Proverbs 17:17

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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A true friend never fails, no matter what. A true brother is always ready to help in time of need or trouble. King Solomon described excellent friends and brothers in very few words. You must ask if you are such a friend, and you must ask if you have such friends.

Two are better than one! The solitary life is lonely and vain. Good friends help in four ways – they share in successes, they help when you fall, they provide encouragement and synergy, and they help oppose enemies (Eccl 4:9-12). Successful men have great friends.

Such friends are not found easily; they are a blessing from God. And such friends must be carefully preserved by careful efforts (Pr 27:10) and sincere friendliness (Pr 18:24; Jn 15:15). If you deeply offend a friend, it may be very hard to recover them (Pr 18:19). Look for friends among zealous saints (Ps 101:4-8; 119:63; Titus 1:8). They are won by a pure heart and gracious speech (Pr 22:11; I Sam 18:1). Holy living brings holy friends.

Jonathan and David were friends. Jonathan loved David as his own soul (I Sam 18:1-4). David described Jonathan’s love as greater than that of women (II Sam 1:26). There was no competition or envy between them. They strengthened each other in the Lord (I Sam 23:16). Back to back with swords, no enemy could touch them! Face to face, no lovers could match their affection! Their covenant of friendship, in life and death, was glorious.

Men say, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning family ties are stronger than friendship or marriage. But the sons of God know better. They say, “Blood is thicker than blood,” meaning the bond in Christ, by His blood, is stronger than the bond of family. The best marriages are when a man marries his sister – his friend in the Lord (I Cor 9:5). No man has forsaken family for Christ that did not find a better, larger family (Luke 18:28-30).

Christians make the best friends, for God alters souls to match. They fear the LORD, believe the truth, adore Jesus Christ, follow Bible wisdom in life, have true love in their hearts, and know they will spend eternity together. They exhort and rebuke each other to perfection, which is sweeter than kisses (Pr 27:5-6,9). The world cannot know such unity!

It did not matter Paul was on trial for his life, Luke was there (II Tim 4:11). It did not matter Jesus was crucified by rabid Jews, John was there (John 19:26-27). Fair weather friends, as they are called, are never there when you need them (Pr 14:20; 19:4). Demas evilly deserted Paul, but Timothy more than made up for it (II Tim 4:10; Phil 2:19-22).

What kind of a friend are you? The first lesson of this proverb is to examine yourself to see if you are the only kind of friend that counts. What kind of friends do you have? The second lesson is to examine your friends and make sure you have the good kind.

Jesus of Nazareth, reigning as King on David’s throne, is the greatest Friend. He gave His life for you; He lives to make intercession for you; He will never leave or forsake you.