Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 55, Friendship With The Lord

King Solomon offers us a few miscellaneous proverbs and then he discusses the type of friend who sticks closer than a brother. We talk about the most important Friend we can ever have.

"A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great." (Proverbs 18:16) This is not the same as a bribe, which Solomon deplores, but a gift brought to honor the person you wish to see. Solomon had visitors from many other nations and they brought him lavish gifts.

"In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines." (Proverbs 18:17) There are two sides to every story. He has learned to listen to both sides before rendering a verdict.

"Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart." (Proverbs 18:18) Solomon previously said in Proverbs 16:33 that the decision of the lot is the Lord's, so he may be referring to the practice of the high priest in casting lots to determine God's will.

"A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel." (Proverbs 18:19) Holding a grudge against someone is like building a wall between us and them. It's very difficult to get through.

"From the fruit of their mouth a person's stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:20-21) The Lord Jesus said, "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." (Matthew 15:11) Our hearts are revealed by what comes out of our mouths. The Apostle Paul tells us the type of things that should come out of our mouths, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22) The Lord said of the first man, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18) Solomon is telling us that it is a blessing from the Lord for a man to have a wife, to have a suitable helper. It's easier to face the trials of life with a partner than to face them alone.

"The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly." (Proverbs 18:23) Solomon has had people from all walks of life appearing before him in his courtroom. He's noticed that the poor are humble and respectful. They haven't learned to rely on their money because they don't have any money. But he's noticed that the wealthy aren't very careful how they speak in his courtroom. They've gotten used to getting away with things because of who they are.

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) We discussed this verse several days ago when Solomon was speaking about friendship. We have to be careful who we choose to be in our inner circle. If we rely on the wrong kind of people we will soon learn they can't be trusted. When hard times come they will desert us. But there are some friends who stick with us through thick and thin. They are like family to us. We know they can be trusted because they have proven themselves to us. Anyone who has at least one friend like this should thank God for that person. What a blessing to have a friend who sticks closer than a brother!

Whether or not you have an earthly friend who sticks closer than a brother, I can promise you have a Friend seated at the right hand of God who is willing to stick with you all the way. I'm so glad Jesus wants to be my friend! I have several wonderful friends who stick closer than a brother, but none of them is able to save my soul. None of them is able to change my circumstances when I need a mountain moved. None of them can say to my anxious mind with the authority of God, "Peace, be still." Only Jesus, who was called "a friend of tax collectors and sinners", can do for me the things I need most. (Matthew 11:19) Jesus considers me His friend, and I know He does, for He said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) He laid down His life for me! How can I ever doubt that He considers me His friend? No one else has ever loved me enough to die for me. No one else's death has the power to save my soul.

Thank You, Lord, for being a friend of sinners, because that means You are a friend of mine. I'm a sinner and You saved me. You did for me what no one else could do. You are that friend who sticks closer than a brother. I love You, Lord!

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