I Samuel 23:17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
What kind of character did Jonathan have to have to be willing to step down from the position of leader, future king of Israel, to allow David to lead? His father is afraid of losing his position but Jonathan willing gives up his position. Jonathan was much more likely to have a position by surrendering his position and trusting God than Saul was. Saul fights to keep what God is taking from him while Jonathan gains by giving up his position.
Here is a tremendous message for families and the relationship between a man and his wife. The wife like Jonathan is of no lesser value, importance, intelligence etc. Jonathan was born to be a king. He was trained to be a king but realized that God had someone else in mind to lead and was willing to submit to him. Interestingly David never asks him to submit. Jonathan submits because he sees that it is the will of God for his life. A good family message can be developed from this verse and Biblical principle.
Jonathan’s willingness to step down is also a major leadership lesson. He realized that to accomplish God’s will for the kingdom he would have to give up what was his. He was willing to put aside his name, his goals, and his own good for the good of the kingdom.
Another principle to consider is that Jonathan could submit because he had seen the power of God exhibited in the life of David. I doubt that he could have or would have been willing to submit to a regular person but then David was a giant killer. David was a man that obviously had the power of God on his life.
Please remember that Jonathan is a real man’s man. He is no weakling. He has won a great victory for the cause of Christ in Israel. His willingness to step down is not an indication of weakness but strength and maturity.