Charles Swindoll has a sermon about this stage in David’s life entitled “Every Crutch Removed.” In life, we come to depend on lots of different things: parents, job, spouse, children, friends. But what do you do when all those things are gone?
David lost his job in chapter 19, as well as his wife. Michal saves David’s life, but, at least according to the text, their relationship is never what it once was. He is also separated from his mentor, Samuel, in that chapter.
In chapter 21 David will lose his self-respect, acting the part of a mad man to save his own skin before the king of Gath.
And here, in chapter 20, David begins to lose a friend. It’s not that Jonathan will cease being his friend. It is that circumstance will drive them apart. According to the text, they will see one another only one more time.
Martha Snell Nicholson has written these words:
One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”
So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
with my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!
I am not saying God took these crutches from David, because the text doesn’t say that. But in David’s desolation, he would have no one to look to but God. And that would be enough. The Lord had said: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). The evidence from David’s writings is that David learned that lesson well. Take note especially the message of Psalm 91.