Posts Tagged ‘true friendship’


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

The aroma, odor, or scent of good cologne or perfume can bring deep pleasure to your soul through your olfactory nerves (Pr 7:17; Ps 45:7-8; Song 1:3; 3:6; 4:10). Scent is a powerful sense. The effect is immediate and strong. In the same way, a good and honest friend can lift your spirit and cause great pleasure by sincere and profitable advice. This is an observation of Solomon. Do you have such friends? Are you such a friend?

Man by nature is selfish, and most friends pursue their own agenda and interests in their relationship with you (II Tim 3:1-2; Titus 3:3). They do not tell you this directly, but they talk far more about themselves than inquire about you. They love you for your ears! Their talk is self-centered, superficial, and without tangible value for your soul. They eat with you, banter with you, and flatter you, but they do not truly serve you for your own good.

Most friends are little more than acquaintances. They tell you about their circumstances, and they may even inquire about and listen to yours. They send you a birthday and anniversary card, and you return the same to them. They consider mutual flattery and your companionship when they need it to be sweet, but they know little to nothing of the sweetness described in this proverb. If you lose your health, position, or wealth, they are not nearly as friendly; they may even disappear (Pr 14:20; 19:4,7; Ps 38:11).

Great friends do much more (Pr 17:17; 18:24; I Sam 18:3; 20:17). They are more interested in your profit than their pleasure, your perfection than their peace. They understand true love – the sacrificial desire for your prosperity in soul and body. Hard times in your life do not drive them away from you; hard times draw them closer to you: they know they can fill a greater role and help you more in difficulty than in success.

What is hearty counsel? It is counsel from the heart – genuine, sincere, and affectionate. It is counsel filled with goodwill and kindly sentiment, warm with affection and friendly feelings. It is the opposite of superficial chatter, foolish banter, selfish exchanges, or evil flattery. And it is more than advice and instruction, no matter how true and valuable. Sympathetic understanding is a balm for the soul (Rom 12:15; Job 2:11-12; 42:11).

How is it sweet? It is rare, comforting, and provocative to the soul. It stirs the spirit with confidence, goodwill, hope, joy, and thanksgiving. As pleasant odors can stir the body, so hearty counsel pleasantly enlivens the soul. Pleasures are far better shared, and sorrows must be shared (Eccl 4:9-12). Most measure friendship as sweet depending on what they take from the relationship. But that is not true with godly friends (Matt 7:12; Acts 20:35).

Jonathan and David were the greatest friends in the Bible. They met after David killed Goliath and became Israel’s hero. Though the heir apparent of Israel’s throne, Jonathan loved David for his courage, graciousness, and godliness. While other men would have envied and hated David, Jonathan loved him as his own soul (I Sam 18:1-3). The affection and loyalty were so fervent that Jonathan covenanted his life and service to David, and David covenanted to protect Jonathan’s family (I Sam 18:4; 19:1-2; 20:9-17).

When fleeing for his life from King Saul, David often hid in obscure places for safety. Jonathan, though the king’s son and heir to the throne (I Sam 20:30-31), and though a mighty man of valor himself (I Sam 14:1-17), went into the woods and encouraged David in the Lord (I Sam 23:16). Jonathan reminded David of God’s faithfulness and promised his own. He lifted David up from spiritual discouragement and heartily comforted him. How sweet that friendship and counsel was to both of them that day in the wood!

Consider the counsel Jonathan gave David (I Sam 23:17). He first said, There is no reason to fear my father; God will deliver you (Ps 27:1-14). Then he said, You will be the next king, because God will keep His promise (I Sam 16:13). Third, he humbly submitted to God’s choice of David and promised his devotion and service (Pr 17:17). And fourth, he told David that his father knew he had chosen David over him (I Sam 20:30-31).

Was this friendship and counsel sweet to David? The answer is clear (I Sam 23:18). They made a covenant together before the LORD. Jonathan promised his loyalty and service to David above his father and Israel’s throne; David promised Jonathan his desired position and the perpetual care of his family. How sweet the friendship and counsel was to David! He counted Jonathan’s love greater than the love of any of his wives (II Sam 1:26).

