In 1 Samuel Chapter 18, we read of the lovely attitude that Jonathan, Sauls son, had towards David. Jonathan was undoubtedly older than David and also the heir to the throne; so he should have hated David for being so popular in Israel now and thus being a threat to him. But instead, we see a pure love and respect in his heart for David. This indicates that Jonathan was one who was more concerned for the glory of God and the good of Israel than his own personal advancement; therefore, he did not have any of the jealousy that plagued his father Saul. His heart was closely knit to David. He gave David his royal robe, his sword and his bow, thereby saying, Here, David. By giving you these, I am indicating that you are the rightful heir to the throne (the robe) and I will never fight against you (sword and bow). I submit myself to you (18:4).
What a fine young man Jonathan was. In 1 Samuel Chapter 14, we read of his faith in God by which he overcame the Philistines. And here we see his total freedom from jealousy and his discernment to recognise whom God had anointed.
It is wonderful when an older brother can recognise the anointing of God upon a younger brother, and allow the younger brother to take the lead over him in the ministry.
We see a beautiful example of that in Barnabas. In Acts 13:2, we read of God calling Barnabas and Saul for His work. Barnabas was both senior and older to Saul, and so it was only natural that his name came first. But very soon, this became Paul and Barnabas (v.42). How? Barnabas graciously withdrew into the background when he saw a greater anointing on his younger brother Paul.
What a powerful force the church of Jesus Christ would have been on earth, if it had more people like Jonathan and Barnabas in it, who did not seek their own, had no jealousy whatever, but instead sought the glory of God alone, and were quick to support younger brothers who had a mightier anointing.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon