(Prov 27:10 NIrV) Don’t desert your friend or your father’s friend. And don’t go to your family when trouble strikes you. A neighbor nearby is better than a family member far away.
This morning we continue our series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” Solomon had a lot to say about the value and importance of friends. Here he teaches us about counting on friends, especially when your family members are too far away to be of any true help. What I just said may sound strange in today’s age, because our entire planet is interconnected. You can just as easily send money to your brother who is halfway around the globe, as you can to your neighbor who is across the street. But in Solomon’s day the technology was not there. If you were far from your family you had to truly rely on your friends.
When I think of this I think of Solomon’s father David. David left his family behind as he sought to pursue his purpose and take the journey toward the throne. However, this would be no easy ride. David faced many challenges along the way, most of which came from king Saul. Saul wanted David killed and he ordered several attempts on his life. So it might surprise you to find out (if you did not know already) that David’s closest friend was Saul’s son Jonathan. While David was away from his family and basically on his own, he found help in a true friend. It just so happened that this friend was the son of the man who wanted him dead. Jonathan risked the fury of his father to stick by David and if it were not for Jonathan (and the Lord, of course), we may have never known who David was. Jonathan was there when David’s family could not be.
Another example of this in scripture is the special relationship between Paul and Barnabas. Paul was a Jewish zealot who saw it as his purpose in life to have Christians arrested and killed. He pursued and persecuted Christians with all his might. But then one day the Lord got a hold of him and let him know that Jesus was actually the Messiah and that the people he was persecuting were doing the will of God. Paul quickly attempted to change sides, but no one in Christ wanted anything to do with him. Most early believers were either too afraid or too skeptical to deal with Paul. It was not until Paul met Barnabas that things began to change for him. Barnabas stood up for Paul, vouched for him, traveled hundreds of miles to see him, helped develop him, and eventually help usher Paul into the ministry. Barnabas was there for Paul when no one else was, not even his family. You know what happened next. Paul went on to write half the New Testament and he is one of the most prominent characters in the early church. However, we might have never heard of Paul if it were not for Barnabas. Barnabas was a brother to Paul, even when his blood brothers were not there.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Developing and maintaining relationships is not easy, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
2. A true friend will be there, even when your family members can’t or won’t. Dr. D. L. Moody once said, “A true friend is like ivy—the greater the ruin, the closer he clings.”
3. Remember the law of sowing and reaping; if you sow true friendship and kinship, you will reap true friends and family!
4. While it is true that blood is thicker than water, you have to realize that there will be times when your blood-family can’t help. On those occasions you need true friends who will be there for you!
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for my family and friends. I have and I value both. I declare, by faith, that I will be loyal to my family and friends all the days of my life. I will not only be there for them when things are going good, I will also be there for them in times of distress, despair, and desperation. You use me as the conduit through which You can reach my family and friends, because they know they can call me in trouble and that You will speak to them through me. Not only can they count on me, but I am willing to count on them. I lean on my family and friends for support. I love my family, but I thank You for blessing me with friends who will be there for me when my family can’t. I am glad that I am not alone! I have You Father and the wonderful support of both family and friends. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!