Dependable friendship

Dependable friendship

Proverbs 18:24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Psalms 25:8-15

 8 The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.

 9 He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.

 10 The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

 14 The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant.

 15 My eyes are always on the LORD, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” (Linda Grayson).

When we are young, most of us make friends easily. When we are old, not so much. And as we age, we get separated from our friends because of distance or their passing.

Who makes a good friend, and how do we recognize it?

“Friendship is love that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses” (Ann Landers).

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures [Job’s friends], have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares” (Henri Nouwen).

A friend knows and understands our pain. They love us not in spite of our pain, but because of our pain. In the Bible, friendship is primarily a relationship of mutual trust and congeniality (Harper’s Bible dictionary). It is often marked by an intimate bond, such as that exemplified by David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1).

Psalms 25 describes the Father as a dependable friend. He is a reliable caretaker, listener, and counselor. His advice and counsel are always right. Our friendship rests upon His loving kindness and faithfulness. The Father initiates and sustains it. We rely totally upon His gracious mercy.

Loving kindness and faithfulness are not only characteristics of the Father, they are the driving force behind His actions.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father is a perfect, best friend! Because of His love and friendship, He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to seek out and bring home those who were lost.

Father I am so delighted and amazed that You chose me to be Your friend. Encourage me every day to draw closer to You. You are truly my BFF.

INSIGHT

Many of us have had the experience of going to the airport to meet friends we have not seen for some time. When their plane lands we wait eagerly scanning the disembarking passengers until at last we see them. As soon as we can, we move as quickly as possible to greet them and hug them. This reunion is a time of great joy. While we are seeking them, they too are seeking us. This is what being good friends is all about.

In the story of Zacchaeus, he out of curiosity has come seeking to catch a glimpse of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because he was short in stature, he climbed a sycamore fig tree in the hopes that he would be able to see over the crowd. However, the Lord Jesus Christ has come seeking him (Luke 19:2-10).  Zacchaeus was the reason that the Lord Jesus Christ had come to Jericho.

In eternity past, the Father had scheduled a divine appointment for the Lord Jesus Christ to bring salvation to the home of Zacchaeus that particular day and hour. He made innumerable appointments throughout the millennia. Some involved salvation, others miraculous healings, and resurrections: the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the healing of the man born blind (John 9), and the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11) to name but a few examples. If you are a child of the King, His initial personal appointment with you as already been kept. Perhaps many more are to come.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and the people considered him a notorious and evil sinner. He made his living by extorting people and overcharging them. He was utterly hated and despised by them. This mattered not to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Zacchaeus typified the lost, outcast, guilty sinners that He was seeking to save.

Somehow the simple words of the Lord Jesus Christ were redemptive, transformative, and life-altering. When He looked directly at Zacchaeus, acknowledged, recognized, called him by name, and invited Himself to his home, it worked a total life transformation in him. Could it be that Zacchaeus was secretly, in his innermost heart, seeking a way out of his despicable lifestyle?

“Zacchaeus was wealthy but he was not happy. Inevitably he was lonely, for he had chosen a way that made him an outcast. He had heard of this Jesus who welcomed tax-collectors and sinners, and he wondered if he would have any word for him. Despised and hated by all, Zacchaeus was reaching after the love of God” (Barclay).

The interaction between the two was remarkable. Zacchaeus immediately renounced his wicked ways and promised to make reconciliation. He recognized in the Lord Jesus Christ as his new BFF. At the same time the Savior of the world, as only He was qualified to do, announced for all to hear that Zacchaeus had accepted His offer of salvation and was saved.

I can only imagine the joyful and tearful exchange and hugs that followed.

Luke 19:8-9

 8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

 9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.”

“God saves us, not because He thinks we’re smart or worthy of His Son’s work on our behalf, but because of His own nature and goodness. He saves us for His name’s sake and for His glory” (Stanley).

Romans 5:7-8

 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 John 15:13-15

 13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

 15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

The Father beckons each of us to come to Him and exchange our old manner of life for that which He offers. We exchange our solitary, heavy load and burdens for something far easier to bear: His (Matthew 11:28-30).

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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