David is a very talented musician. We might forget that piece of his character with all the fighting and displays of his military might. David was quite an individual. We all have different ways of mourning our losses, and in this case, David turns to song.
David was progressing through the stages of grief identified by the Kübler-Ross model. The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Other models would add guilt. People move through these emotions in different ways. I think David used this song as he worked through these stages.
To me, one of the most touching lines in David’s song are, “How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death.” David was truly devoted to both men. The respective relationships played out in different ways to be sure. Despite being hunted down by Saul for reasons unknown to him, David remained steadfast and loyal to the king God had appointed.
It would have been easy for David to kill Saul and get on with his own kingship, but David had restraint. That restraint was fueled by his respect and devotion to God. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where the easy way out is not “God’s way.” We can probably identify with David’s challenge in doing the “right” thing.
Losing a dear friend must have been hard for David. We were given a glimpse into their relationship, and it seemed to be deep and lasting. Knowing Jonathan’s great success as a warrior, it would seem David would be looking forward to having him by his side in war. That would never happen now.
David didn’t want the people to forget Saul and Jonathan. “Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.” Israel was able to witness David in his grief. This poem records such a deep, hurtful moment in the life of Israel. This poetry gives the whole community time to grieve.
In our day and age, many people try to skip over the grief to “get on with it.” I think we can take heed to this example and try to change that. People need to take time to grieve not only the loss of a loved one’s life. We can grieve the loss of a job, a relationship, even a pet. I can think of many friends who are dealing with one or more of these life events. Grieve, I say!
When I lost my mother to cancer almost 30 years ago, I stuffed my emotions and buried myself in my work. I cried a few tears, but not the rivers I should have, considering she was my mother, my rock, my biggest fan! I still miss her terribly and find myself especially mournful when I least expect it.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:4, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Isaiah 53:4 speaks these words which point to Jesus, “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!”
We are not alone in our sadness. Take some time today to grieve if you’ve experienced a loss in your life.
Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for your loving arms around me, comforting me, and bringing me peace. I can think of many losses I’ve endured over my life, and I thank you that you were beside me for each one. Forgive me for not taking time to fully process those situations with the assurance you would comfort me. May I be a help to others going through a time of sadness in their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.