Jump Start # 3276
2 Samuel 13:3 “But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very shrewd man.”
Our verse today comes from one of the dark pages of the Bible. God doesn’t whitewash the reality of man’s disobedience and sin. Flawed, broken and misguided, God paints the true picture of how far sin can take one from Him.
Amnon was one of King David’s sons. He was infatuated with Tamar, David’s daughter, his step-sister. Amnon’s lust for her blinded his eyes to what was right. He had to have her in a sexual way. This is where our verse comes in. Jonadab, a friend, concocts a plan for Amnon to get what he wants. Amnon rapes Tamar. A couple of years later, Amnon is killed by Absolom for the revenge of this shameful act.
So many lessons to be learned from all of this, but one of the starting points is having a worthless friend, like Jonadab in your life. Throughout the Scriptures God guides us into the kind of friends we ought to surround ourselves with. People that are helpful, not hurtful. People that will encourage, and not defeat us. People that will bring us closer to the Lord and not closer to Satan.
Much too often we leave lessons like this for teen devos and their Bible classes. Yet, adults need help with this as well. The “evil companions that corrupt good morals,” of 1 Corinthians 15, was not the kid down the street who races his motorcycle late at night. Paul addressed those warnings to the saints at Corinth. The evil companions were fellow Christians who were teaching things that were not Biblically accurate. They were misleading the brethren. Paul was warning adults about fellow Christians! Maybe we need to remind adults about friends.
First, just because someone is in the family, or even the congregation, does not mean that they are good for me. Look at our verse today. If I get this correct, Amnon and Jonadab were cousins. They may have grown up together. However, Jonadab wasn’t good. He had no problem advising deception and breaking God’s law. Much too often we give someone a pass because they are in the family or we worship together. Paul was warning the Corinthians about someone among them, the evil companions. We tend to let our guard down and not be careful when it comes to family and brethren. This is how error slips in. Paul warned the Ephesian shepherds that trouble would arise from among them. Job’s wife gave the advice to “curse God and die.” Bad advice. Satan will use those very close to us to find a way to get us.
Second, it seems that Amnon and Jonadab were cut from the same immoral cloth. Likely that’s why they were friends. They had something in common, doing wrong. Rather than helping each other do what is right, they continued to pull each other lower and lower into the immoral sewer.
One can tell pretty quickly someone whose thinking, words, ideas and heart is far different than yours. Radically different isn’t a good compliment among friends. For the disciple, it doesn’t take long to realize that there is very little in common with a Jonadab. The more distance one can put between yourself and such a person, the better. Modern Jonadab’s will use you, take advantage of you, and leave you once they have gotten all they can from you. True friends would never do that. True friends won’t take and take. True friends will leave you better than where you are.
Third, shepherds in God’s church must be able to recognize the “evil companions” among us. Just because someone volunteers to teach a class does not mean that he ought to. Just because someone has a lesson worked up and wants to give it on a Wednesday evening does not mean that he should. The character, heart, and history of such a person has a lot to do with their integrity of Scriptures and their motives. Some will use public opportunities to push their agenda, hit every hot button, and stir things up. Rather than edifying, they cause a commotion. Rather than teaching, they create confusion. And, the leaders are often left to clean up messes that should never have been there. The Jonadabs today fill the hearts of others with ideas and suggestions that cannot be supported by Scriptures. They often want others to do the work of stirring things up, while they sit on the sidelines, whispering more false and dangerous theories into the ears of their friends.
Some just do not need to teach or preach because they themselves do not know where they stand. As the wind blows, so they lean this way and then that way. Unsteady, unsure, they are not in the position to teach, yet so many do.
Some will never admit that evil companions and Jonadabs dwell among us. The blinders that some continue to wear keep them from admitting what everyone else already sees. And, as long as leaders remain quiet, the work of spreading speculations, theories and error will continue.
Amnon had a friend. That speaks volumes.