Today’s Reading: 2 Sam 1:1–2:32, 1 Pet 3:1–7, Ps 133:1–134:3
Today’s Theme: True Friendship
Today’s theme is all about true friendship and right relationships before God. Human flourishing is one of God’s great purposes in creation and redemptive history; having healthy, good and biblical relationships serve that end and bring God glory.
2 Samuel 1:1–2:32
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women. 2 Samuel 1:26 (ESV)
David and Jonathan were true friends, they had a deep love and respect for one another and showed fruits of genuine friendship. For example, Jonathan proved himself to be David’s most loyal supporter, recognising God’s calling on David’s life and risking his life to save him.
We are called to this kind of friendship, to be loyal and selfless. This kind of friendship leads to human flourishing which is one of God’s great purposes in the world.
Liberals and activists who are trying to push the homosexual agenda onto the church, have attempted to reinterpret this verse to imply a sexual relationship existed between these friends, but the evidence and the text do not suggest that. These people do violence to the text by forcing their warped perspective onto it.
God intends husbands and wives to be the best of friends, as we will read later. However in ancient Israel, marriage was quite a formal affair, focused more on family expansion and status, than true companionship. This is why David is able to make the comparison between his best friend and his wives, and say that his friendship was dearer to him.
Our friendship with Jesus should surpass all relationships in this world. He should be dearer to us and bring us the greatest pleasure. John 15:15
Be a loyal friend
David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the LORD, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. 2 Samuel 2:5 (ESV)
The men of Jabesh-gilead were commended, rewarded and blessed by David, for the loyalty they showed to Saul and his sons.
We are called to be loyal friends too, sticking by those we call friends, through thick and thin.
‘Loyalty’ is known by other words in scripture such as; love, devotion, kindness, steadfast love, good deeds, faithfulness and loving kindness.
God is loyal to His covenant and His people and He calls us to be like Him. We should be loyal friends to God before anything else.
We are called to loyalty throughout the new testament, here are just a few examples:
- We should question our loyalty, as did Peter, John 21:15–17
- Jesus encourages the church to be loyal, Revelation 2:10
- We are to love God above everyone else, including family, Matthew 10:37–39
- We cannot be loyal to God and money, or some other idol, at the same time, Luke 16:13
- We are to be loyal to Christ’s commands, John 14:21–24
- True loyalty brings daily death of the flesh, 1 Corinthians 15:30–31
Pride destroys relationships
And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. 2 Samuel 2:22–23 (ESV)
If Asahel had listened to the Nobel Abner, he would not have been struck down. Abner wanted to preserve relationship between himself and Joab, as commanders of Israel’s armies.
Asahel’s pride led to his own pointless death and to the breaking of covenant, relationship, friendship and potential, among the elite families of Judah.
Do not let pride destroy your life or your relationships or those of people connected to you.
Jesus warns us of the destructive power of pride, in Mark 7:22–23, “coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
And John reminds us that pride is not from God, in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
1 Peter 3:1–7
Clothed in gentleness
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 (ESV)
God, speaking through Peter makes it clear in His word, that women are to submit to their own husbands. Notice this is not just to the loving Christian husband, but unsaved husbands too.
The argument made here is that the respectful and pure conduct of the Christian wife can have a part to play in the unsaved husband coming to know the Lord.
God does not intend women to be bullish, argumentative, confrontational or superficial; that is not the biblical model of womanhood. God wants women to be clothed with a gentle and quiet spirit.
Notice the metaphor of clothing is used because a woman’s nature may not be gentle or quiet, so this behaviour needs to be put on like a jacket.
The wife’s call to gentleness, submission and purity, all serve to help the relationship between the husband and wife to flourish. The opposite to all these virtues will lead to the natural breaking of the friendship, which should be cultivated in marriage.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)
Husbands and wives should be best friends.
Husbands are called to be understanding and loving with their wives. Peter speaks very plainly by saying that men are physically stronger than women and so the man needs to treat his wife with due care in light of this.
The Bible is making a very clear case against all forms of physical and verbal abuse. Men have authority in the home according to God’s plan, that power must not be abused, it must be used to serve and protect.
Husbands are called to respect their wives as fellow heirs of God’s abundant grace (this went against the Roman world where women were considered as less than men, this is still the case in many religions and cultures today).
So let all husbands and wives commit to be best friends again today, honouring one another in line with the guidelines of God’s word.
The relationship to our spouse must be carefully cherished if we want our relationship with God to be good and unhindered.
The blessing of unity
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1 (ESV)
God blesses His people when they unify around His truth. We are not called to unity just for the sake of unity, as a group could be unified to do evil.
Let us seek unity with those we work and live with, in the body of Christ, our families and friends, as much as that unity is not against God’s word.
Unity is a blessing, seek it today.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 Peter 3