The Blessings and Hazards of Companionship

April 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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“Don’t cave in to peer pressure.”
“Don’t run with the wrong crowd.”
“Be a leader, not a follower.”
“If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”

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.

Proverbs 13:20

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 flip side of this advice to walk with wise men is the warning to avoid the companionship of fools. Fools are those who refuse to acknowledge God.

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.


Peer Pressure and Robin Hood Theology Exposed

March 20, 2015 at 10:56 am | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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In a previous lesson I mentioned that many of the laws in the Covenant Code were casuistic. However, there were also apodictic laws. For example:

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Exodus 23:2-3

Apodictic laws are res ipsa laws – laws that are self-evident, that speak for themselves. They are abundantly clear about what they mean. They are not intended to be demonstrations (the way casuistic laws are) of specific instances. Apodictic laws were appropriate for God’s people because God is a God of absolutes as well as application. However, apodictic laws are far more rare in the ancient codices of pagan cultures. In an ungodly society a law that says “thou shalt not kill” is far less likely to be found because it would depend on who you killed. God is not a respecter of persons, so His laws seek to treat equally all those who are created in His image. So, we see verses in the Covenant Code like:

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Exodus 23:2

This means, “Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t cave in to the peer pressure to do evil. Don’t get caught up (or ‘caught down’) in any downward trends of violating justice because of favoritism or popularity.” This was a very wise command for the people in Moses’s day, and it is a very good reminder in our day, too. “Do the opposite of everyone else” is not a perfectly sound rule for Christians in every instance. We’re not just contrarians – just being antagonistic or different for the sake of being contrary – but observing what is popular in the world can be a pretty good indicator of what displeases God, and it is often something to take into account. Jesus is the “Way” and He is a “way,” and we know His way is narrow. It’s never the road of the majority.

Just as Exodus 23:2 warns against the danger of popularity, the next verse warns against the temptation to equate poverty as automatic evidence of righteousness.

Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Exodus 23:3

In other words, don’t favor the wealthy and the popular just because it might benefit you, but don’t favor the poor when they are in the wrong just because you feel sorry for them, and want to seem holy by sticking up for them. God’s command is: Just do justice – do right – regardless of your personal bias.

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