DOES OUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES REALLY MATTER?


I can remember growing up my mother always telling me to be careful who I call my friends and who I associate myself with. She would always say if you hang with the wrong crowd of people even though you might not be that type of person. People will have that same perception of you. Of course growing up we never really think our parents know what they are talking about. Well while growing up and as I was getting older I found out how true that statement was. I would go on to learn some lesson that could have been avoided if I would have just listened to her. I eventually got it right and began to have friends and associates who were heading in the right direction. Because of that in the end I benefited from some on those relationships in my life. I also now explain the same things to my children passing on what my mother always tried to tell me. How many times have we turned on the television and found someone guilty by association having nothing to do with the situation that might have taken place. How many times have we turned on the television and seen someone life completely change because of good friendship associations or bad friendship associations. Even as an adult we must be mindful of those we call our friends and who we associate with. So the question is, do our associates and friends really matter and have an impact on our life? There are some great stories in the bible that we can be reminded of. There are 4 people I would like to talk about, Noah, Pharaoh, Ruth, Rehoboam and Daniel.

Being connected to Noah was a blessing for his wife his son’s and their wives. Genesis 7:1- The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Genesis 7: 13- On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. Because of their connection to him their lives were saved. I can only image after the rain began to fall how many other people wish they could have been connected to Noah in some kind of way.

Being associated with Pharaoh though is a different story.  Those who were apart of his family not by choice suffered greatly and those who were associated with him also suffered because of his bad decisions. Their story does not turn out to be a blessing but more of a curse.  Exodus 14:23-28- “The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites!!! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horseman.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at day break the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen-the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

As for Ruth, her willingness to stay connected to Naomi brought her a family line full of blessings. I can only image what her life would have been like if she chose to leave Naomi like Orpah who we no longer hear anything about. Instead the bible says she clung to her. Ruth:1:14-17- At this they wept again, Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. In the end she was blessed and through her blood line came King David. Something I would like to also point out here not to get off my point but if you reread this you can see her strong loyalty to Naomi.

The story of Rehoboam who was the son of King Solomon and the King of Israel is not as long as other stories. But you can tell if you read 1 King Chapter 12 what type of King and person he was that caused issues for everyone around him. One of the people who suffered because of him was Adoniram. 1 King 12:18- King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. Adoniram was killed because he was not only associated with King Rehoboam but also because he was used to do the Kings dirty work.

Lastly being connected to Daniel and receiving a blessing from it is one of my favorite stories. Daniel was a man full of faith, knowledge, wisdom and a man dedicated to prayer. Because of his character his friends Hananiah who is also known as Shadrach, Mishael also known as Meshach and Azariah also known as Abednego were blessed. Daniels characteristic traits rubbed off on them. The bible says that the King found none equal to them  and that in every matter of wisdom and understanding he questioned them about that he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.  Daniel was a friend who encouraged prayer because he knew the power in it. Daniel 2:17- Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Every time Daniel was elevated to a position his three friends were never left out. Daniel 2:48-49- Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

So here is the question. Are those connected to you as family or friends a good influence to you or a blessing to you and your life? Are you a blessing and a good influence to those that are connected to you as family and friends in their life-like Daniel? I pray that we really take a look at how our friends and associates impact our life and the way we impact there lives so that we can be a blessing and receive a blessing from those that we are connected to in Jesus name Amen!!!
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