Thursday, January 08, 2009
Proverbs 27 How To Be A Fragrant Friend
9Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Fragrance.. Parfum.. from a perfumery. During the course of our trip to the perfumery this happened (sequence where the lady talks about the Nose!)
Fragrance. If you would have friends, show yourself friendly.
It was Frederick the Great who said, "The more I get to know people, the more I like my dog."
A Charlie Brown cartoon expresses this well. Lucy is standing holding her hands together and claiming rather piously, "I love humanity, I love all humanity" and then she adds to herself, "it's people I can't stand."
One of the most severe epidemics of our time is loneliness. Though most of us are surrounded by people, we live in a society of loneliness. Everyone, from little children to aging seniors experience feelings of isolation, rejection and seclusion. We often think of single people who live alone as being lonely, but some of the loneliest people I have known have been married with a house full of children.
There are two types of loneliness:
First, there is SOCIAL loneliness. This occurs when we are isolated from our families and friends. Second, and worse there is EMOTIONAL loneliness. This is the most common type of loneliness. It occurs when we feel we have no one to share our deepest concerns, no one who truly understands our struggles or our joys. The solution to the problem of loneliness is friendship. All human beings both need and crave friendship. We need someone who will rejoice with us or cry with us, someone who will comfort us
Friendship is essential to a healthy, happy life. In a 3 year study of 1,000 adults, Dr. Nan Lynn of the State University of New York, researched those qualities that make people mentally healthy. She found that people who have close friendships were less often depressed and anxious than those who did not; and generally enjoyed a better state of wholeness. Everybody needs and wants friends. Loneliness is the number one emotional problem in our society. The top best-selling book of this century - outside of the Bible is "How to Win Friends and Influence People." One of the top rated shows on television is called "Friends." Though it presents a rather warped perspective on friendship, it reminds us that people are interested in the subject of friendship. When God made man, He said, "it is not good for man to be…" - what? Alone! Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!
I'm afraid that what our culture values is friendliness. Friendliness isn't the same as friendship. We like friendly flight attendants, friendly salespeople, friendly politicians. And I like them, too. But friendliness is not the same as friendship. If your car salesman is a very friendly guy it does not mean he wants to be your friend after the deal is closed. Please don't get me wrong. I like friendly people. I even like friendly machines. When I shopped for my first computer several years ago - dazed by all that I saw - the salesperson pointed to one of them and said, "Now this one - this one is user friendly." I said, "I'll take it." User friendly. But I have to tell you my computer has never become my friend.
9. Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
1. Be Careful of Flawed Friendships:
False Security and Insecurity 1,2 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. 2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
Do you see these two attitudes?
Dale Carnegie, "You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you."
I went out to FIND a Friend, But could not FIND one there.
I went out to BE a Friend, And Friends were Everywhere!
How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it
How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ‘em.
How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ‘em.
Foolish Friendships 3-5 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them. 4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy? 5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.
Proverbs 22:24-25, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared." Proverbs 23:20-21, "Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."
False Friendships 14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him
Proverbs 14:20, "The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends."
Proverbs 19:4, "Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him
Proverbs 19:6 says, "Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts."
Someone has said, "you never know how many friends you have until you buy a cottage on the beach."
2. Be Faithful To Faithful Friendships
Prov 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Inspite Of Their Reproofs 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 7A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.
Proverbs 12:26 says, "a righteous man is cautious in friendship; but the way of the wicked leads them astray." Proverbs reminds us that it is distinctly possible to sink a genuine friendship by ill-advised behavior and attitudes. For instance:
You can forfeit a friendship due to a tongue that is offensive.
Proverbs 17:9, "He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."
You can’t eat your friends and have them, too! The little beast whose cage is between the teeth can cause us to forfeit valuable friendships. Betraying a confidence, talking behind a back, sarcasm, belittling a friend - a runaway tongue can destroy a friendship. We expect viciousness from our enemies, but not from our friends. Yet, we cannot be betrayed by an enemy, only by a friend. The reason a dog has loyal friends is because he wags his tail and not his tongue. A true friend doesn’t rub it in; he rubs it out.
You can forfeit a friendship due to tendencies that are objectionable.
I take you back once more to Proverbs 23:20-21, "Do no mix with those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags." How tragic to see a man whose only remaining friend is a bottle, because all his loyalty became devoted to that. He gives away all that is really valuable in life to hang on to something destructive.
We can forfeit friendships due to treatment that is overbearing.
We can forfeit friendships by being overbearing and obnoxious to our friends. Proverbs 25:17, "Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house - too much of you and he will hate you." That’s pretty blunt, isn’t it? Give your friends some space and don’t smother them or they’ll get tired of you.
Proverbs 27:14, "He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him." Be careful not to embarrass a friend even by overbearing compliment.
15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;
16 Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.
In other words your husbands and wives should be best of friends, and not through overbearingness smother the other.
Instead of Family
10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend, Nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity;
From Charles Bridges Proverbs
9. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so cloth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel (from the counsel of the soul, marg.)
Most refreshing are ointment and perfume to the senses.’ Not less so is the cordial of friendship to the soul. Who does not feel the need of a brother’s or sister’s hand, or their heart ? The sweetness and tenderness of a sincere friend soundly heals the wound. Sympathy is the balm of friendship. “My friend is to me as my own soul,” the sharer of my joys and my sorrows. How could I bear my sorrows alone?
The heartiness of a friend’s counsel constitutes its excellence. It is not official, or merely intelligent. It is the counsel of his soul. He puts himself in our case, and counsels, as he would wish to he counselled himself. Moses’s heart was thus rejoiced by Jethro’s counsel, relieving him from a heavy and needless burden. (Exod. xviii. 17—24.)
