WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020
TOPIC: WHEN THERE IS NO FRIEND
BY T. O. BANSO
“He has removed my brothers far from me, and my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me” (Job 19:13-14 New King James Version).
In Psalm 142, David voiced his loneliness. In verses 3-4, he lamented, “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life” (New International Version).
At the time that David sang this Psalm, he was in a cave running from Saul. He was depressed because he had no friends around. As he put it in verse 4, “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me” (New Living Translation).
Job, during his trials, said, “He has removed my brothers far from me, and my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me” (Job 19:13-14 New King James Version).
He said in verse 19, “All my close friends abhor me, and those whom I love have turned against me” (New King James Version). He described as miserable comforters, the three friends who were supposed to comfort him but rather condemned him (Job 16:2).
Sometimes someone could find himself in a situation where he is in the midst of enemies and has no friend or those who should be close to him have deserted him. Therefore, he could feel neglected, rejected, or lonely. This is the time when many people fall victim of wrong relationships because of the desire to satisfy their emotional need for love.
However, don’t open your life to just anyone because you are starved of love from friends and relations. You shouldn’t be under any pressure to attach yourself to just anybody or be running after human beings to be your friends.
Corrie ten boom, a survivor of Nazi German death camps, said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” Anyone who has had an experience of what she was talking about will have no problem agreeing with her.
Sometimes God permits loneliness in your life. He may be using such a situation to cut you off from people to do a new thing in your life, and to refocus you for a life-changing, destiny-revealing phase of your life.
In a period of loneliness like this, God may be calling you into intimacy. He may want to do in your life what no friend can do. God wants to be your Friend and wants you to become close to Him to know Him in serious fellowship.
Remember, the Bible calls Abraham God’s friend. “Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” (2 Chronicles 20:7 New International Version).
Isaiah 41:8 also reiterates the same truth: “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend” (New International Version).
Also, James 2:23 refers to Abraham’s friendship with God. “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23 New International Version).
Friendship with God, just like friendship with human beings, is cultivated in fellowship – sharing, communicating, studying, and understanding each other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (New King James Version).
Nevertheless, there are times when God may keep friends away from you. Yes, a situation of not having a human being as a friend could be painful but when the loneliness is of God, the friendship cultivated during this period becomes a genuine foundation to appreciate and relate wisely with friends when God brings them later.
At that time, you won’t go into friendship with human beings with a sense of insecurity or with the selfish desire of what you want to get from your friends. You are secure in God because you have entered into friendship with Him, which you are not prepared to compromise with any other friend.
Because of your understanding of that superior friendship, you can quit any friendship with a human being you know does not please God.
Don’t let the friendship with human beings replace intimacy with God. There are many times that only God can help you and not men even when they have the best intentions. Yes, God uses human beings to help but do you know the persons He wants to use to help you?
That’s why you mustn’t neglect, forsake, or trivialize intimacy with God. You must love Him not in a transactional way. In order words, you must love Him not because of what you want Him to do for you or what you want to get from Him. Love Him for who He is.
Don’t neglect God because you have friends in your life. Never let any human being replace God in your life. Men will always be men. And God will always be God.
Jesus called His disciples friends (John 15:15). But they deserted Him for a while after His betrayal by one of them, Judas Iscariot, and His eventual arrest. These deserters were friends! Eleven of them came back later. Only God stood by Jesus, although He thought He had forsaken Him (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). God never forsakes His own (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5).
Does it mean you shouldn’t have human beings as friends? No. Even David, who complained of loneliness in Psalm 142, later had friends who contributed greatly to his success. In fact, in the cave of Adullam, 400 men in a terribly bad shape came to him and he became their leader (1 Samuel 22:1-2). They later became mighty men of war.
Hushai was one of David’s friends. He helped him to frustrate the counsel of Ahitophel at the time David’s son, Absalom, rebelled against him and deposed him (2 Samuel 15:32-37, 17:1-14).
After he fled Jerusalem, following Absalom’s rebellion, Shobi, the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the people of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim helped David with the provision of food and other essential things he needed (2 Samuel 17:27-29).
Don’t despise the place of friendship with human beings in your life. But don’t also neglect intimacy and friendship with God. Don’t subordinate intimacy with God to friendship with human beings. Understanding the importance of intimacy with God will even help you to have and enjoy better friendship with fellow human beings because you know that the best of men are cannot be God!
Every Christian is familiar with the hymn “What a friend we have in Jesus!”? Joseph Medlicott Scriven wrote the lyrics in his time of depression. It is reported that he wrote the poem, which has become a popular inspirational hymn, to comfort his mother.
Scriven’s two attempts to marry were unsuccessful. The first lady he wanted to marry drowned a day to the wedding. The second lady also died before the wedding. A friend was said to have seen the manuscript and the music was composed by Charles Crozart Converse.
What a friend you have in Jesus! No friend can compare to Him. Let no man try to play God in your life, and don’t try to in the lives of others.
Always remember that when no man is there for you, God will always be there. During the period of famine and want, where were the friends of the prodigal son he had wasted his substance in riotous living with? (Luke 15:11-16). The only person there for him was his father to whom he returned (verses 17-32).
The only person you can be sure will be there for you always, and even if you are down or you miss it, is God. This is why you must move closer to Him. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Friendship with fellow human beings has great benefits but without first having a foundation of deep intimacy with God, it could, sometimes, be frustrating. When there is no friend, know that God is there for you.
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 cultivate intimacy with You. Help me to develop friendship with God above friendship with human beings. Father, give me friends that will not draw my heart away from you. Give me loyal friends that will stand with me in all circumstances. Holy Spirit, help me to be such a friend.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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