This year we have covered the first nineteen chapters of The Gospel According To Matthew and the parable in Matthew chapter 20. This week we are looking at the definitions and applications of the words "Enemy" and "Friend". In the previous post, we covered "Friend" examples from the New Testament. Here was the summary:
The New Testament usages of the word "Friend" support the definition of Friend as someone who CAN speak for you in ANY area.
This is not as direct in the Old Testament, which we will look at today...
OLD TESTAMENT FRIEND
There are surprising few direct applications of Friend in the Old Testament.
What I mean by that is most of the time Friend is used, it is warning people that even their Friends are going to hurt them! Also, we saw the New Testament stated Abraham was a Friend of God, yet it didn't specifically state that in Genesis. It was later in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 20):
"7 Didst not thou, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?"
Also, in Isaiah 41 where God spoke:
"8 But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend,"
Abraham and the patriarchs would be considered Friends of God because they spoke to the nation FOR God. The same could be said of the Prophets...
An example of Friend is in Genesis 38. Judah has a friend who speaks for him in trying to deal with Tamar.
"20 And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not."
Exodus 33 mentioned that Moses spoke with God AS a man speaks with his friend.
"11 And Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent."
This was the only mention of Moses being AS God's Friend and it was immediately followed by God agreeing to show Moses His Glory.
The historical books document the friends of David, Solomon, etc.
Ester and Job have numerous mentions of Friend...yet it was not for a positive reason.
Psalms mentioned Friend when the writer wrote about his Friends being far from him.
Proverbs mentions Friend sixteen times.
Proverbs 3 says God is Friend with the upright:
"32 For the perverse is an abomination to Jehovah; But his friendship is with the upright."
Several verses from Proverbs agreed with Jesus stating wealth maketh Friends.
Proverbs 22 showed the connection between spoken words and Friends:
"10 Cast out the scoffer, and contention will go out; Yea, strife and ignominy will cease.
11 He that loveth pureness of heart, For the grace of his lips the king will be his friend.
12 The eyes of Jehovah preserve him that hath knowledge; But he overthroweth the words of the treacherous man."
The words from a scoffer will bring contention. However, kings will desire for friends those that have the right words.
Proverbs 27 has the famous verse about iron sharpening iron:
"17 Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
18 Whoso keepeth the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof; And he that regardeth his master shall be honored.
19 As in water face answereth to face, So the heart of man to man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied; And the eyes of man are never satisfied.
21 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; And a man is tried by his praise."
Friends improve each other with words face-to-face.
I'll end with Proverbs 17 in its entirety. Notice the importance of spoken words...both good and bad...understanding, wisdom, forgiveness, and Friends loving at all times. Basically, everything in this was covered by Jesus in the first twenty chapters of Matthew. The passage even mentions the little ones' little ones are the crown of old men...remember, Jesus stated the little ones are greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
"1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, Than a house full of feasting with strife.
2 A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, And shall have part in the inheritance among the brethren.
3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; But Jehovah trieth the hearts.
4 An evil-doer giveth heed to wicked lips; And a liar giveth ear to a mischievous tongue.
5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker; And he that is glad at calamity shall not be unpunished.
6 Children's children are the crown of old men; And the glory of children are their fathers.
7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool; Much less do lying lips a prince.
8 A bribe is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it; Whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; But he that harpeth on a matter separateth chief friends.
10 A rebuke entereth deeper into one that hath understanding Than a hundred stripes into a fool.
11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, Rather than a fool in his folly.
13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, Evil shall not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: Therefore leave off contention, before there is quarrelling.
15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to Jehovah.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, Seeing he hath no understanding?
17 A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, And becometh surety in the presence of his neighbor.
19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: He that raiseth high his gate seeketh destruction.
20 He that hath a wayward heart findeth no good; And he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow; And the father of a fool hath no joy.
22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.
23 A wicked man receiveth a bribe out of the bosom, To pervert the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is before the face of him that hath understanding; But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her that bare him.
26 Also to punish the righteous is not good, Nor to smite the noble for their uprightness.
27 He that spareth his words hath knowledge; And he that is of a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; When he shutteth his lips, he is esteemed as prudent."
The Old Testament has less direct explanations of Friend. However, the passages covering Friend are consistent with everything we've covered so far.
Tomorrow, we will pull this all together...