19Don't let evil people
or make you jealous.
20They will soon be gone
like the flame of a lamp
that burns out.
21My children, you must respect
the Lord and the king,
and you must not make friends
with anyone who rebels
against either of them.
22Who knows what sudden disaster
the Lord or a ruler
This passage challenges me. For most of my life, I felt it was important to be friends with everyone. Yet here we read that we shouldn’t be friends with anyone who rebels against God (v 21). Let’s face it, many popular world views fly in the face of what the Lord says is right. When we’re out and about, discussing the news of the day with our co-workers in the lunch room or at play group with our tots, popular opinion often doesn’t match up with our Christian thoughts on the matter. We come to a crossroads: Do we satisfy our desire to fit in and be accepted or do we voice our beliefs and lose a friend (or two, or three)?
The reality is that mainstream society is at odds with the idea of God – the thought that something could be bigger than us, that there is a being with greater control over our lives than our own. We are not obliged to befriend these people, but we can offer truth through his Word and let seeds be planted.
We can count on God to challenge our faith by putting us in these situations. How we respond is up to us. Fortunately, we can also count on him to put friends of great faith in our lives. It’s our responsibility to grab hold of these pure and honest friendships when they appear. Valuing and sowing into godly friendships will expand our beliefs, grant us wisdom and bring us ever closer to God.
Heavenly Father, we know that your plans for us are always good. Please help us to keep our sights firmly set on you and your people so that we may grow closer to you in spirit and wisdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.