WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?
“And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.” I Samuel 23:16
David was living in the wilderness because of Saul’s intention to kill him. The Bible says that Saul was searching for David every day, but God did not deliver David to his foe. It was at this time that “Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.” When David most needed a friend, Jonathan was there to support him.
We need the right kind of friends in our lives. We learn, both from experience and from the Word of God, that we will be greatly influenced by our associations. It should be our desire to try to influence our acquaintances for Christ and invite them to church, but an acquaintance is not the same thing as a friend. Like Jonathan, a true friend is one who stands with us in times of need. Jonathan “arose, and went to David into the wood.” There he “strengthened his hand in God.”
A true friend encourages us spiritually. What a blessing it is to have such a Christian friend! We do not need friends who support us in evil or encourage us to do wrong. As Christians, we need friends who care enough about us that they will encourage us to do what God says and what will please the Lord. We all should be thankful for the positive support we have received from close Christian friends, perhaps a spouse or other family member, or a godly relationship with someone else. We often find these kinds of friends in our church family. We should certainly appreciate the encouragement we have received in our lives from close friends who have stood by us and encouraged our “hand in God.” It should be our goal to be the kind of friend that will strengthen the hand of the brethren. Christians do not need friends who are always negative and critical.
One of the amazing things about being a child of God is to know that Jesus can be our Friend. In John 15:15, He called His disciples friends. Jesus is the best Friend we could ever have. Like no other friend, He comes to us and stands with us in our times of difficulty. He strengthens our “hand in God.” He supports us and always encourages us to do the right thing. If you are saved, you have a Friend. Being alone, especially in a time of great testing, can be extremely difficult. It is good to have a shoulder to lean upon. For the Christian, we are never truly friendless.