WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 17, 2020
TOPIC: TROUBLES REVEAL TRUE FRIENDS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?” (Proverbs 20:6 New Living Translation).
There are different kinds of troubles in life. Some could be personal while some could involve other people. Troubles could come because of something wrong one has done and there could be other reasons for them.
Probably, everybody will prefer a situation where he doesn’t experience troubles at all. However, the reality is that everybody experiences one trouble or the other. The nature and gravity usually differ.
Psalm 27:5 says of the LORD, “For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock” (New Living Translation). Nahum 1:7 also assures us of God’s protection in trouble: “The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him” (New Living Translation).
You may not know your true friends when things are going well for you. Negative situations will reveal your genuine friends. Proverbs 19:4 says, “Wealth makes many ‘friends’; poverty drives them away” (New Living Translation). According to Proverbs 14:20, “The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many ‘friends’” (New Living Translation).
But many of those some rich people call their friends are people who are only interested in their riches and not in them. They are not loyal to them; hard times will reveal they are not true friends. Some rich people actually know this. “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (Proverbs 17:17 New Living Translation).
Through thick and thin, real friends are glued to their friends, but fair-weather friends are not. They stop being friends when their friends are in trouble. They are just around you because of what they can get from you; they’re exploiters. In adversity, they abandon you. They don’t even mind joining others to keep you down in your trouble and not help you to overcome it.
“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 New Living Translation). Judas Iscariot ate with Jesus and still betrayed Him with a kiss (Matthew 26:23-25; Luke 22:48).
When King David was deposed by his son, Absalom, and he escaped from Jerusalem, many people stood by him, including Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. A man called Ittai the Gittite also stood by David. David asked him to go back but he wouldn’t. He vowed by the LORD and David’s life that he would go wherever David went, no matter what happened – whether it meant life or death (2 Samuel 15:16-21).That was loyalty to a man in trouble.
However, one of David’s advisers, Ahithophel, defected and became an adviser to Absalom (verse 12). That compounded David’s problem. This was because in those days, Ahithophel’s counsel was as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God (2 Samuel 16:23).
He was well respected for his advice. When someone told David that Ahithophel was with Absalom, he knew that he was in a bigger trouble. Therefore, David prayed, “O LORD, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” (2 Samuel 15:31 New King James Version).
The Bible does not tell us why Ahithophel joined Absalom’s rebellion. Some have suggested that being the grandfather of Bathsheba, he could have done that as a revenge for how David terminated Bathsheba’s first marriage by impregnating her and killing her husband, Uriah. Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam; Ahithophel was the father of Eliam (2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34). But the Bible is silent on why Ahithophel turned against David.
David did something else after praying about his defection. He discouraged his friend, Hushai the Archite, from escaping with him. He was one of his advisers. He asked him to go back to Jerusalem to act as his informant and pretend to be on Absalom’s side so that he could help him counter and defeat Ahithophel’s counsel.
As a true friend, Hushai did exactly that. He convinced Absalom of his loyalty but worked secretly in favour of David. He gave Absalom a wrong counsel, which defeated Ahithophel’s counsel and was in David’s favour. Absalom rejected Ahithophel’s counsel, which, truly, was better.
“Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father’s tomb” (2 Samuel 17:23 New King James Version). If Ahithophel had remained loyal to David in his trouble, there would have been no need for him to commit suicide. But God answered David’s prayer; Absalom rejected Ahithophel’s wise counsel.
David had three other people, Shobi, Makir and Barzillai, who were loyal to him in his trouble and gave him provisions after he had fled from Absalom.
The Bible focuses more on Barzillai, a member of the tribe of Gilead from Rogelim. He and the two others I mentioned brought provisions to David and his army at Mahanaim (2 Samuel 17:27-29; 19:34).
When David was returning to Jerusalem after the rebellion had been foiled, he asked Barzillai to come across with him and he would provide for him while with him in Jerusalem. But he politely turned down the offer because of his old age. He was 80 years old. However, he sent Chimham (Kimham) to cross over with David, asking David to do for him whatever seemed good to him (2 Samuel 19:31-40).
Even while he was on his deathbed, David never forgot the kindness of Barzillai when he was in trouble. He told Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who ate at his table (1 Kings 2:7).
What kind of a friend are you? What type of friends do you have? Troubles will reveal that. When the going was good, Job’s friends were all around him, but things changed after a series of adversity befell him. Job said that his friends scorned or rejected him, but he poured out his tears to God (Job 16:20).
He said in Job 19:13-14 that his relatives stayed far away, his friends turned against him while his neighbours and his close friends were all gone. Even his three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, who came to mourn with him, ended being miserable comforters (Job 16:2). Instead of comforting him, they were condemning him until God finally came to prove them wrong (Job 42:7-9).
However, after the LORD had restored the losses of Job, his family members and friends, who had deserted him, returned to him and feasted with him! Many will feast with you; only few will fast with you! Such is life.
“When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring” (Job 42:10-11 New Living Translation).
Lamentation 1:2 says Jerusalem has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies. Don’t be carried away by friends hanging around you. The friends who benefitted from you the most may turn their backs at you in the time of trouble. Then, you’ll know your true friends. The friends you least expected to stand by you, may be those who will go the whole hog and stand by you.
Troubles reveal true friends. “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?” (Proverbs 20:6 New Living Translation). Don’t be a fair-weather friend; be a loyal friend. Beware of friends who are more interested in what to get from you than in you. Nobody prays for troubles, but troubles reveal true friends.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be a loyal friend. I shall not be a betrayer in Jesus’ name. O LORD expose every enemy in my life pretending to be a friend. Deliver me from betrayers. (For over 270 in-depth and insightful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947