Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother....

From my reading in The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson. Click here to find an online version of the book.

 "You have a friend in heaven who will never fail you; “there is a friend” — saith Solomon — “that sticketh closer than a brother:” (Proverbs 18:24) such a friend is God; he is very studious and inquisitive on our behalf; he hath a debating with himself, a consulting and projecting how he may do us good; he is the best friend which may give contentment in the midst of all discourtesies of friends.
Consider ~

(1.) He is a loving friend. “God is love;” (1 John 4;16) hence he is said sometimes to engrave us on the “palm of his hand,” (Isaiah 49:16) that we may never be out of his eye; and to carry us in his bosom, (Isaiah 40:11) near to his heart. There is no stop or stint in his love; but as the river Nile, it overflows all the banks; his love is as far beyond our thoughts, as it is above our deserts. O the infinite love of God, in giving the Son of his love to be made flesh. God in giving Christ to us gave his very heart to us: here is love penciled out in all its glory, and engraven as with the “point of a diamond.” All other love is hatred in comparison of the love of our Friend.

(2.) He is a careful friend: “He careth for you”. (1 Peter 5: 7) He minds and transacts our business as his own, he accounts his people’s interests and concernments as his interest. He provides for us, grace to enrich us, glory to ennoble us. It was David’s complaint, “no man careth for my soul:” (Psalm 142:4) a Christian hath a friend that cares for him.

(3.) He is a prudent friend. (Daniel 2:20) A friend may sometimes err through ignorance or mistake, and give his friend poison instead of sugar; but “God is wise in heart; (Job 9:4) He is skilful as well as faithful; he knows what our disease is, and what physic is most proper to apply; he knows what will do us good, and what wind will be best to carry us to heaven.

(4.) He is a faithful friend. And he is faithful in his promises; “in hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie hath promised.” (Titus 1;2) God’s people are “children that will not lie;” (Isaiah 63:8) but God is a God that cannot lie; he will not deceive the faith of his people; nay, he cannot: he is called “the Truth;” he can as well cease to be God as cease to be true.

(5.) He is a compassionate friend, hence in Scripture we read of the yearning of his bowels. (Jeremiah 31:20) God’s friendship is nothing else but compassion; for there is naturally no affection in us to desire his friendship, nor no goodness in us to deserve it; the loadstone is in himself. When we were enemies, he sent an embassage of peace; when our hearts were turned back from God, his heart was turned towards us. O the tenderness and sympathy of our Friend in heaven! We ourselves have some relentings of heart to those which are in misery; but it is God who begets all the mercies and bowels that are in us, therefore he is called “the Father of mercies.” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

(6.) He is a constant friend: “his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:22) Friends do often in adversity drop off as leaves in autumn; these are rather flatterers than friends. Joab was for a time faithful to king David’s house; he went not after Absalom’s treason; but within a while proved false to the crown, and went after the treason of Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:7) God is a friend for ever: “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1) What though I am despised? yet God loves me. What though my friends cast me off? yet God loves me; he loves to the end, and there is no end of that love."
~ Thomas Watson

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Intense Debate Comments

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1