A beautiful portrait of friendship emanates from Exodus 17. Moses is under it as leader of 2 million murmuring whiners, and his inner circle comes through. His understudy and assistant, Joshua, takes command of the men to fight Amalek, and as Moses wearies, holding up God’s staff over the battle, his brother Aaron, and Hur, climb to the top of the hill with him, move a stone for him to sit on, and, one on each side, hold up his hands for him. “So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”
I had several conversations this week with friends where we shared heartaches, grave concerns over health and loved ones, ministry and relationship challenges; where feedback, encouragement, and advice were asked for, given, and received; where we prayed together over imminent needs and longer-term concerns; where we talked through how to think rightly and biblically on specific situations; where we told of God’s faithfulness and grace, stirring in one another gratitude and wonder; where just hearing the other’s voice was a balm in Gilead.
How sweet the gift of friendship! Of others who go to battle with and for us, exercising gifts we may lack, united in purpose. Of comrades who know or listen to our needs and come alongside, giving support, rest, companionship, help, correction, willing to be off-center as we complete our God-given tasks. Of those whom we trust enough we bare our fears and sin, that we might turn one another to Jesus and the truth; those who sharpen us, and stimulate greater faith that we might all grow wiser.
“I will look in favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.” “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” “Faithful are the wounds of a friend. The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” “I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.” Psalm 101:6; Proverbs 13:20; 27:6,9,17; Psalm 119:63
Thank You, Lord, for those You have brought alongside to minister to me, and for those I’ve been privileged to love and serve. May I be ever eager to make new friends, and love the old ones well. Keep me willing and able to hold the sword, the staff, and the hand–at Your bidding.