Tags: Biblical companionship, Biblical friendship, Biblical Parenting, Christian friendship, Christian parenting, destruction, parenting, peer pressure, Proverbs 13, wisdom
Such are some of the worldly cautions about carefully and wisely choosing your friends. The Bible says it like this:
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
The Lord tells us to “walk with” wise men. This is obviously not a reference to the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other. It is a reference to those with whom we spend time on a daily basis, and with whom we form bonds of friendship. We are to join ourselves to friends who are “wise,” and those who are truly wise are those who follow the teachings of God found in the Bible.
The consequences of ignoring Proverbs 13:20 are dire. Those who fall in with a company of fools are not promised a period of trial-and-error, or even a second chance. The outcome of making a wrong decision about our friends is “destruction,” and destruction, in the Bible, is a thing that may come suddenly, without warning. Destruction speaks of finality and utter obliteration. It is a serious warning.
For those of us with junior high or high school aged children, we need to be especially careful of modern Christendom’s “youth group” or “teen ministry” mentality, which says that children (characterized in the Bible as “simple” or “foolish”) need to find their primary sense of belonging with others of their own age. The children which God has entrusted to our care need to “walk with” and learn from men and women of “wisdom:” those who have reached a level of Christian maturity that causes them to base their attitudes and actions on Scriptural principles and precepts.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 6, 2 Samuel 13, Biblical friendship, Ephesians 4, friendship, James 4, Luke 11, Proverbs 27, true friendship
But Amnon had a friend, whose name [was] Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab [was] a very subtil man.
II Samuel 13:3 (emphasis added)
Christians are supposed to have friends and we are supposed to be friends. Did you know there is a difference between being friends with someone and being a friend to someone?
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
II Corinthians 6:14
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
As Christians, we are not supposed to get involved in the sinful activities of non-Christians, which means you really shouldn’t be friends with non-Christians, but you definitely should be a friend to all sorts of non-Christians. Therefore, we serve and love them, but we shouldn’t compromise our stand for Jesus, and we should make sure they know that our loyalty to Christ comes before our loyalty to them. So, if a lost person falls down, you help him up – that’s being a friend to him; but if he fell down because he was doing something wrong, you don’t start doing it too, because that would make you friends with him.
Let’s look at what it takes to be friends with another Christian.
One of the most important things to remember about being a Christian is that you are a forgiven sinner. You can’t be a Christian without acknowledging your sinfulness. Therefore, when two Christians are friends, that means two sinners have become friends. And sinners sometimes sin against each other. Friends make mistakes, they hurt each other’s feelings, they say the wrong thing, they let each other down sometimes. But if they are truly friends they respond to the sin of their friend the way that Jesus responds to our sins.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
If your friend is a Christian, then that means God punished Jesus on the Cross for what your friend has done wrong to you. Would it be right for you to punish your friend for something for which God has already punished Jesus? No. Be a good friend. Be forgiving. Be gracious. Be merciful.
Being a good friend doesn’t mean you always do what your friend wants you to do, but it does mean that you respond when your friend has a real need.
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
A good friend listens; he doesn’t just wait for his turn to talk. Even though listening is important, “doing” is usually the most significant part of service in Christian friendship, but not just “doing something.” They key is in doing what’s right for your friend in each situation – which means listening closely when your friend has something to say. Anybody can talk; it takes skill and patience to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth – some of us need to take the hint.
A good friend is someone who gives good advice. That means he evaluates what’s going on, and then finds out what the Bible has to say about something before he just blurts out whatever comes to mind.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so [doth] the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
Things that smell good are attractive – and they make people happy. The insight of a friend is the same way. “Hearty counsel” means insight or advice that turns out to be right. A good friend will pray about it, seek God’s will about it, look in the Bible, talk to someone wise about it, then carefully give good counsel. A bad friend says let’s just do the first thing that seems right, or let’s just do what everyone else does in this situation.
You can probably tell by now that I’m using an acrostic – F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – to list some qualifications of Christian friendship. Next time, we will look at the E.N.D.S.
Tags: 2 Samuel 13, Amnon, Biblical friendship, Biblical garments, Book of Genesis, clothes in the Bible, commentary on Genesis, fleece, Genesis, Genesis 38, getting fleeced, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, lessons on Genesis, levirate marriage, Onan, Proverbs 13, sheep-shearing, Sunday School lessons on Genesis, Tamar
Joseph was sold into slavery at about age 17. He reached the throne of Egypt at around 30. The narrative account of Joseph is put on hold for a little while in Genesis Chapter 38.
Garments or raiment or clothes or coats are a big deal in Genesis. Judah was deceived by his daughter-in-law Tamar while he was at Timnath for sheep-shearing. Getting fleece for garments, he was deceived by a garment. Isaac had been deceived by a garment when Jacob dressed up like Esau. Jacob was deceived by a garment at least once (Joseph’s torn coat), and maybe twice (his first wedding night). There is often a discernible symmetry when God applies his principle of reaping and sowing. God Law says that our coverings should be distinct, and He is the only One Who is never truly fooled by outward garments, which He establishes early on in the account of Adam and Eve (fig leaves versus animal skins).
Genesis 38 also gives us the account of the infamous “sin of Onan.”
And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
This brought into play what is called the “levirate” (Latin for brother-in-law) marriage. The sin of Onan is difficult to discuss in mixed company, although the text makes it plain enough. When people who are supposed to be spiritual and faithful to God get involved with the world, the result is often some kind of sexual sin.
And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
“Turned in to” is a helpful play on words. The Hebrew word for “turned” is “natah.” It means more than just to change directions; it means “to incline to;” “to bend to the will;” “to pervert.” Judah “turned in to (into) a certain Adullamite.”
“Hirah” meant “a nobleman” of the Canannites.
And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
“Shuah” meant “wealth.”
And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
“Er” meant “awake.”
And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
“Onan” meant “strong.”
And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah [a petition]: and he was at Chezib [false], when she bare him.
Genesis 38:5, parentheses added
Judah’s family was getting more and more worldly as he looked for wealth and strength and influence and deception.
God killed Er because He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was “awake” – aware of what he was doing and he did it openly. All evil is done in the sight of the Lord. He sees everything, but some people take special pleasure in wickedly defying Him.
Judah ended up being deceived by his daughter-in-law, Tamar, thinking she was a harlot – a prostitute. He tried to buy his way out of it when she got pregnant, and his sin was ultimately exposed.
Tamar delivered twins, and they struggled in their birth the way Jacob and Esau did. The baby with the scarlet thread came out second.
I just want to make one other point before we move on to Genesis Chapter 39 next time.
And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
Genesis 38:12, emphasis added
And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Genesis 38:20, emphasis added
And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
II Samuel 13:2-4, emphasis added
Choose your friends carefully.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.