We Need Friends

Reading the Word

Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.(Proverbs 27:10, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

To understand this passage, we must take all of the verse together. The instruction to not go to a brother’s house during a time of calamity is connected to forsaking friends. We should not bypass the help of a friend to go to family in times of trouble. The second half of the passage reinforces this understanding by reminding us that a neighbor that is near is better than a family member who is far away.

Fostering relationships outside of family is not only necessary to share the Christian message of the gospel, but it is also wise and beneficial. This may be more true now than even when this proverb was written. We live in a much more mobile world and it is quite common for people to live where they are separated from their family by great distances. Given this separation, we need to build other support structures, which includes friends and neighbors.

Have you spent the time to build friendships? Such relationships have many benefits, including having a support system when needed. Do you have friends and neighbors that you could turn to if something happened? Could they turn to you? Take the time to build those relationships. We all need them and family is not always able to fill the role.


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The Rebuke of a Friend

Reading the Word

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.(Proverbs 27:5, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

How is rebuke better than hidden love? They both seem like bad things, but I would much rather not be rebuked. This proverb becomes clearer when we realize that it speaks of the rebuke of someone who is our friend. We often do not think of it this way, but real love wants what is best for the other person and sometimes that means confronting wrongs and seeking to correct them. This is the meaning of rebuke. It is a good thing when our friends love us enough to confront us when we need it. It is much better than hidden love that ignores us and our failures and allows us to continue in our destructive ways.

The next time someone close to you wants to talk about something going on in your life because they think you have gotten off-track, instead of becoming angry and defensive, remember that they love you and want what is best for you. Consider their words. They just might see something that you have failed to see.


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Respect Your Neighbor’s Space

Reading the Word

Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.(Proverbs 25:17, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s proverb begins with the phrase “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house.” The word seldom is also translated as “precious” in some translations. The word precious is not a bad translation, but it can have two interpretations. Precious can mean something that is greatly desired, but it can also mean something that is rare or scarce, like precious metals. The idea of scarcity is the point of this proverb.

Why would this proverb tell us to make our time in our neighbor’s house scarce? Spending time with a neighbor or friend can be a wonderful thing, but it also possible to wear out your welcome by not respecting boundaries and privacy. If you are always there, you can become a burden. Be a good neighbor and look to build your relationships with others, but understand that part of being a good neighbor is respecting the time and space of others.


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The Rich and the Poor

Reading the Word

Proverbs 19:4 (ESV)

4 Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.

Proverbs 19:6–7 (ESV)

6 Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.

7 All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

I am back from vacation. It was a nice week away. I hope you enjoyed reading some of the old posts that were shared throughout the week. Today, we are back in Proverbs and talking about wealth. This is a topic we can all relate to. We all use money and possessions, but there can be a large gap between those who have much and those who have very little. As these verses tell us, our wealth can also influence our personal relationships.

The poor person struggles to maintain friends. The wealthy has many companions. This may seem to cast a favorable light on the wealthy and a negative one on the poor, but that is not the point. The point of these verses is to show us that not all companions are true. Some are only there because they can get something out of the other. Once the benefit is taken away, they are gone. What kind of friend are you? Are you the kind who is only interested in what you can get out of a relationship? Or are you the kind of friend who loves the other person for who they are, even if it means there is nothing they can offer in return except their words?


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We Need Others

Reading the Word

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

Understanding and Applying the Word

An important observation to make in interpreting this proverb is that the first half and second half are using synonymous parallelism. This means that “friend” and “brother” are not being used to contrast against each other, but the two are being used to stress deep, intimate relationships. The proverb is saying that those we are in close relationship with, like a true friend or a family member, love us and support us in all situations, including times of adversity.

Going through difficult times is hard. Having someone close to you in those times can make all the difference. This is what true friendship and family support is designed to be like. It is also what our church relationships should provide. Do you have the close relationships that help you through times of adversity? Give thanks to God for those bonds. If you do not, pray that God would bring those people into your life and look to be that person for others.


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But I Will Trust in You

Psalm 5522 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 55:20–23 (ESV)

20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Some “friends” are not true friends at all. They simply say all of the right things and do all of the right things to mislead. In reality, they are seeking their own interests and not what is best for others. These types of relationships often cause the greatest harm. As a result, when we are hurt, we are often tempted to distance ourselves from everyone so it does not happen again.

People and relationships will often disappoint us. People are sinful. People are selfish. This includes all of us. Yet, we can trust in God. He is faithful. He is true to his word. And he is gracious when we fail. Let us cast our cares on him and trust him in our times of need.

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