When the wicked increase, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Proverbs 29:16
There is a principle at work here - and one that has been seen again and again in the world. The more the wicked increase in a society, the more that the society will turn toward wickedness. This is not a recent phenomenon - it has been happening ever since the fall of man. In fact, one of the most powerful examples of it was not long after man fell into sin.
We read in Geneis chapter 6 of this kind of situation. "Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose." The progression here is fascinating to see. First the wicked began to multiply. You might wonder why I think the wicked multiplied - and not the godly. The reason for this is because man is sinful - and will always orient himself toward his sin and ungodliness unless God intervenes by His grace to change things. The next step was that the wicked began to modify - and they modified God's intention for marriage. They married at will - based on something other than God's plan. This led to the wicked multipliying even more. The god-desired role of the family was perverted and rather than pass on godliness - men began to pass on and even grow in his wickedness.
We read in verse 5 of that same chapter of Genesis, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Two more things began to happen. The wicked began to magnify their wickedness. God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. The original intent for creation was to magnify the Creator, God. Now it was filled with men who magnified the creation, man. The second thing that happened was the the Wicked began to meditate on their wickedness. Every intent of the thoughts of their heart became evil continually. God's desire was for men to meditate on Him and His Word - instead, they meditated on their godless desires - which led to even worse conditions.
The wicked then turned to mayhem and murder in their wickedness. God said the following to Noah about this in verse 13 of chapter 6 of Genesis. “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth." James warns us in chapter 4 of his letter that the cause of our fighting is our lusts that wage war within us. This leads us to even kill so that we can fulfill our lusts that rage for more within us. The sad ending of all this is that the choices of the wicked led to the condemnation of the wicked. God destroyed that generation.
As we turn our attention back to our proverb - we see just what Solomon is communicating to his sons - and to all who would read these words. When the wicked increase, transgression among men increases as well. But in the end the righteous will see their fall. Wickedness cannot reign long in a land - it consumes it to a point of catastrophe. It did so in Noah's day - and we read that as it was in the days of Noah, so also it shall be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. The ungodly will always be ungodly - and the wicked will seek to multiply their wickedness. But what is there for us to learn from this - just don't be wicked? No, there is a message for us today - one that will magnify the grace of God in the gospel.
How can we keep the wicked from increasing? Every time a child is born - another ungodly heart enters the human race. We are fallen - and we multiply into more fallen men and women over time. The answer lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the ONLY way that we can stem the tide of the wicked multiplying on the earth. We must multiply! We must be about sharing Jesus Christ with all who are around us. We must take the one thing that can take a wicked heart and transform it into a godly one. That one thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples of all the nations. As the early church took that mandate seriously they multiplied disciples - leading them to Christ - baptizing them as they identified with Christ - teaching them to obey all Jesus commands - and then doing it in each and every generation until the end of the age. This, and only this, can stand against the wicked and their wickedness multiplying in a society! May God give us grace to accept no substitutes in this matter - no political or social or military option which in the end will only fail. May we see that the glorious mandate to minister the gospel - and make disciples IS God's only answer for our world!
An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. Proverbs 28:25
A wise man knows that arrogance and pride are always evil. There are not many things we can say are wrong always - but this is one of them. God said in James that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Embrace pride and you will embrace resistance to God's will and ways.
What we learn here about the arrogant man is that he stirs up strife. This is because the arrogant man considers himself right and first at all times and in all things. His pride will not allow him to consider others before himself. the ultimate example of this is Lucifer who, although the annointed one who covered - some say the highest angel in all of heaven - he decided he would be God. This arrogance stirred up the ultimate stife in all the universe. First it stirred up strife among the angels as a third of them followed him into his eternal insanity. They were subsequently cast out of heaven and are condemned for all eternity for following the pride of the devil.
On a much lower level, we too will find ourselves in strife when we are arrogant. An arrogant man will not humble himself. He will resist confessing sin - or even the thought of him doing something wrong. He will not serve others - but will demand that others serve him. He will not follow leadership - because he wants to lead - and then wants no one to question his leadership. His very demeanor will stirr up strife among others who will react to his arrogant ways.
