1 Samuel 18:3 etc.





When someone says, “I’ve got your back,” it means that they are watching out for you.  A true friend is someone who cares so much about you that he’s watching your back to look out for you.  He’s a back watcher.


We want to look at the life of someone almost everyone has heard about, King David. 

·       David was a mighty warrior.

·       David killed the giant Goliath.

·       David became King of Israel, conquered many enemies, and ruled effectively.

·       David was a “man after God’s own heart”.

·       David had many friends who “watched his back”.


David’s friends were back watchers.  You and I can learn to be good “back watchers” from these friends of David. Also, we can learn from these people if the people who say they are our friends really are.  A friend will mess up once in a while, but if a person isn’t watching my back on a regular basis, he’s not my friend.  If I’m not watching his back on a regular basis, I’m not his friend.


So, let’s find out what makes a person a good “back watcher”.




King Saul was King of Israel when David was a boy and a teenager.  He started well, but rebelled against God.  God, through the Prophet Samuel, had told Saul that he disqualified himself as king.  God announced that Saul and his family would lose the crown.


Then came the days when Israel was challenged by a mighty giant named Goliath.  Goliath terrorized Israel on the battlefield for many days until David, the shepherd boy, stood up to Him.  David challenged the giant and then slew him with his sling and one rock guided by God into the head of Goliath.  In true warrior fashion David took Goliath’s own sword and cut off Goliath’s head.


Someone was watching David that day.  That someone was the king’s son and supposed heir to the throne, Jonathan.

Jonathan was a brave warrior and a godly man in his own right.  When David slew Goliath, there was an instant rapport between these two men, although Jonathan was probably about 20 years older than David.


1 Samuel 18:1 - And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.


As we’ll see in a few moments, Jonathan would become one of David’s “back watchers”.  But this friendship began with a brotherly love that was as strong as a person’s love for one’s self.   


Jesus tells us how important a back watching friendship is. Matthew 22:37-40, John 13:34-35


We are to love each other as Jesus loved us. Jesus loved us enough to watch on backs.  He died on the cross so that we might have forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. That’s love! That’s friendship! That’s back watching!   


1 Samuel 18:3 - Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.


A covenant is a pact. It is an agreement. It is a commitment between two individuals or families.  Because Jonathan loved David he made a covenant, an agreement to watch David’s back.




1 Samuel 19:1-2 And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. [2] But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:


You would think that David’s life became easier after he became a national hero having slain Israel’s biggest enemy, Goliath.


But that was not so.  It wasn’t long before King Saul figured out that the person who was going to succeed him as King was David.  Saul didn’t like that.  He wanted to remain King in spite of what God said. He wanted his descendants to reign in his stead.


Saul became David’s enemy.  It wasn’t long before Saul “put out a contract” on David’s life.  He told Jonathan and all his servants to kill David.


Because Jonathan loved David, he was watching his back. The first thing he did was to tell David to hide or “lay low” for a while. He warned David to stay out of sight so he didn’t get himself killed.


In 1 Samuel 19:4-7, Jonathan went and spoke up to his father in David’s behalf.  He went to his father and spoke of David’s innocence and faithfulness.


The end result was a temporary reprieve for David.  For a time, the death wish on David by Saul was suspended. David was back in King Saul’s good graces.


Jonathan watched David’s back by protecting him.

Part of protecting somebody is warning them.


Just as Jonathan warned David, you and I as good back watchers need to warn our friends when they are in danger.


You are not being disloyal to a friend when you tell him or her the truth! You are protecting them!

Galatians 6:1


Notice also that part of protecting a friend is to speak up in his or her behalf.


Jonathan not only warned David, but he spoke up for him.

Jonathan approached his father, King Saul, and pointed out that a death wish against David just wasn’t right!  He pointed out what David had done to prove that he was a loyal servant.  He championed David’s innocence.


There are times when we are to speak up for our friends to protect them.

Back watchers protect their friends by warning them and speaking up for them.




1 Samuel 23:16 - And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.


We are skipping a bunch of history here.  Saul’s antagonism against David escalated. David’s life was in danger big time. David had no other choice but to flee.


While Saul was doing all he could to kill David, David was hiding.  Jonathan made a secret and dangerous trip to David in order to encourage David.

If Saul found out what Jonathan had done, Jonathan would have been in big trouble!


Jonathan went and encouraged David in the things of God.

David was getting pressured by Saul.

David was probably getting discouraged.

Jonathan, watching David’s back, came to David and encouraged Him in the things that mattered, the things of God.


You call yourself a Christian.

A Christian uses the Word of God with the help of the Spirit of God to encourage his or her friends.


If your friend is not a Christian, you should encourage him or her to become one, even if that person becomes angry with you.


If your friend is a Christian, encourage him or her using the principles of God’s Word. 


Watch your friend’s back by encouraging him or her!




2 Samuel 15:19, 21 - Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. [21] And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.


David did eventually become king.

Many years later after his kingdom was well established, his son, Absalom, staged a rebellion against David. David again had to run for his life.


Many of David’s loyal subjects fled with him.

One of those people was a relative new comer and someone who was an exile from his own country, Ittai the Gittite.


I don’t know whether he meant to or not, but David tested his friend. He told his friend that he could back and be loyal to the new king. David was saying, “This isn’t your battle Ittai. Go on home and don’t worry about me!”


Sometimes you will be tested by your friends.

They will tell you “Don’t worry about me. Go live your own life. This isn’t your battle. It’s mine. Don’t get yourself involved.”


And sometimes we tell our friends the same thing.


The temptation, the test, is to distance ourselves from the problems of our friends and not get involved.


That is not what Ittai did.


2 Samuel 15:21 - And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.


Ittai told David, “As God lives, I’m with you wherever you are!”


Yes, we will be tested and tempted to distance ourselves from the problems of our friends.  But a real friend, a real back watcher sticks with his or her friend to the end!




Having said what I just said about friends sticking with friends, sometimes we help our friends best by not being right with them, but by supporting them at a distance.


The religious leaders, the high priests, were on David’s side.  So they picked up the most sacred piece of religious furniture, the Ark of the Covenant, and left Jerusalem!


David would not allow them to do that! 2 Samuel 15:25-28


David was basically sending the priests back for two reasons.  First, he was sending them back to be faithful to God.  God had called them to be priests and in Zadok’s a prophet. They were to remain faithful to God.


They were also to be part of David’s intelligence system and report to David through their sons, what was going on in Jerusalem.


The best thing you can do as a back watcher is to be faithful to God.

When you are faithful to God you will do what is best for your friends!   


2 Samuel 15:29 - Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.




2 Samuel 15:34 - But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.


There was a man in David’s court whose position was “friend of the King”.  He was to be a loyal, faithful friend.

Hushai was the man’s name. Logically, “the friend of the King” planned on leaving with the King. He was his friend.


David sent him back as a spy and as someone to confuse the counsel of a very wise man, Ahithophel.  Ahithophel was out to get David. Hushai was to prevent that from happening.


David trusted Hushai.

We are to be equally trusted.

Our friends should be able to trust us to do what is right and what is best for them even if it is dangerous, unpleasant and different.

We watch our friends’ backs when we are faithful




2 Samuel 17:28-29 - (They) Brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, [29] And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.


David had friends who took care of the physical needs of David and those that fled with him.

Sometimes we as friends watch our friends’ backs when we share with them and meet their needs in tough times.


Galatians 6:10 - As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.


Are you a good back watcher?

Are you watching the backs of your friends and loved ones?   










Who’s watching your back?

Whose back are you watching?