1 SAMUEL 23:15-17 – David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”
THEME OF THE DAY: A TRUE BIBLICAL FRIEND. This is a great, thought-provoking quote taken from Poems on Subjects Chiefly devotional (1780) by Anne Steele, “True friendship is the noblest earthly gift which heaven on man bestows. Not mines afford a gem of equal worth.” Another wonderful quote comes from the 17th century pastor/preacher Samuel Hopkins, “Friendship affords the highest and most sweet enjoyment that is to be had in this life, or that rational creatures are capable of.” The obvious common denominator in the two quotes is friendship.
So, what about friendship? Do we have friends? All of us would be quick to say, “Sure, I have friends.” By the way, I am not talking about Facebook friends. I was quick to answer my own question about friends with a “Sure, I have friends.” Notice I wrote “was” quick to answer as in past tense. The more I thought about it, the more I am not sure. Oh, there is also a book I have been reading titled Iron Sharpens Iron: Friendship and the Grace of God by Michael A. G. Haykin. He has contributed to me questioning my understanding of friendship. Here is a sample – Modern culture in the West is not one that provides great encouragement for the nurture and development of deep, long-lasting, satisfying friendships. Such friendships take time and sacrifice, and the West in the early twenty-first century is a busy, busy world that, generally speaking is far more interested in getting and possessing than sacrificing and giving. Moreover, during the course of the twentieth century, popular Western culture developed an obsession with individual selfhood and sexual desire that marginalized friendships.”
Haykin’s book is a book on the history of Christian friendships that include Biblical examples. My own conclusion is that I have a lot of acquaintances that I call friends who don’t meet the criteria for true Biblical friendships. That might be true of you as well, but the fault is not my acquaintances called friends. God’s Word says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). The responsibility to be a Biblical friend begins with each of us. We don’t wait for a friend. We become a friend. In today’s scripture is one of the finest examples of Biblical friendship – David and Jonathan. Study their lives together. Buy Haykin’s book. He writes of them. From Jonathan’s example, what may we take away as a practical step towards becoming a Biblical friend? Building from Jonathan and David, here is my expanded definition of a true, Biblical friend . . .
A person who encourages you in God, who points you away from yourself and onto Christ, who invests in your spiritual growth, and who loves you with the love of Christ that never leaves or forsakes you and shoulders life’s burdens with you.
I think it’s a good time to go from a lot of acquaintances that I think are friends to actually building Biblical friendship by giving the time and sacrifice to do so. Let’s do it together in our circles of brothers and sisters!
PRAYER: “Father, help me to be a true friend, not a casual acquaintance with Your people, but a friend pointing friends to Jesus.”
QUOTE: “You will have no better a friend than one that prays for you, points you to Christ, and consistently helps you grow in Christ.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,