What is portrayed against this strife-causing arrogance is a man who trusts in the Lord. He looks to God and relys on God's work in people's hearts and minds. As a result he does not have to have his own way. He does not view others as a threat. He can serve them and place himself lower than all others because ultimately he knows that God is in sovereign over all things. The greatest example of this is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was God, He did not consider equality with God a thing to be grapsed - but humbled Himself and became a man. Christ's humility and trust in God led to very interesting places. He became a man - humbled himself to be a servant - and wound up on a cross being crucified for others. Yet, whereas Satan's pride and arrogance cost him everything - the humility and trust of Jesus in God won Him the name that is above every name. He was blessed for all eternity as the One Who saves. To say that Christ's humble trust caused Him to prosper is an understatement of monumental proportions!
But let's take a moment and leave the lofty courts of heaven itself and get in the trenches where you and I live every day. When we are arrogant and feel like we need to defend ourselves and get what our rights deserve . . . those actions will lead to strife. It is when we trust the Lord and lay down our rights that we will prosper. It is not when we take up the crown but when we embrace the servant's towel that we will prosper. Trust the Lord in every circumstance and become a servant to others. Allow the Lord to prosper you - and then use that prosperity to bring glory to God. This is the way to true happiness and to a blessed life. It may cost in the short term - but in the long term of a person's life it will lead to so much more - and to the ultimate blessings for all eternity!
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor. Proverbs 21:21
What are you pursuing in life? It is not unusual to hear someone say that they are pursuing a career in some field of endeavor. When we hear someone say this we know that they are puting their energies and their time into study and practice of that discipline. It means that they have a goal in front of them and that goal is what guides them in much of what they do. Thus the question begs to be asked, "What are your pursuing when it comes to spiritual things?"
God points us to wisdom by telling us that there are two things that are very worthy of pursuit when it comes to spiritual matters. These two things are righteousness and loyalty. Today we will take a closer look at what it means to pursue these two things. We will also see in the rewards that God says come to those to follow this pursuit the reason why this is exceedingly wise.
When God says to pursue these things He uses the word, "radaph." This word means to chase or to follow after closely and with great effort and energy. The idea is that one is not just to pursue - but one is to overtake these things. The mindset is that we will not be content with a life without righteousness and without loyalty. These are things we must have - and thus in our pursuit we are passionate and totally committed. This is not a hobby or just something to add to our resume. This is a hot pursuit that is pleased only with the eventual 'catching' or 'having' of these things. Nothing else will do.
We pursue righteousness - which in Hebrew is "tsedequah." This word means righteousness abstractly - but when applied to how we live our lives it speaks of moral rectitude - of a desire to have our lives measure up to a standard of right and good that is found in God and in His Word. It speaks of living a life of justice in how we relate to others and especially how we relate to the poor and unfortunate. The word refers to a moral standard that is not set according to the world and its views. The moral standard and sentiment we embrace is that which is found in the pages of Scripture. Yet the righteousness we seek is not by law. The Scriptures which speak of this righteousness say that we obtain it by faith. It is not a set of rules - it is a person - the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately we pursue Him for only He can transform us and make us righteous.
We also pursue loyalty. The Hebrew word used here is "chesed" which refers to more than just a loyalty. This is the word that most closely relates to the New Testament word grace. It is the word that is used to describe God's love and commitment to His covenant people. It is easily translated, "covenant-love." Paul says to us in the New Testament to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. What we are to pursue in life is the grace of God. We live by grace - and advance in life by grace. In pursuing grace - we are kind of pursuing the One who is pursuing us. We pursue love and commitment. We pursue a selflessness that is evidenced by the love of God in Christ Jesus. Kind of cool here to see that even in an Old Testament proverb we are told to pursue righteousness by faith and a God who gives us such a righteousness by His loving, selfless grace.
