Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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            A friend is someone who is special in life. We all need friends in going through this life. They are truly blessings from God.

            Deuteronomy 13:6 refers to a friend as one “who is as your own soul”. The special relationship between God and Moses is stated in Exodus 33:11 “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” Proverbs 17:17 states that “a friend loves at all times” and in Proverbs 18:24 we are told that “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” We have heard married couples often say that their mate is their best friend. This may come from Song of Solomon 5:16 where the bride makes mention “This is my beloved and this is my friend.”

            One case of true friendship shown in the Bible is that of Jonathan and David. Jonathan was the son of King Saul and should have been influenced by his father’s hatred of David as he set about to destroy him. But instead we are told in 1 Samuel 18:1 “that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as himself.” We see that a true friend does no harm or has no ill will toward the other person. It is a bond of love that is just like the bond in a marriage. No spouse should never do harm nor have ill will toward their mate.

            And so it is with a true friend. They will always seek to do you good. In their actions and in their words they will always seek your best interest and good. Such was the bond between Jonathan and David. We are told in 1 Samuel 19:1 that Jonathan greatly delighted in David. Jonathan had even gone so far as to make a covenant with his best friend because he loved him as himself (1 Samuel 18:3) and even gave David his robe and armour to go into battle with. We read of Jonathan’s plea to his father, Saul, in 1 Samuel 19:2-6 to not sin against his friend David. We find through all the turmoil in their lives that Jonathan still loved David as he loved his own life (1 Samuel 20:17). The bond od friendship was so great between them that when separation was necessary that we read in 1 Samuel 20:41 “and they kissed each other and wept together but David more.”

            But the highest moment of their friendship is recorded in 1 Samuel 23:16. David was a fugitive on the run from Saul and Jonathan went out to David in the woods at Horesh. What was the great thing that Jonathan than did for his friend David? Jonathanencouraged David in God. Jonathan strengthened his hand in God. True friends will help you find strength in God during the low points of your life and Jonathan was a true friend to David because he loved David as he loved himself. The friendship between Jonathan and David was not about what one could get from the other but how one could give to the other out of love.

            Remember what Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” Let us be a true friend and seek to encourage others in the Lord as they go through the low points in their walk of life.

                                                                                                        - Larry Bumgardner