conquerors? Romans 8:37. David was certainly a conqueror, yet he really felt great loss. He is called a man after God’s own heart, and you can see that in his prayerful mourning for Saul & Jonathan. If we learn to mourn, lament or express our sadness to God in a similar way, we will receive the same kind of blessings from God, that David received. Cooperating with God’s word and will in submitting our many different emotions we experience as humans, Php. 4:6-7.

Why did David mourn for Saul & Jonathan? David mourned for Saul because Saul was the anointed of God before him, and Saul was mighty for God’s people. 1Samuel 10:14-16 & 15:1-9. He mourned for Jonathan because of their love for one another, 2Sam 1:26. There are 5 parts to David’s lament, we can learn from:

1. Sadness, v20: There is nothing to rejoice about, in the fact that people are lost spiritually. When Israel lost Saul & Jonathan, they lost a leader and great potential on earth for God’s will to be accomplished. The church is weaker when we lose family members that are not Christians, they are the saddest funerals to attend. We have a right to mourn. See Luke 19:41-45. Consider the constructive yet critical response Jesus had.

2. Justice Requested, v21: There is a sense in which we should ask God to execute justice on the cause of loss.  Most often, we know clearly why someone is lost, or dies. How many times have we heard an inpatient or immature Christian condemn someone at church for not wanting to be baptised or go to another denomination? Some of us have seen spiritual damage done by Christians acting hypocritical or over-judgemental, and it has caused an obvious pain and loss. Should we not ask God for action? 2Tim. 4:14-18.

3. Praising the Positive, v22-23: Even though Saul was a real enemy of David, he praised the positive attributes of Saul, which were numerous. In our sadness for the lost, we should accentuate the good they have done and build a common ground of thankfulness for them. Perhaps God will use our thankfulness to help bring about a change before it is forever too late. God’s goodness to people who cause problems in the church or are lost is a reality we can not afford to ignore! See Romans 2:4-6. Remember even Paul had to count Mark a blessing. 2Tim. 4:11.

4. Weep with those that weep, v24. Christians should have hearts that can empathize with current losses and problems of other Christians, Romans 12:15. This attitude enables the unity God gave us to grow and make our fellowship deeper, and our cause for Christ unstoppable! See Hebrews 13:3.

5. Do something which proves your love, v25-27. The strong ‘phileo’ love David had for Jonathan in their friendship went beyond the grave. It is healthy to express your sadness in a memorialising act. Jonathan’s only surviving son is Mephibosheth. He was 5yrs old when Jonathan & Saul were slain, he was living in charge of a nurse possibly because his mother was dead. His life is a series of disasters. His nurse carried him to Lo-debar amoung the mountains of Gilead, where he was brought up by Machir, son of Ammiel (2 Samuel 9:4). There he evidently married, for he had a son Mica when he returned later at David’s request. When David had settled his own affairs and subdued his enemies, he turned his inquiries to Saul’s descendents to see whether there were any survivors to whom he might show kindness for Jonathan’s sake (2 Samuel 9:1). He gave Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth a permanent place in His Court to live!

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