May 20

Trusted Friends Trusting in God

John Donne proclaimed that no man is an island. But often in our day of cyber friendships, distant relatives, and acquaintances, we often find ourselves feeling very alone. We may drift through normal days with this but a distant thought, but in times of trouble the reality of feeling alone comes crashing home. We are so busy in our day to day lives and cultivating friendships takes time that we do not have.

As Christians, we may even spiritualize our lack of friendships, saying that God is all we need or that God plus me equals a majority. While in a sense this is true, it is far from God’s ideal for our lives. God created us as relational beings that we might long to relate to Him. But He also made us relational beings that we might long to relate to one another as well. This is why we all, Christian and non-Christian alike, understand that a true and trusted friend is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy.

Much of today’s reading returns us to the time in David’s reign as king when he is facing opposition on every side. One of his most trusted men, Joab, leads his men out to battle. In chapter 19, Joab finds himself surrounded by the alliance of the Ammonites and Syrians – two mighty foes.

1Ch 19:10-13 (ESV)  10 When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. 11 The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and they were arrayed against the Ammonites. 12 And he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you. 13 Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what seems good to him.”

Joab, in this time of opposition, called on trusted friends and brothers. We see the very nature of such relationships in v.12 — one of help in time of need. This is when a true friend is needed and when a false friend is revealed. None of his confidence in these men diminished that his ultimate confidence was in the sovereign strength and goodness of God. God often reveals His strength and goodness through such friends.

Some of the greatest tools you have available to you, Christian, in your journey of following after Christ in a world full of so much hardship and opposition are godly and trusted friends. One of the most frequent complaints I receive from struggling Christians is that in their need they find themselves without the support of friends and brothers. Typically this is true in part because they have not stood by others in their struggle and difficulty. They had other more pressing matters to attend to. Such relationships must be tried to be true.

Are you valuing the time it takes to build such godly relationships? Are the relationships you are building the sort of godly relationships that will point you to confidence in God or to some lesser thing? Are you thankful for those gifts God has given you called friends?