Wounded in the House of Our Friends

By Tom Irvine

 

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.  (Zechariah 13:6)

 

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…  (Isaiah 49:16)

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There have been several times in my life when I needed to make major changes, such as moving to a new neighborhood, starting a new job, etc. On several occasions, the Lord even forewarned me about upcoming changes in my life using some of the following Biblical principles, although he did not inform me of the specific details.  The warnings often came through sermons that I heard on Christian radio stations.  A few others came by dreams.

The following example can apply to friendships, neighborhoods, churches, or employment settings.

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People come into our lives for a reason. Maybe we need some sort of help from that person, or perhaps that individual needs some support from us, or the friendship may be mutual and reciprocal. Then one day, this friend, or maybe a group of friends, turns bitterly against us through no fault of our own.

What does the Bible advise in these situations?

Jesus taught that we must forgive our brother “seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22)

The Lord also gave a procedure for resolving conflicts when a brother has sinned against us in Matthew 18:15-18.

We should be peacemakers as Jesus taught. (Matthew 5:9)

But there may be times when we simply need to “move on.” We may need to find new friendships, change jobs, move to a new neighborhood, or join another church.

The Lord may even use these upsetting circumstances to prod us to a new situation where we can have new opportunities for personal growth and for giving service.

* * *

Abram (Abraham) had to move away from his father Terah’s homeland in Ur due to the intense wickedness and idolatry of the region.  Abram refused to worship his father’s idols.  A Jewish Midrash story claims that Abram destroyed his father’s idols.   Terah then brought Abram to Nimrod who then threw Abram in a fiery furnace from which Abram miraculously escaped.  An LDS Midrash-like story reports that Abram was about to be sacrificed on an altar but the “angel of the Almighty’s presence” rescued him.

The Lord then led Abram to the land of Canaan, changed his name to Abraham, and blessed him to be a “Father of Many Nations.”  Many Rabbis regard the Patriarch Abraham as the original Jew.

* * *

Saul attacks David with javelin art

David experienced this when he lived in King Saul’s household. David played his harp to comfort Saul. He also became Saul’s armor-bearer.

But Saul eventually became very jealous of David, and Saul even tried to kill David several times. As a result, David had to escape from Saul.

The following is taken from 1 Samuel 18:

[6] And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.

[7] And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

[8] And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?

[9] And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

[10] And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

[11] And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

[12] And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.

Saul offered to let David marry one of his daughters if David would fight the Philistines. He hoped David would be killed by the Philistines. (1 Samuel 18:20–25)

But David survived and was victorious in battle.

Saul continued to seek David’s life. (1 Samuel 19:9–10)

David fled into the wilderness. At one point, he took refuge in a cave in Adullam. (1 Samuel 22:1-3)

David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but did not do so. He exclaimed to Saul:

The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. (1 Samuel 24:12)

The author of this Biblical book then adds commentary: As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. (1 Samuel 24:13)

David had been devastated by adversity. But the Lord protected David. And the Lord used these circumstances to prepare David himself to become king over Israel and Judah.

Eventually, Saul died in battle.  After Saul’s death, David was anointed king. (2 Samuel 5)

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Image result for psalm 59

 

Some of the verses in Psalms are based on David’s experiences facing adversity.  An example is Psalm 59 where David praises the Lord for delivering him from the hands of his enemies.

[16] But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

[17] Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

* * *

Jesus himself was wounded in the house of his friends. (Zechariah 13:6, Psalm 22:16)

Jesus sought the moral support of his disciples as he gave his great intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet his disciples slept. (Matthew 26:36-45)

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. (Matthew 26:46-50)

Peter thrice denied even knowing Jesus, even as Jesus was tried and beaten. (Luke 22:34,54-57)

Yet Jesus forgave them. (Luke 23:34)

Perhaps we can gain a greater appreciation for Christ’s great atoning sacrifice on our behalf as we too are wounded in the house of our friends.

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We have a natural tendency to try to make sense of the wounds that our friends inflict upon us. We are driven to rumination… But we should humbly acknowledge our limited capacity to understand the “big picture.”

 

 

 

As Paul taught:

We see through a glass darkly…

(1 Corinthians 13:12)

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Tom Irvine and his wife Jan live in Madison, Alabama.  They have three adult sons, Joseph, Ben and Daniel.  Tom works as an engineering contractor for NASA, developing mechanical shock & vibration analysis software.  He identifies as someone who has Asperger’s  syndrome, although he has never been formally diagnosed.

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