And now we turn our attention to Ruth’s great-grandson, David and his best friend, Jonathan. I love these two guys! I especially love Jonathan’s selfless faith and unqualified love.
Jonathan’s father, Saul, was chosen by God to be the first King of Israel, (I Samuel 10.) He was chosen because, in the eyes of the people, he was the most qualified man to rule the nation. He was taller than most men, handsome, athletic, and came from a good family with a good reputation. Isn’t this exactly what we look for in our leaders? But he was also insecure - in himself, but also in the Lord’s working through him - and this insecurity lead to arrogance, as it so often does. He made the Lord very angry in I Samuel 13 when he offered an unlawful sacrifice, and the Lord promised then and there to replace him as king.
And who did God look for as a replacement? Well, he went after the seemingly unqualified, young shepherd boy and harpist, David. Now we know the end of the story - how David became a great warrior and a king who was called “a man after God’s own heart,” and who became the ancestor of our Savior, Jesus. But put yourself in Saul’s and Jonathan’s shoes. Along came this young kid who captured the hearts of the people and had great success in everything he did! It’s no wonder that Saul became very jealous!
But Jonathan wasn’t. Jonathan looked past the lack of qualifications and saw in David what the Lord saw in David. And rather than hold on to the kingship for himself - he could have, you know, because he was the rightful heir to the throne after his father - he willingly gave it up for David and for the Lord! In I Samuel 23:16, (NLT) we read, “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” This is amazing to me! In his unqualified love for David, Jonathan looked past David’s lack of qualifications to be the king, accepted the Lord’s will, and declared that he will be David’s strongest ally in his kingdom! What a beautiful love story!
Switching gears now, I want to look at a modern day love story. You may have seen the movie End of the Spear. What a powerful message of unqualified love! There are so many amazing men and women in this story, but I want to focus on Elisabeth Elliot, who has been called one of the most influential women of our time.
Elisabeth was born in Belgium to missionary parents. Her upbringing planted in her a heart to see lost souls won for Christ, especially in Ecuador. She set out to learn the Quechuan language so she could translate the Bible for the Ecuadorian indigenous people to read. She had met her future husband, Jim Elliot, in college, and their shared passion for the people of Ecuador and for mission work brought them together. They were married in 1953 and had a daughter in 1955. Jim and some of his missionary friends felt lead of the Lord to reach a vicious and militant tribe of indigenous Ecuadorians called the Aucas. Things seemed to being going well, until members of the tribe brutally murdered Jim and the others while they were attempting to make contact. Elisabeth was left alone with her 10 month old daughter to raise.
But the story doesn’t end there...
If there was anyone undeserving of Elisabeth’s love, it was the Aucan people. But Elisabeth did something remarkable! She looked past their lack of qualifications, and loved them with God’s unqualified love. She and Rachel Saint, the sister of one of the other missionaries who died with Jim, learned the language of the Aucas and moved into their tribe! They established a written language and led many of the tribe to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ! Elisabeth’s and Rachel’s unqualified love for the unqualified Aucas led to a total change for that tribe!
“Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.” Elisabeth Eliot
Elisabeth recognized that only through the Lord and His eternal, unqualified love, can we love the unqualified. May we learn to love like Elisabeth and Rachel, and like David and Jonathan.