NOVEMBER 16, 2021



“There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 Revised Standard Version).

Not all friends are true friends. Some hang around others pretending to be friends because of what they will benefit from or are benefiting from them. Proverbs 19:4 says wealth makes many friends but the poor is separated from his friend.
A wealthy person, therefore, should not be misled to think that all those milling around him are true friends. Many times, adversities help to differentiate between real friends and pretenders.

Verse 7 of Proverbs 19 says the friends of the poor desert him. Why? Because they believe there is nothing to benefit from him again. They are not true friends. “Wealth makes many ‘friends’; poverty drives them away” (Proverbs 19:4 New Living Translation). Such friends are fair-weather friends. “A friend is loving at all times, and becomes a brother in times of trouble” (Proverbs 17:17 Bible in Basic English).

Are you always there for your friends? Job’s friends forgot, mocked, abhorred, and scorned him (Job 19:14; 19; 12:4; 16:20). The psalmist said his loved ones and friends stood aloof from his plague, and his relatives stood afar off (Psalm 38:11)

True friends stick to their friends in all situations. “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 New Living Translation). The Revised Standard Version says, “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” True friends are scarce. Be one.

Be careful! The righteous should choose his friends carefully (Proverbs 12:26a). Don’t lean on an enemy and call him a friend. Don’t make a pretender your confidant. He is double-faced. He will tell you something in private and do something else in your absence. He pledges his loyalty to you but joins your known enemies to fight you. He had been an enemy all along and he is worse than those who have not hidden their hatred for you.

These friends are like the people of the days of prophet Micah. He warned in Micah 7:5 not to trust in a friend or put your confidence in a companion. The situation was that bad that he said, “Guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom” (Micah 7:5b New King James Version). Some Bible translations render “her who lies in your bosom” as your wife. Betrayal!

Are you sure that your friends are true friends or pretenders? Are you a true friend or a parasite? Are you dependable? Or are you a hypocrite and betrayer? In the Bible, one example of a true friend is Jonathan the son of Saul and David. They were both true to each other. Jonathan was a true friend to David even at the risk of his life.

1 Samuel 18:3 says, “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul” (New King James Version). Another translation says, “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul” (Revised Standard Version). The New Living Translation Version says, “And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.”

Do you love your friends as yourself? The Bible says to love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. He didn’t love him because of what he wanted to get from him. David and Jonathan came into each other’s life after David had killed the Philistine champion, Goliath.

He was brought to Saul, and they talked, after which “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul (1 Samuel 18:1 New King James Version). Saul didn’t allow David to return to his father’s house anymore.

Consequently, David and Jonathan made a covenant, because Jonathan loved him as his own soul (verse 3). To demonstrate his love for David, he took off the robe that was on him and his armor, sword, bow, and belt and gave them to David (verse 4).

Jonathan remained true to David even when his father was after his life. In 1 Samuel 20, David told Jonathan about Saul’s plot to kill him, which Jonathan was first couldn’t believe because his father would always confide in him whatever he wanted to do. But David told him that Saul hid his plot from Jonathan because he knew he had found favour in Jonathan’s eyes and didn’t want to hurt his son (verse 3). They were covenant friends.

Jonathan assured him of his loyalty, saying that if he was aware that his father had wanted to kill him, he would have told him (1 Samuel 20:9). David requested him to sound out his father and report back to him. Jonathan promised to do so. “Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul” (1 Samuel 20:17 New King James Version).

When Saul asked Jonathan about the whereabouts of David, Saul insulted his son because he had given David whom he wanted to kill the permission to travel. Angrily, he said, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die” (1 Samuel 20:30-31 New King James Version).

When Jonathan asked his father what David had done that he wanted to kill him, he cast a spear at him to kill him. Jonathan would have been killed by his father because of his loyalty to his covenant friend but the spear missed him (verse 33).

Having established that his father was determined to kill David, he went back to report to him as agreed. If Jonathan had not been a true friend, he could have betrayed him to his father since he knew where he was. In fact, his father had told him to go and bring David.

However, Jonathan didn’t hand him over to his enemy the way Judas Iscariot led those who arrested Jesus to where he and the other disciples were (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11). When Judas led a mob, armed with swords and clubs, to arrest Jesus, He said, “Friend, why have you come?” (Matthew 26:50). A friend indeed! With a friend like Judas, you don’t need an enemy!

Back to the story of David and Jonathan. The two of them had an emotional parting after Jonathan had confirmed his father’s determination to kill his covenant friend. 1 Samuel 20:41-42 says, “As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, May the LORD be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’ So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city” (New King James Version).

Jonathan was loyal to David even when he knew that David and not him would become king. He was not envious of him. He went into the wilderness to meet him and encourage him while his father was looking for him to kill him.

1 Samuel 23:16-18 says, “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.’ So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house” (New King James Version).

David and Jonathan were true friends. After the death of Saul and his three sons, including Jonathan, David mourned their death (2 Samuel 1:17-27). David also showed loyalty to Jonathan in death. He kept the covenant between them. David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1 New King James Version). He asked Ziba, one of Saul’s servants, a similar question in verse 3. Consequently, David showed kindness to a lame son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, for his father’s sake (verses 3-13).

In 2 Samuel 21, the Gibeonites asked for seven men of the descendants of Saul to be delivered to them to hang before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul. This was to make atonement for Saul’s action of seeking to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah contrary to the covenant of protection between the Gibeonites and the Israelites. David granted their request so as to end the three-year famine caused by Saul’s action. However, David spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan because of the LORD’s oath that was between him and Jonathan (verse 7). 

David and Jonathan were faithful friends. Theirs was true friendship. Proverbs 20:6 says, “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” (New King James Version).

Are you a faithful friend? Choose your friends wisely. Don’t choose friends based on physical possessions or material benefits. Don’t go into a friendship to take advantage of others. Don’t be a parasite. Stop betraying your friends. Love your friends as yourself. Be a true friend.


If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 true friend, not a betrayer or pretender. Father, Your Word says a man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Help me to be a true friend who sticks closer than a brother. I shall be loyal to my friends at all times; I shall not be a fair-weather friend. Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. I shall love my friends as I love myself in Jesus’ name.

(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit

T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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