9 ¶ Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. 10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
Matthew Henry takes these verses together and they seem to have a connectedness. The sweetness of friendship, from God’s point of view, doesn’t manifest itself in a few laughs or an afternoon watching a game or a shopping trip, but in the trust that comes from good and passionate counsel. A true friend’s concern for your success or failure and, moreso, your welfare, is of much more value than a person’s friendship who just hangs out with you for a few laughs.
The Proverbs go on to say that a neighbor near to you, someone you can reach quickly and can talk to without waiting, is better to turn to in a crisis or a tragedy than even a brother who is far away. So, it is better to have a friend who gives you good and sound counsel than one who is just for trivial matters and a friend who lives close by is better to count on in time of trouble than a brother or sister who lives far away.
In addition, the Proverbs point out that such a friend you should not turn your back on. Even a dear friend of a parent, if nearby, is better than relying on a relative who is far away.
Christ is always close to us. He is always there for our benefit and to commune with us. We are always close to Christ in prayer.
Psalm 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
We have been brought near to God by the shedding of God’s own blood.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
We should be in a constant state of prayer, speaking to God.
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
By this constant contact we can have peace of mind and calm assurance.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Christ is the Christian’s dearest friend and greatest help in time of trouble. He is that friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Prayer accomplishes things because there is someone on the other end of the prayer who is real, living, and who loved you enough to die for you in the flesh, to take on your sins against Him, and to pay the price you owed to Him for your sin. Prayer does not accomplish things because you think something hard enough or wish for it fervently. It is because God is not a concept or an idea but a living being with a soul, a spirit, and a body; all three of which can act independently of each other and yet be in perfect harmony unlike your soul, spirit, and body which must remain together for you to physically live.
For many people prayer is just wishful thinking or, as the atheists believe, a person talking to the ceiling or themselves. But, if you have truly trusted Christ as your Saviour, then He is your friend as well. His counsel, His Bible, is hearty counsel and He is closer than a brother.
John 15:15 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.
Speak to Him now in your heart, in your thoughts, sitting in your kitchen, upon your bed, at work, wherever you are; thank Him, praise Him, and ask Him for the yearnings of your heart. Ask what He is going to do with you this day and be aware of what He does. Most of all, seek His will and His counsel. There is no one you can trust more to care for you.
1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.