7. Christ: a 'Forever Friend'! Psalm 31:7

Text:  “I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy; for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities.”

                                                                                                                     Psalm 31:7.

Good morning, forever-befriended Christian!  By God’s Sovereign grace and endless mercy, you and I have been befriended by God the Son, Christ Jesus, and His friendship is not of the ‘fair-weather’ variety - Christ Jesus is a ‘forever Friend’.  Praise and all glory to His merciful Name!

“And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and he was called the Friend of God.”          (James 2:23)

Dictionary Definition:  Friend - (noun) a person loving or attached to another; a close or intimate acquaintance; a favourer, well-wisher or supporter…  (The Chambers Dictionary, page 639)

When, by the quickening of God the Holy Spirit, we hear the Gospel; receive faith to believe by God’s good grace; and are Spiritually regenerated, born again, into God’s family, the true Christian church - we are blessed with friendship status.  Like the great Abraham, God forever after considers us to be His friends.  Hallelujah!  What a privilege for Hell-deserving sinners!  Glory to the Lord!

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.”  (John 15:13-15)

Human friends - stable, sensible, and compassionate people - can be a very real blessing to us, as we make our way through the ups and downs of this life.  However, having Christ Jesus as our Divine Friend, puts all other ‘friendships’ in the shade.

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  (Proverbs 18:24)

“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer…Can we find a Friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share?  Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.” 

(Hymn: by: Joseph M. Scriven, 1855. Scriven wrote this hymn to comfort his mother, who was across the sea from him in Ireland. It was originally published anonymously, and Scriven did not receive full credit for almost 30 years.  Music: Erie, Charles C. Converse, 1868 (MIDI, score). In World War I, the tune was paired with the words to “When This Bloody War is Over.”)

Verse 7.  “ I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy.  These two words, glad and rejoice, are an instructive reduplication.  We need not stint ourselves in our holy triumph.  This wine we may drink in bowls without fear of excess.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 150)

Verse 7.  “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.  God owns (acknowledges) His saints when others are ashamed to acknowledge them; He never refuses to know His friends.  He thinks not the worst of them for their rags and tatters.  He does not misjudge them and cast them off when their faces are lean with sickness or their hearts are heavy with despondency.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 150)

It has been said, ’Everyone loves a winner’, and the world will seek to befriend us when they perceive us to be such.  However, when times get rough - financially, in marital breakdown; in health issues; or in employment and social standing - the fair-weather friends vanish like a vapour of steam and drift away.  We are abandoned to our fate.

The old saying, ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone…’, has been proven to be startlingly true to many of us, as we have suffered the loss of people whom we perceived as our true friends.  Such false friendship seems to have wings.

Yet, even when we have failed miserably; almost shipwrecked the God-given faith that we have, through weakness, temptation, or fault - our true Friend, Christ Jesus, has never left us, nor refused us the solace of His compassionate ear.  His Presence is open to us because, by His grace, we have been permitted to be His FRIENDS.  Wow!  What Divine grace!

“…For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man can do unto me.”     (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Thought:  “Yes, though we may have lost our rich attire and come to Him in rags; though our forms be wasted because of grief and waxed old (Ps.6:7 Luther Version); though sickness and sorrow have consumed our beauty like a moth (Ps. 39:11); though blushes, and tears, and dust, overspread our face (Ps. 69:7), He still recognises and is not ashamed to own us.  Comfort yourself with this, for what harm will it do you at last, though men disown, if God the Lord have not forgotten you?”  (Christian Scriver 1629-1693)

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