Jonathan was not David’s only friend. This virtuous man had many friends. Consider Ittai the Gittite, one of many of the best of the Philistines that chose treason against their nation to spend their lives serving David (II Sam 15:16-23). Consider Hiram king of Tyre, who did favors for David and his son out of love to him (I Kgs 5:1; II Sam 5:11).

There are other friends in the Bible. Consider Jehu and Jehonadab purging Baal worship from Israel (II Kgs 10:15-28). Do you know of Paul and Timothy and the building of New Testament churches among the Gentiles (Acts 16:1-3; Phil 2:19-22; II Tim 1:1-5)?

Have you read of Aquila and Priscilla giving hearty counsel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-28)? Andrew was a true friend to Peter (John 1:40-42), and Philip to Nathaniel (John 1:43-51). What of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17; 3:1-5; 4:13-17) and Luke and Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1)? And Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-46)? And you cannot forget the hearty counsel that Jethro gave Moses (Ex 18:1-23).

Hearty counsel includes rebukes and warnings. David wrote, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities” (Ps 141:5). Kind correction by one who desires your perfection is sweet and true friendship. Contrary to the world’s ideas, true love corrects sin (Le 19:17). Godly men desire wounds of a friend more than kisses of an enemy, and open rebuke is better than secret love (Pr 27:5-6).

David had many wives, but he only had one great friend among them. Who was it? Not his first love, Michal, for she despised his intense love of God and His worship (II Sam 6:20-23). Not the mother of Solomon, Bathsheba, for she participated in the heinous sin of adultery with him (II Sam 11:1-5). It was Abigail, who heartily warned him against ruining his reputation by the murder of her wicked husband (I Sam 25:1-44). How sweet was this counsel? He blessed her and married her as soon as she was available!

Where are such friends found? They are very rare, but they are found among the disciples of Jesus Christ, who have learned true friendship from their Lord and Master (John 13:34-35; 15:11-17). These rare Christians are in the true churches of Jesus Christ, where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have molded men’s hearts to be the sacrificing, serving, sensitive, and sympathetic friends that this proverb describes (Phil 1:3-5). After all, the blood and doctrine of Jesus Christ are by far the tightest bonds of all among men.

How do you learn such friendship? By the fear of the Lord, the love of Jesus Christ, walking in the Holy Spirit, and the practice of I Corinthians 13:4-7! It is these ingredients and these alone that will make you a heart-rejoicing friend. There are no shortcuts. Neglect one of these factors, and you will be a vain friend (Pr 18:24). You have the ability to relate to other men (Pr 27:19), and you must use it to improve them (Pr 27:17).

There is no room for selfishness, self-protection, or self-promotion in true friendship. You must be willing to expose yourself to your friend in order to help him. How else can you comfort him when he is in trouble “by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Cor 1:4)? The apostle instructed, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another” (Jas 5:16). Can you develop this heart of a true friend?

How important are such friends? They should be esteemed and protected above your own family members (Pr 27:10). Great efforts must be made to avoid offences (Pr 18:19). Solomon kept Hiram as a good friend, who had always been a lover of David (I Kgs 5:1-18). But foolish and profane Rehoboam forsook his father Solomon’s friends for his own ignorant buddies and lost the majority of the kingdom to his enemy (I Kgs 12:1-20).

Dear reader, will you add the precious odor of true friendship to this vile world? Or will you add the stench of selfish insensitivity? Will you make your way to the house of God and find this soul communion among the saints of God? If your church lacks this kind of friendship, then show them how it is done. And honor those that do it to you. There is no friend like Jesus Christ, so begin by cultivating your relationship with Him.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18.24 – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but here is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Loneliness is everywhere-many people feel cut off and alienated from others. Being in a crowd just makes people more aware of their isolation. We all need friends who will stick close, listen, care and offer help when it is needed-in good times and bad. It is better to have one such friend than dozens of superficial acquaintances. Instead of wishing you could find a true friend, seek to become one. There are people who need your friendship. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then take on the challenge of being a true friend.


