(Orange, Texas)

December 1, 2012

What a friend we have in Jesus

Charles Holt
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Let’s talk about one of the most universal experiences that we humans daily give and receive—our friendship. But I want to narrow it down and focus on what one friend will do for another and talk about the words: strengthen or encourage. True friends strengthen and encourage each other in many different ways.

Long before David, the shepherd boy, was known as King David and ruled over the nation of Israel, he had a very close friend named Prince Jonathan, son of King Saul of whom the Scripture says, “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened (I.e., encouraged him) 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” (1 Samuel 23:16,17).

What a magnanimous gesture; something a true friend will do.

Although King Saul knew David would become King in his place, he tried, unsuccessfully, several times to kill David. As a result David had several years of running, hiding in caves and other locations. Eventually he put together a guerilla group of 600 men and established a village called Ziklag.

One day while David and his men were away the fierce Amalekites raided, burned and carried away captive the wives and children of Ziklag. David and his men returned to find everything destroyed. “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved (bitter), every man for his sons and his daughters” (1 Samuel 30:6). Here we find a key to victory for each of us now as it was with David that terrible day. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (vss. 6).

“God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble” [I.e., an abundantly available help] (Psalm 46:1).

I pray for you as Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus: “May he grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]” (Ephesians 3:16 Amplified Bible). Finally, “And, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family” (Proverbs 18:24).