Often has the sympathy of a brother’s experience cleared our path, and brought us direction and encouragement.
10. Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near, than a brother far off. Man without principle is the creature of caprice. His friendships have no warranted stability. The ointment soon loses its fragrance. The sweetness of hearty counsel (Verse 9) is forgotten. New friends gain influence; and even the father’s friend—the long-tried family friend—is forsaken.
If other things are better when new, a friend is better that is old and tried. (See Eccius. ix. 10.) For how can you trust an untried friend?
An old friend is even better than a relative!
For though relationship ought to be the closest bond; yet, without a higher principle, selfishness will too often predominate. Joseph found far greater kindness among foreigners, than from his own kindred.’ Jonathan’s affection afforded to David, what his brothers’ jealousy would never have given him. The Saviour found his most soothing sympathy in the day of his calamity, not in his brethren’s house, but in the persevering attachment of his devoted friends.
One friend and neighbour closely knit in unity, near at hand, and in readiness to assist, is better than a brother as far off in affection, as in distance. Charles Bridges - Proverbs
Prov 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24a, "A man of many companions may come to ruin…" The King James Version reads, "A man that has friends must show himself friendly." And that is true. But the Hebrew literally reads, "a man of many companions will be broken into pieces." Keil and Delitzch, in their commentary on Proverbs, translate this, "a man of many friends comes off a loser." They explain that what this verse is saying is that a man who sets himself to gain many friends comes finally to be a loser. But why would this be so?
Well, it is my impression that this is referring to treating the friendship of others too lightly; compromising quality for quantity. Some people are so insecure that they feel like they have to surround themselves with a lot of admirers for the sake of their ego.
Our text says, "a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." One of the great friendships of the Bible was that of David and Jonathan. In I Samuel 18:1, the Bible says, "Jonathan loved David as himself." IT also says that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. Their spirits were bound together. When I’m talking about fellowship, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about partying together; I’m talking about heart knit together as one… an unbreakable bond. Proverbs 18:24 speaks of "a friend who sticks closer than a brother." True friends spend time together. They need each other and know it. We were not made for solitary, isolated living. We were made to fellowship.
Several years ago, Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager wrote a song that topped the charts that says: Keep smiling, keep shining - knowing you can always count on me, for sure. That’s what friends are for. In good times, in bad times I’ll be on your side forevermore. That’s what friends are for
3. Be Thankful For Refining Friendships
Fellowship The value of fruitful friendships.
If you have a true friend, you have something of great value. What are friends for? Here are some answers from Proverbs:
Emotional encouragement: Proverbs 27:9, "…the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel." When we are down, the companionship and consolation of a friend is like soothing oil on an open wound or like sweet perfume. A friend is someone who believe in you even when you have ceased to believe in yourself. A friend is someone who multiplies your joys and divides your grief.
Spiritual counsel and guidance: Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens his friend." Friends can keep one another from becoming spiritually dulled; they sharpen each other. They help take the rough edges off. You are helping shape everyone with whom you come in contact. And a good friend gives constructive counsel and guidance to help shape your friend into the likeness of Christ. Someone has said, "A friend is one who strengthens you with his prayers, blesses you with his love, and encourages you with his hope."
The mutual excitation for evil is a solemn warning against “evil communications.” But most refreshing is it, when, as in the dark ages of the Church, “they that feared the Lord spake often one to another.” Sharpening indeed must have been the intercourse at Emmaus, when “the hearts of the disciples burned within them.”
The Apostle was often so invigorated by the countenance of his friends, that he longed to be “ refreshed with their company.”
” Two are better than one “ our Lord sent his first preachers to their work. And the first Divine ordination in the Christian Church was after this precedent. (Acts, xiii. 2—4.)
‘The communion of saints’ is an Article in our Creed. But is it practically acknowledged in its high responsibility and Christian privilege? Gladly let us take up the bond of brotherhood. If a brother seems to walk alone, sharpen his iron by godly communication. Walk together in mutual consideration” of each other’s infirmities, trials, and temptations; and mutual “provocation “ of each other’s gifts and graces. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. –Charles Bridges, Proverbs
Oscar Wilde wrote, "A true friend always stabs you in the front." Proverbs 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."
Benjamin Franklin, "Be slow to make friends, and slower to lose them."
Nature itself shows us that we need each other. There is a bird in Alaska called the Golden Plover. Every winter it does what any sane person would do - it flies to Hawaii.For this annual trip it flies across open sea. There are no islands along the way and since the Golden Plover cannot swim, it goes the whole way without a single rest stop. This is incredible because the distance is 2,800 miles and takes eighty-eight hours. Just imagine driving your car that long. The bird must beat its wings 250,000 times. To prepare for the trip, the Golden Plover pigs out until fat constitutes one-third of its weight. This is its fuel. Each hour it flies, it consumes one-half of one percent of its body weight. (This is very efficient - jets consume twenty-four times as much.) If a two-hundred-pound person did this, they would lose a pound an hour. After flying seventy-two hours a Golden Plover should have consumed all its fat, but this would leave it over 500 miles from Hawaii. We would expect it to drop out and crash into the sea, but it doesn't. The reason is that God gave them companions.By flying in a V-formation instead of by themselves the birds save twenty-three percent of their energy. The leader breaks up the turbulent air, making it easier for those who follow. When the leader gets tired he drops to the back of the line and another takes over. In this way they not only make it to Hawaii, they also have a small supply of fat left to help them in case the wind is against them. Like the Golden Plover, people need other people. We can help each other go the distance.