The main purpose of this series on friendship has been to encourage you, the reader, and me, Larry Lilly, to strive to be the right kind of friend. I do not have the remotest idea of how to get your friends or mine to be the right kind to you or to me. If I had that knowledge I would, without doubt, be the richest man in Babylon! Or Cemar Estates.
David, the sweet psalmist of Israel had a familiar friend who was trusted, who enjoyed the intimacy of David's home, and who in the end lifted up his heel against David. Most believe this man was Ahithophel, Bathsheba's grandfather. And further, Jesus refers to this incident in his word about Judas Iscariot in John 13:18. The phrase translated, 'mine own familiar friend' is used only in this instance in the entire word of God. Familiar is used 17 times, 15 of these refer to the forbidden use of evil spirits, one time it refers to the very close friends of Job when he was left alone to suffer on the ash heap, and this time by David:
"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." Psalm 41:9.
Of course you do not want 'spirit' friends unless you determine to abandon all biblical principles. In both instances where the word is used positively it is a different word and each time familiar friends bailed out in time of need. In the third reference to this betrayal, that of Judas betraying Jesus, again the friend trusted to the utmost, turned against the man of God or the Son of God. It is interesting that both Ahithophel and Judas committed suicide. It is probable that the friends of Job accepted the forgiveness of Job, and moved on with their life.
Dr. C. I. Scofield noted that the word used in Psalm 41:9 for familiar is often used for 'trusted.'
Another writer puts it in a statement we can grasp more fully:
"On a sick bed a man discovers not only his enemies and his friends, but himself and his God, more intimately."
'Sick bed' can be a judgment hall such as Christ was subjected, or even a cross, literal or figurative, but either way the experience is painful beyond belief. And keep in mind during these times, Christ, noted 'they all forsook Him and fled.'
We must become the kind of friend that Christ is to us, for He is the friend who has said, "I will never leave thee, not forsake thee." It is nice to have other friends who would, it is a part trait of character that you and I who claim His name, be this kind of friend.
Being a true friend is not easy, but then no knowledgeable person ever said it would be.
Larry, I do not know about everyone else, but I sure have been blessed by reading your writings on friendship. I have made mental notes several times on things you wrote, with the intention of profiting spiritually by those words of wisdom. I have never met you, but it is a pleasure to look upon you as an internet friend, at least. May God bless you as you write. Please have a great Thanksgiving Holiday, though I am sure every day is thanksgiving for you, as it is for us. Thomas