Think of how many times we use the word “friend” in everyday language: “I’m going to a friend’s house;” “My friends and I are going out Friday night;” “She’s my very best friend;” “He used to be a friend of mine.” Perhaps the most careless use of “friend” is when we speak glowingly of the large number of friends one has. Interestingly, this is the opposite of the biblical perspective.
God had only one friend, Scripture says—Abraham (2 Chron. 20:7; James 2:23). David had only one close friend, Jonathan, the son of Saul (1 Sam. 18:1-4; 20:42). And out of the hundreds of people who followed Jesus during His earthly ministry, he called only 12 of them His friends (John 15:15). Do you recognize the common element in each of these examples of friendship? It is that the friends were in covenant with one another. God made a covenant with His friend Abraham (Gen. 15:18); Jonathan and David made a covenant with each other (1 Sam. 18:3); and Jesus began a new covenant with His disciples (Luke 22:20). The only modern parallel that we have to illustrate the seriousness of friendship based on covenant is marriage. No one boasts about the number of his or her spouses. Quite the contrary—worth is found in the marriage where the covenant vows of fidelity are honored for a lifetime. One spouse, one friend, forever.
Proverbs 18:24 is only one of many verses in Proverbs that illustrate the implications of friendship. The righteous choose friends carefully (Prov. 12:26), and don’t question loving wounds received from their friends (Prov. 27:6). But most of all, a person who has a true friend knows that friend will stick closer than anyone else will—even closer than a family member (cf. Luke 14:26).
Where do you find friends like that? Ironically, you should have millions of them if you are a believer in Christ. Because Christ initiated a New Covenant which binds all believers together through His shed blood (Heb. 9:15), every fellow believer is supposed to be a true friend to you, and you to them. Not an acquaintance, companion, or buddy—but a true friend. People who would lay down their life for you—and you for them (John 15:13).
God’s Promise to You: “In Me and in my church, you will never lack a friend.”
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