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 27:10 Do not forsake your friend your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you-better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away

Great men have great friends. Here is precious wisdom. But very few men qualify as great friends. It is very prudent to keep such friends, even above a blood brother. A small band of committed and virtuous friends is far better than the natural relationship of family. Blood may be thicker than water, as it is said, but it is not thicker than godly character in Jesus Christ! “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Pr 18:24).

When trouble comes, and it will come, you want a real friend to stand with you, one that loves at all times and considers your problems to be his own (Pr 17:17). You want a friend that thinks the same as you and will stand with you no matter the cost or difficulty. A cultivated friendship based on character, conviction, truth, and wisdom will far surpass the expected help of a natural brother that is only connected to you by blood and name.

Your success depends on great friends, for there are four benefits (Eccl 4:9-12). When God gives such a friend, it is a great blessing. Solomon used this proverb to help his son rule a great nation that stretched from the Euphrates to Egypt. He himself had benefited much by his father’s friends, Hiram the King of Tyre (II Sam 5:11; I Kgs 5:1-18) and Benaiah, captain of the bodyguards (II Sam 20:23; 23:20-23; I Kgs 1:38; 2:25-46).

Consider inspired history. Joseph found greater kindness from foreign captors than his brothers. David found greater loyalty and service from vagabonds than his envious brothers, and he found greater love and loyalty from Jonathan. Jesus found greater sympathy and loyalty from His disciples than His brothers (John 7:1-5; Luke 22:15).  He knew His true friends were those who heard the word of God and kept it (Matt 12:46-50).

God chose David for his pure heart (I Sam 16:6-13). Jonathan saw this clearer than his envious brothers did (I Sam 17:28). Though losing much, he loved him dearly (I Sam 18:1-4). Loving virtue above family and career, Jonathan chose David over his own father (I Sam 19:1-7). They made a vow against the blood ties of Jonathan (I Sam 20:1-17) and included their children (I Sam 23:42). David valued Jonathan’s love above women (II Sam 1:26), and he saved Jonathan’s son when he was in need (II Sa 9:1; 21:7).

Godly friends are superior to blood brothers, for the relationship is built on a better foundation. They are superior for their regenerated hearts, the precious blood of Christ, the absolute truth of God’s Word, godly hatred of compromise, a life pursuit of holiness, and the hope of eternal life. The Bible recognizes these friends as dear as one’s own soul, even distinguishing them from a precious wife (Deut 13:6; I Sam 18:1,3; 20:17).

Do you understand the importance of this lesson? Without great friendships based in godliness, who will help in the day of your calamity? You will go down and stay down. Two are better than one for four reasons, and you risk your future by not securing good friends (Eccl 4:9-12). A wise man will secure his life and that of his family by doing what is necessary to preserve vital friendships with noble and virtuous men.

There is a place for godly networking, though the objective and methods are infinitely superior to the world’s effort to find contacts and customers for their own selfish ends. The great God instructed His messengers to be lovers of good men (Titus 1:8), as Paul was of Timothy (Acts 16:1-3; Phil 2:19-23; II Tim 1:1-5). Most so-called Christians have no clue about great friends, because they despise men that are holy (II Tim 3:1-5).

What kinds of friends meet the intent of this proverb? The context, unusual in Proverbs, gives valuable traits of godly friends (Pr 27:4-5,9). True friends love at all times, whether you are in good or bad circumstances (Pr 17:17). They are chosen for their fear of God, love of truth, and personal righteousness (Ps 119:63). Do you know such men? You cannot cheat on any of these measures, or you will lose the benefit you are seeking.

The blood of Jesus Christ creates an immediate bond greater than human blood, when two lovers and followers of Christ meet by the kind providence of God. There is no selfishness, self-protection, fear, doubts, or hidden agenda between such friends. They fully trust each other (I Sam 14:6-7), and they strengthen each other in God (I Sam 23:14-18). And they love to unite their zeal in doing great things for God (II Kgs 10:15-16).

False friends, who comprise the vast majority of all men in the world, are fair weather friends – they only stand with you while it is easy and profitable (Pr 14:20; 19:4). Or they are carnal friends, whose friendship is based on worldly compatibility. Or they are weak friends, whom you must constantly help due to their lack of character. David had no use for false brethren or the harsh spirits of his nephews (Ps 101:3-8; 144:11; II Sam 3:39).

