As we end our series on friendship, we look today at Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (KJV) The New Living Translation (NLT) says it this way, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” It is wonderful to have friends who will stand by us. They have our back, and yet, they hold us accountable when we are wrong. They keep us on the straight and narrow and walk through life with us as companions.
I love how the NLT puts it, “A friend is always loyal.” A good friend is one we can turn to for help or just to spend time with and enjoy their company. When we build a strong bond with a friend like that, the relationship is held together because of the love friends share for each other. I also like how the NLT states that a brother (or sister) is born to help us when we are in need. That’s what I love about having Christian brothers and sisters in a fellowship such as the local church. They come together to assist those who are going through difficult times and rejoice with those who receive blessings from God.
God is also our Friend if we know Him as our personal Lord and Savior. He’s a closer Friend than any friend we have here on earth. Earthly friends can fail us sometimes, maybe not intentionally, but because we all are human, we are not perfect and there are times we make mistakes. But God is perfect! He never makes mistakes, and when we need Him, He never fails to show up. He is also our perfect example of a friend. He showed us how much He loves us by His actions. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)
David described the friendship of God, “How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health.” (Psalm 41:1-3 NASB 1995) Just as a friend reaches out to those who need help, God reaches out to us. Like a shepherd protects his sheep, God protects us, physically and spiritually, He is Jehovah- Rohi, our protector. He puts a hedge around us to keep us safe from whatever evil the enemy plans for us and delivers us from harm. God also is our healer, Jehovah-Rapha. Not only does He heal us physically, but He heals us Spiritually through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, His Son. God is our banner, Jehovah-Nissi, He fights our battles and gives us victory over the enemy. God is a friend who is always by our side, Jehovah-Shammah. He walks with us and is our constant companion.
God shows us by example how to be friends. Our relationship with our friends should look like His relationship with us. We are to stand alongside each other, helping, praying, and always being loving. We are to be loyal, loving, and steadfast friends.