I watched the two young girls seal their pact of friendship. Both were about seven years old and I smiled as I fondly reminisced over my friends that I made at the same age, performing the same gesture. Sadly, none of these childhood companions are my friends today and I lament this. Different schools, moving away, careers and families, and simply growing older-the usual reasons why friends drift apart. Thus, when I witness the beginning of a friendship, it is with optimism and hope that the bond will remain.
When Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab, who was coming to meet him. After they had greeted each other, Jehu said to him, “Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?”
“Yes, I am,” Jehonadab replied.
“If you are,” Jehu said, “then give me your hand.” So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu helped him into the chariot. Then Jehu said, “Now come with me, and see how devoted I am to the LORD.” So Jehonadab rode along with him.
2 Kings 10:15-16 (NLT)
The Bible records this tender exchange between two men. Jehu was anointed by the prophet Elisha to be king of Israel and was commanded to destroy any remnant and ungodly influence of King Ahab. After completing this task, he was enroute to round up the evil prophets and worshippers of the false god Baal that was encouraged by Ahab. Undoubtedly he knew of the loyalty and faith of Jehonadab the Recabite and wanted him as an ally. The friendship began with a grasp of hands. Together, they helped to re-establish the spiritual strength of the Israelites. What about the friendship between Jehu and Jehonadab? We do not read of Jehonadab again until the prophet Jeremiah records this exchange.
Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”
Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NLT)
In this beautiful example, Jehonadab’s loyalty to Jehu rippled forward through time, two hundred years later, to be acknowledged by the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah praised the loyalty and faith of Jehonadab’s family, never wavering in their fealty to their patriarch. God blessed them by promising their descendants would always serve in God’s Kingdom. While we may see the results of loyalty of friendships within our lifetimes, it is a blessing to see it extend through many successive generations.
Although I no longer have my friends from my early childhood, God has blessed me with friends who are dear brothers in Christ, all mighty men of God. Like Jehonadab and Jehu, we have fought many spiritual battles, forging a bond that I pray will also last for generations through our respective families.
Whether it is a pinky promise, a grasp of the hand, or an embrace, friendships are sacred and may have eternal significance in God’s Kingdom. Friendships forged through spiritual service to serve God, will always be recognized by Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.