All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
Here is an accurate observation by King Solomon. Human nature is quite ugly, when men’s motives are analyzed honestly. A man’s own family will forsake him, when he is financially poor. And he will certainly lose his friends, for they no longer see any reason to associate with him. Though he may express much affection, they leave him anyway.
Family is usually tighter than friendship, so the world says, “Blood is thicker than water.” But Solomon here taught that money is more important than family. The world should coin a new saying, “Money is thicker than blood.” Philosophical talk and romantic songs about eternal love and the precious value of a soul are nice, but the reality of life is that without opportunity for personal gain, most men will forsake both family and friends.
Some proverbs state an observation, and you must discover the lessons. Solomon observed that most men are selfish: when they perceive no further financial opportunity in a relationship, they will dump the person. And he saw that this horrible trait extended even to family and friends. What can you learn from this terrible indictment of your race?
Mankind is inherently selfish, greedy, and opportunistic. They know lust, or self-gratification, much better than they know love, or self-sacrifice. A wise man learns this trait of men and considers it when analyzing situations or making decisions involving others. He will remember the underlying ambition and selfishness in most relationships.
Most friends are fair weather friends. Their commitment and loyalty to you are only as deep as your pockets. When the going gets tough, they get going – right out the door. True friends, of whom the world knows little, are not so fickle. Solomon also wrote, “A [true] friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Pr 17:17).
If you earned your poverty by slothfulness or stupidity, you should not complain about your lack of friends: you drove them away by your own folly. Diligent and honest men rightly despise lazy and stubborn men. They fear to be near you, lest you will ask for another handout to subsidize your sloth. Get to work, avoid foolish scams, and save some money; they may return (Pr 19:4,6; 20:4; I Thess 4:11-12; II Thess 3:6-12; Eph 4:28).
The only true friends are those united to you in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. They are not fair weather friends, for outward circumstances or ambition neither motivate them nor affect them. They are committed to you by their love of God and His family. They are more interested in your perfection than their profit. And they value love and peace over any menu or ambiance of a fancy meal in the world (Pr 15:17; 17:1). Where are such precious friends found? In a church of Jesus Christ, where they assemble for these very purposes.
It may be said about true Christian friends, “Blood is thicker than blood,” meaning that a relationship in Jesus Christ’s blood is stronger than family ties of blood or similar DNA. It may also be said about such friends, “Blood is thicker than money,” for a relationship by Jesus Christ’s shed blood exceeds any thought of silver or gold. Friendship with born again Christians will be very different from Solomon’s observation of worldly friends.
There is no shame in legitimate poverty for those that follow Jesus Christ, for He chose the poor of this world to be His children (I Cor 1:26-29; Jas 2:5). Though false friends may leave and forsake you, the blessed God, Who adopted you to an eternal inheritance with infinite riches, will never forsake you (Rom 9:23; Eph 1:18; 2:7). Think about Lazarus and his great reversal of fortune with the rich man that ignored him (Luke 16:19-23). God’s love is everlasting and unchanging, regardless of circumstances (Ro 8:38-39).