Who Do You Flock With? Walking Wisely Week 5

Proverbs 18:24 NASB A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Have you ever heard anyone say, "Birds of a feather flock together"? Have you ever stopped and really asked yourself what it means? Let me tell you a story which will help you to understand.
One spring a great many crows began to pull up a farmer's young corn. The farmer loaded his shotgun and went out to frighten them away. Bang! The farmer fired at the crows, and hurried out into the field to see how many he had hit. To his surprise he found that, besides killing three crows, he had wounded Polly, his pet parrot!
You can imagine how upset his children were when he came home with Polly in his hands.
"O Daddy," they cried, "who was so cruel as to hurt poor Polly! Where was she?"
Before the farmer could explain, Polly began to say, "Bad Company! Bad Company!"
"That is certainly the truth, Polly!" laughed the man. Then he explained to his children that Polly had evidently seen the crows in the field and had left the house (she was allowed out of her cage a great deal of the time) and had gone to join the other birds. She had been among the crows when the farmer fired on them.

Living together on this planet, it is near impossible to get by without being in contact with other human beings. We cannot escape it but if there is a place to ask “what is the wise thing to do?” it is in regards to who we call friends. Who we chose to spend time with will be one of the most influential decisions we make in our lives.

Solomon's words were clear, be careful who you surround yourself with, there are FRIENDS YOU DO NOT WANT...
1. Gossips - Pr 20:19
2. Short-tempered - Pr 22:24-25
3. Those given to drinking and gluttony - Pr 23:20-21
4. Those given to change - Pr 24:21-22
5. Liars, those untrustworthy, and those inconsiderate - Pr 25: 18-20
6. Those given to violence - Pr 1:10-19

If only Solomon's son, Rehoboam had read his father's words it would have helped him greatly. A division had arisen in Israel, a division between the 12 tribes. Solomon had been a bit hard on the tribes other than the tribe of Judah and their leader Jeroboam came and asked for grace and mercy. They said, (4) "Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you." Rehoboam consulted the advisors of Solomon who said, “the people are right – listen to them.” Then he consulted those he hung out with all the time – his friends and (10) The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!' But you shall speak to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! (11) 'Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'" (1 Kings 12:1-11 NASB) And from there the nation split into civil war and collapsed.

Who you chose to surround yourself with will shape you more than you know. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20 ESV You may say, “well, Ken, so-so invited me to this party and some friends will be there. Now there is this group that is really into getting drunk BUT I'm not. Is it wrong to go?” That is a good question BUT isn't the best question – WHAT IS THE WISE THING TO DO? It isn't about RIGHT or WRONG but what is the wise thing to do?

So who are we looking for? What does the character of a wise friend look like? Well let's consider that for a minute. When it comes to relationships and character, I want to note 8 things Solomon said in Proverbs and then we'll consider the opposite....

1. At peace with God - cf. Pr 16:7 vs. hate toward God?
2. Be slow to anger - Pr 15:18; vs. being quick to anger?
3. Be slow to respond - Pr 18:13 vs. jumping to conclusions?
4. Avoid quarreling - Pr 20:3 vs. ready to start a fight?
5. Speak gently - Pr 15:1 vs. speaking harshly?
6. Speak briefly - Pr 10:19 vs. going on & on & on & on...
7. Be quick to show love - Pr 10:12 vs. being quick to show hate?
8. Correct rather than flatter - Pr 28:23 vs. flattering before correcting?

So now you tell me – what is the wise thing to do? And don't think for a minute I'm just talking to teenagers here. At our work places or in our neighborhoods, adults, what is the wise thing to do? Who do you flock with? Who we choose to flock with models for younger generations. Networking and business card trading is one thing. The rules of business and getting ahead aren't the way of winning friends and influencing people.

No friend I've ever tried to 'win' ever seemed to be a friend worth having in the end. The wise thing would be start with this defining characteristic, namely, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (Jn 15:13). No greater friend can we have than Jesus Christ. He offers that friendship to you and to me and it remains the defining act of friendship.

Have you taken Jesus up on his offer of friendship? Compare Jesus with Solomon's friendship test? Then add to this – what friend has ever died for you? When it comes to your life right now, this day, let me ask you, chosing Jesus as your friend or not – what is the wise thing to do?

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