Do you deserve great friends? Loners do not have them, for they are too selfish to give. Rebels lose out because their unruly spirits are dangerous and offensive. Compromisers will not have any, for they cannot be trusted. The greater zeal a man has for Jesus Christ, the greater he will be loved by such men. Godliness and virtue attract godly and virtuous men; and godliness and virtue drive away carnal men. Holy living will bring holy friends.

In order to have great friends, you must be friendly (Pr 18:24). In order to keep them, you must not forsake them (Pr 27:10). Friendship is a two-way street, and you are foolish to think that great men should need no encouragement. It is the providential blessing of God that brings great friends into your life, and most of them should be found in your church, if it is a church sold out to Jesus Christ (I Cor 12:18). Some can be thankful they have double brothers or sisters, united by both family blood and Jesus Christ’s blood!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 27:6 – Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Who would prefer a friend’s wounds to an enemy’s kisses? Anyone who considers the source. A friend who has your best interest at heart may have to give you unpleasant advice at times, but you know it is for your own good. An enemy, by contrast may whisper sweet words and happily send you on your way to ruin. We tend to hear what we want to hear, even if an enemy is the only one who will say it. A friend’s advice, no matter how painful, is much more valuable.

True love wounds! Kisses often lie! Here is a great proverb of true friendship and love. No matter what you think, true friends wound each other – they correct, rebuke, and warn each other for their mutual perfection. These faithful gestures of love are precious. On the other hand, false friends may easily show much outward affection or attention, which are a lying cover for their selfish hearts. Lord, give us wounding friends!

Solomon rejected the world’s idea of love. If we believe their love songs, they think love is pleasure taken from another person. Consider, “If you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with,” and, “Will you still love me tomorrow?” The words, “I love you,” are to many just a lie to get something from another. Of course, if both persons are lying and taking from each other at the same time, they call that “great chemistry.”

Who cares if you send cards, kiss, or say the three words? They are not proof of anything of value! They might very well be cover for your selfish ambition to take advantage of another person! Who cares if you shake hands, smile a lot, and give many compliments? Flattering others to obtain their response for mutual self-love is disgusting! These are not evidences of friendship or love. Only wounds show true friendship and love!

True friendship and love give! And they give for the benefit of others! Love is selfless! Lust is selfish! True love is finding the blessing in giving to another. Since pleasing God and having a good account on the Day of Judgment are life’s greatest goals, the highest measure of love is helping another meet those goals).
If you truly love another person, all your actions toward them will be governed by the goals of helping them please God and prepare for the Day of Judgment. Therefore, you will correct, rebuke, and warn as necessary. You will not coddle, compromise, or overlook actions that hurt their relationship with God or lead to sin in their life. Godly love will not cover sins: it will correct sins. It will not condone evil; it will condemn evil.

This truth about friendship and love is too high for most. They believe the devil’s lie that friendship and love are seeking pleasure and keeping things comfortable, happy, and peaceful in relationships, regardless of another’s conduct. But if you truly care for a person, you will want to help perfect them If you do not rebuke their sin, you hate them!

What kind of friend do you want? What kind of friend are you? Do you want one who pampers your fancies and flatters your vanity? One who enjoys your presence, cheers you with kindness, and serves you? Such a friend will not help. You are a sinner; you need a real friend, who will watch for your soul and correct you when necessary. The other kind is quite worthless, very deceitful, and will leave you wanting in the time of real need.
Godly men are anxious to have their faults pointed out, and they are very grateful when another will perform the selfless act (Ps 141-5: Let a righteous man strike me –it is a kindness; let him rebuke me-it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it).

Where can you find godly friends described and implied by this proverb? In a true church of Jesus Christ, where the duties and privileges of friendship and love are exemplified, taught, promoted, and required. You need the body of Christ, made up of unique members chosen by God, for maximizing your spiritual prosperity!
Who loves you the most? The one having the most mutual pleasure with you, or the one doing the most for you? If you learned from this proverb, you know it is the one doing the most for you. If you are one of God’s elect, Jesus Christ gave His life for you and lives today for you. And He wisely chastens your every fault for your perfection in holiness. He is the greatest Friend you will ever have!