A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17
In high school, I had a “sometimes friend.” We were “buddies” at our church, and we occasionally hung out together outside of school. But at school, it was a different story. If she met me by herself, she might say hello; but only if no one else was around. Realizing this, I rarely tried to gain her attention within school walls. I knew the limits of our friendship.
We’ve probably all experienced the pain of disappointingly one-sided or narrow friendships. But there’s another kind of friendship—one that extends beyond all boundaries. It’s the kind of friendship we have with kindred spirits who are committed to sharing life’s journey with us.
David and Jonathan were such friends. Jonathan was “one in spirit” with David and loved him “as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1–3). Although Jonathan would have been next in line to rule after his father Saul’s death, he was loyal to David, God’s chosen replacement. Jonathan even helped David to evade two of Saul’s plots to kill him (19:1–6; 20:1–42).
Despite all odds, Jonathan and David remained friends—pointing to the truth of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times.” Their faithful friendship also gives us a glimpse of the loving relationship God has with us (John 3:16; 15:15). Through friendships like theirs, our understanding of God’s love is deepened.
Reflect & Pray
Who do you consider a true friend? Why? How is it comforting to know that God is our truest friend?
Heavenly Father, we long for friends. Please open up doors to true, lasting, and God-centered friendships.
1 Samuel 15:1-23
God has our best interests in mind. His plans for each believer are meant to bring fullness of life. Yet He didn’t create us to be robots, programmed to blindly follow Him. No, the Lord grants us the choice of whether to obey Him. Our human nature tends to choose a self-centered path that turns away from God’s authority. But in doing so, we miss His best for us.
Consider the life of Saul. God chose this man to be king and provided guidelines for him to follow. Though Saul knew the Lord’s instructions, he chose to do things his own way. At times his sin was unquestionably deliberate, such as his attempt to kill David out of jealousy. At other times, however, his rebellion seemed less clear-cut. For example, despite God’s order to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites and their animals, Saul spared the best of the herd, with the justification that he intended “to sacrifice [them] to the Lord” (1 Sam. 15:3, 15:21).
The choice to disobey cost Saul the throne and eventually led to his destruction. He chose the road that he thought was best, but as we know now, the end result wasn’t worth it. We can learn from his mistakes. Partial obedience is actually disobedience. And any disobedience falls in the category of rebellion, which is sin.
Though our circumstances are different from Saul’s, we face the same types of choices each day. We’re just as vulnerable to the lure of temptation. But if we choose to live God’s way, the Holy Spirit will help us follow His lead and listen for His voice. And there we will find fullness of life.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
Since God in His essence is Spirit (note John 4:24) and is omnipresent, one might wonder how He could have physical eyes. The fact is, however, that the Bible frequently refers to His eyes. In fact, this phrase, “the eyes of the LORD,” occurs no less than 21 times in the Bible.
While this is hard to understand in one way, it is wonderfully clear when we remember God is omnipotent and omniscient, as well as omnipresent. “He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9). We may not be able to understand the actual seeing mechanism of spiritual eyes; nevertheless, “the eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
The prophet Zechariah reminds us not to “[despise] the day of small things,” for they will be observed by “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10). The phrase is used first of all in connection with those terrible times when “the wickedness of man was great” and “the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:5, 11). Yet God could still see righteous Noah there. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8), and he and his family were saved through the awful worldwide Flood.
The last usage of the phrase is in Peter’s epistle, quoting Psalm 34:15: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). We do well to remember always that one of the great names of God is “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13) and then conduct ourselves accordingly, aware that our God is indeed watching us with deep love and concern. HMM
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Sin, I repeat, in addition to anything else it may be, is always an act of wrong judgment. To commit a sin a man must for the moment believe that things are different from what they really are; he must confound values; he must see the moral universe out of focus; he must accept a lie as truth and see truth as a lie; he must ignore the signs on the highway and drive with his eyes shut; he must act as if he had no soul, and was not accountable for his moral choices.
Sin is never a thing to be proud of. No act is wise that ignores remote consequences, and sin always does. Sin sees only today, or at most tomorrow; never the day after tomorrow, next month or next year. Death and judgment are pushed aside as if they did not exist and the sinner becomes for the time a practical atheist who by his act denies not only the existence of God but the concept of life after death….
The notion that the careless sinner is the smart fellow and the serious-minded Christian, though well-intentioned, is a stupid dolt altogether out of touch with life will not stand up under scrutiny. Sin is basically an act of moral folly, and the greater the folly the greater the fool. MDP047-048
Keep me from sin today. Deliver me from “moral folly.” again in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Jesus Christ.—Philippians 3:12.
Let no man think that sudden in a minute
All is accomplished and the work is done,
Though with thine earliest dawn thou shouldst begin it,
Scarce were it ended in thy setting sun.
Frederic W.H. Myers.
Nothing so purifies the thoughts, heightens the acts, shuts out self, admits God, as, in all things, little or great, to look to Jesus. Look to Him, when ye can, as ye begin to act, to converse, or labor; and then desire to speak or be silent, as He would have you; to say this word, or leave that unsaid; to do this, or leave that undone; to shape your words, as if He were present, and He will be present, not in body, but in spirit, not by your side, but in your soul. Faint not, any who would love Jesus, if ye find yourselves yet far short of what He Himself who is Love saith of the love of Him. Perfect love is heaven. When ye are perfected in love, your work on earth is done. There is no short road to heaven or to love.
Do what in thee lies by the grace of God, and He will lead thee from strength to strength, and grace to grace, and love to love.
Edward B. Pusey.
“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Ps. 121:4
Jehovah is “the Keeper of Israel.” No form of unconsciousness ever steals over Him, neither the deeper slumber nor the slighter sleep. He never fails to watch the house and the heart of His people. This is a sufficient reason for our resting in perfect peace. Alexander said that he slept because his friend Parmenio watched; much more may we sleep because our God is our guard.
“Behold” is here set up to call our attention to the cheering truth. Israel, when he had a stone for his pillow, fell asleep; but his God was awake, and came in vision to His servant. When we lie defenseless, Jehovah Himself will cover our head.
The Lord keeps His people as a rich man keeps his treasure, as a captain keeps a city with a garrison, as a sentry keeps watch over his sovereign. None can harm those who are in such keeping. Let me put my soul into His dear hands. He never forgets us, never ceases actively to care for us, never finds Himself unable to preserve us.
O my Lord, keep me, lest I wander and fall and perish. Keep me, that I may keep thy commandments. By thine unslumbering care prevent my sleeping like the sluggard, and perishing like those who sleep the sleep of death.