May 14, 2020 – Developing True Intimacy

Read Proverbs 18

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

 

The verse anticipates a problem that we have or will have. There is a need in man for other men. There is a need to fellowship, for friendship. Solomon is answering the question, “Why don’t I have friends.” It is assumed that the proverb is given to some that have a great need in their life to have a close friend. 
 
Solomon states that in order to have a friend, you must show yourself to be friendly.  In other words, friends don’t find you, you find them.  If you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend. There is a work that is involved in friendship.  That work has a cost and a price attached to it. It requires giving of oneself to another person. 
 
Then Solomon continues, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” In seeking friendships, we are often disappointed because so many friendships do not last. We lose friends by saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. Friendship is very fickle. We are constantly looking for the kind of friend who will stick close to us. 
 
I am wondering what Solomon is thinking when he writes this proverb. His dad, David, had a close friend. That friend was dear to David. David writes in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
 
 The Hebrew word that is translated “familiar” is the word shalom, which means peace. Barnes translates it, “the man of my peace.” The man with whom I was at peace; who had no cause of alienation from me; with whom I was associated in the most peaceful and friendly relations.’
 
In another Psalm we read, “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalm 55:12-14)
 
This was a man who David thought was a friend. They had a close friendship. They had sweet counsel together and even walked to the temple of God in company. This man was the one who turned against David. 
 

It is hard to find a genuine, intimate friendship. The reason? There is a cost to unconditional love. There are times in that kind of love when the love you have will not be returned. But we have the promise that there is a friend who will always stick closer than a brother. You will have the blessing of knowing that even if all others forsake you, you still have a friend who is closer than any brother to you. The art of having an intimate friend is really about being with Christ, and becoming like Christ.

 

An Exercise to Increase my Faith: It is hard to judge friendships. We expect our friends to like us, because we like us. We expect our friends to stick with us, but we need to ask the question, “Are we really willing to stick by them when they need us?” How deep does our commitment go to the friendship? The state of your “stick-to–it-ness”  is really a measurement of your relationship with Christ. The more we become like Him, the more intimate our relationships will be with others.  Not because the others are closer, but because we have learned the cost of unconditional love.

 


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