Rewards of Friendship: 1

‘A real friend sticks closer than a brother.’ Proverbs 18:24 NLT

The Bible says, ‘Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother.’ (Proverbs 18:24 NCV) Real friends are not only loyal, real friends are concerned about what you’re becoming. They look beyond the present and care deeply about you as a whole person. Solomon writes, ‘A man who has friends must himself be friendly.’ (Proverbs 18:24 NKJ) And while building and maintaining that kind of friendship takes time and energy, the rewards far outweigh the investment.

True friends:

(1) Give you a hand up when you’re down. ‘Two people are better off than one for they can help each other… If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NLT)

(2) Take the pressure off. No matter how much they love you or want to help, sometimes your family is just too close to be objective. It can be easier to open up to somebody you’re not related to. At such times, the Bible says, ‘The sweetness of a friend gives delight by hearty counsel.’ (Proverbs 27:9 NKJ)

(3) Make you laugh. Laughter is good for health—and it isn’t just the Bible that says so! Friends can help you laugh and, in doing so, foster a sense of togetherness.

(4) Hold you accountable. Ever notice when you’re acting contrary to God’s Word, it’s easy to fool yourself? That’s when ‘the slap of a friend can be trusted to help you.’ (Proverbs 27:6 NCV) So thank God for good friends who love you enough to be honest even when it hurts.

SoulFood: Job 24–28, Jn 1:6–18, Ps 113, Ecc 10:10–14

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Job 24–28 ()

()

24:1   “Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty,
    and why do those who know him never see his days?
  Some move landmarks;
    they seize flocks and pasture them.
  They drive away the donkey of the fatherless;
    they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
  They thrust the poor off the road;
    the poor of the earth all hide themselves.
  Behold, like wild donkeys in the desert
    the poor go out to their toil, seeking game;
    the wasteland yields food for their children.
  They gather their fodder in the field,
    and they glean the vineyard of the wicked man.
  They lie all night naked, without clothing,
    and have no covering in the cold.
  They are wet with the rain of the mountains
    and cling to the rock for lack of shelter.
  (There are those who snatch the fatherless child from the breast,
    and they take a pledge against the poor.)
10   They go about naked, without clothing;
    hungry, they carry the sheaves;
11   among the olive rows of the wicked they make oil;
    they tread the winepresses, but suffer thirst.
12   From out of the city the dying groan,
    and the soul of the wounded cries for help;
    yet God charges no one with wrong.
13   “There are those who rebel against the light,
    who are not acquainted with its ways,
    and do not stay in its paths.
14   The murderer rises before it is light,
    that he may kill the poor and needy,
    and in the night he is like a thief.
15   The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No eye will see me’;
    and he veils his face.
16   In the dark they dig through houses;
    by day they shut themselves up;
    they do not know the light.
17   For deep darkness is morning to all of them;
    for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.
18   “You say, ‘Swift are they on the face of the waters;
    their portion is cursed in the land;
    no treader turns toward their vineyards.
19   Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters;
    so does Sheol those who have sinned.
20   The womb forgets them;
    the worm finds them sweet;
  they are no longer remembered,
    so wickedness is broken like a tree.’
21   “They wrong the barren, childless woman,
    and do no good to the widow.
22   Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power;
    they rise up when they despair of life.
23   He gives them security, and they are supported,
    and his eyes are upon their ways.
24   They are exalted a little while, and then are gone;
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
    they are cut off like the heads of grain.
25   If it is not so, who will prove me a liar
    and show that there is nothing in what I say?”

25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

  “Dominion and fear are with God;
    he makes peace in his high heaven.
  Is there any number to his armies?
    Upon whom does his light not arise?
  How then can man be in the right before God?
    How can he who is born of woman be pure?
  Behold, even the moon is not bright,
    and the stars are not pure in his eyes;
  how much less man, who is a maggot,
    and the son of man, who is a worm!”

26:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “How you have helped him who has no power!
    How you have saved the arm that has no strength!
  How you have counseled him who has no wisdom,
    and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
  With whose help have you uttered words,
    and whose breath has come out from you?
  The dead tremble
    under the waters and their inhabitants.
  Sheol is naked before God,
    and Abaddon has no covering.
  He stretches out the north over the void
    and hangs the earth on nothing.
  He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
    and the cloud is not split open under them.
  He covers the face of the full moon
    and spreads over it his cloud.
10   He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
    at the boundary between light and darkness.
11   The pillars of heaven tremble
    and are astounded at his rebuke.
12   By his power he stilled the sea;
    by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
13   By his wind the heavens were made fair;
    his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
14   Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
    and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
    But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

27:1 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

  “As God lives, who has taken away my right,
    and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
  as long as my breath is in me,
    and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
  my lips will not speak falsehood,
    and my tongue will not utter deceit.
  Far be it from me to say that you are right;
    till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
  I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
    my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
  “Let my enemy be as the wicked,
    and let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.
  For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off,
    when God takes away his life?
  Will God hear his cry
    when distress comes upon him?
10   Will he take delight in the Almighty?
    Will he call upon God at all times?
11   I will teach you concerning the hand of God;
    what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
12   Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves;
    why then have you become altogether vain?
13   “This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
    and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty:
14   If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword,
    and his descendants have not enough bread.
15   Those who survive him the pestilence buries,
    and his widows do not weep.
16   Though he heap up silver like dust,
    and pile up clothing like clay,
17   he may pile it up, but the righteous will wear it,
    and the innocent will divide the silver.
18   He builds his house like a moth's,
    like a booth that a watchman makes.
19   He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more;
    he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone.
20   Terrors overtake him like a flood;
    in the night a whirlwind carries him off.
21   The east wind lifts him up and he is gone;
    it sweeps him out of his place.
22   It hurls at him without pity;
    he flees from its power in headlong flight.
23   It claps its hands at him
    and hisses at him from its place.

28:1   “Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold that they refine.
  Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from the ore.
  Man puts an end to darkness
    and searches out to the farthest limit
    the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
  He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
    they are forgotten by travelers;
    they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
  As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
  Its stones are the place of sapphires,
    and it has dust of gold.
  “That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
  The proud beasts have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it.
  “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
    and overturns mountains by the roots.
10   He cuts out channels in the rocks,
    and his eye sees every precious thing.
11   He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
    and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12   “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13   Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.
14   The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15   It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16   It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.
17   Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18   No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19   The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20   “From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
21   It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22   Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23   “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
24   For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25   When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
26   when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27   then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
28   And he said to man,
  ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

John 1:6–18 ()

()

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Psalm 113 ()

()

113:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise, O servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD!
  Blessed be the name of the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore!
  From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the LORD is to be praised!
  The LORD is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!
  Who is like the LORD our God,
    who is seated on high,
  who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
  He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
  to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
  He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
  Praise the LORD!

Ecclesiastes 10:10–14 ()

()

10   If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
    he must use more strength,
    but wisdom helps one to succeed.
11   If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
    there is no advantage to the charmer.
12   The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor,
    but the lips of a fool consume him.
13   The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
    and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14   A fool multiplies words,
    though no man knows what is to be,
    and who can tell him what will be after him?

Wed 26 December, 2018


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