What will we find when we give ourselves to such a pursuit? We are told of three things. First is that we will receive life. "Chayim" is the word for life here - and it simply means life itself. We are made alive when we pursue these two wonderful things. Consider the New Testament call to us - that when we pursue Christ, Who is the ultimate source of life - the ultimate way of life - and who is the life itself - we receive eternal life. This is the life of God, Who alone is eternal. We have a quality of life that can only be received from God Himself. Second in our set of three blessings is "righteousness." This is the same word as was used earlier - and it simply means that in seeking and pursuing righteousness - we receive righteousness as a gift by faith - through the grace of God. This does not mean we attain righteousness by our own choice of lifestyle. The fact is we are given righteousness by a gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are stunned to learn that when God gives us this gift - we are just as righteous as Jesus Himself - by God's wonderful gift - and as a result of that - we can be transformed to reflect that righteousness in all our ways. The third in this list of glorious benefits is honor. The word for honor here is "kavod" and it is the word God uses for glory. When we pursue the proper things - it is to the glory of God - and we receive from it the honor of His working in our hearts. What a glorious gift is ours - to receive the glory of salvation - the glory of God's righteousness - the glory of being at peace with God - the glory of His marvelous transformation of our lives. This is ours when we pursue the One Who in His mercy pursues us by grace.
Want to know what to pursue in life? Pursue God! That is the ultimate answer when all is said and done with today's proverb. It is a wise thing to pursue God - and to pursue His righteousness by His grace. This is both the ultimate pursuit in life and the ultimate prize! Oh the glories of pursuing the One Who pursues us! Oh the joy of capturing the One Who by grace captures our hearts. Pursue, dearest saints - pursue for you will find as you do - that you are gloriously pursued by the One Who loves you more than you could ever dream of being loved!
Ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 10:2
What is true treasure? When I think about this I go back to my childhood memories of the book Treasure Island
. My mind thinks of pirates and those who ride the high seas in search of that most illusive of all things - buried treasure. I consider the intrigue and the hidden motives and betrayals that await me as I read of a journey based upon a tattered treasure map. The air is heavy with excitement as the first shovel of dirt and sand is lifted on the very spot where the X is on the map. That excitement reaches fever pitch as the shovel thuds for the very first time on the chest itself.
Solomon tells us about a kind of treasure in this proverb. The phrase "ill-gotten gains," is actually the Hebrew phrase, "The treasures of wickedness." So we find that there are treasures that no matter how much they say they are worth - are actually worthless. When we seek our treasures here on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal, we are only gathering up the treasures of wickedness. In fact, unless we are locating the X on God's map - the gospel of Jesus Christ - everything we think is true treasure is only a chest filled with filthy rags. Let me explain further.
Solomon tells us in the second half of this proverb, "but righteousness delivers from death." What a powerful phrase he has just uttered. What a prophetic phrase it is as well. Any treasure that cannot deliver us from death is not a treasure at all. This is where we begin to see there is only one treasure that we should desire. The Scriptures say some interesting things about this Treasure. Jesus asked the question, 'What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matthew 16:26
) There is an interesting question. What will you give in exchange for your soul? What amount of money or earthly treasure will pay the price for our souls? The psalmist answers that question when he says, 'No man can by any means redeem his
brother Or give to God a ransom for him—For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying
forever.' (Psalm 49:7-8
There is NO price in human terms that will ever be able to buy our souls. The problem is not with a financial price, it is with the currency that must be paid for our souls. Our problem is that the price tag is blood - blood of an holy sacrifice offered to God. The price is the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He paid the final and ONLY acceptable price for our souls. When he gave up His Spirit on the cross His final cry was, "Tetelestai!" That is a financial term meaning, "Paid in full!"
The cost for our souls is perfect righteousness. We must be absolutely holy and pure to come into God's presence. Any sin would merit His full wrath being poured out upon us. Coming into His presence without this righteousness would be as foolish as Nadab and Abihu's approach to God in Exodus. Their entrance without righteousness resulted in them being consumed by the fire of God instantly. Considering the fact that God tells us in His Word that all our righteousness is like filthy rags - we quickly see that we are in need of a righteousness that will stand before God.
Praise the Lord, God provided that righteousness Himself through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He came and fulfilled the Law. He came and lived a perfect life absolutely keeping all God's commandments and precepts. Then He took our sin upon Himself and paid the horrific penalty of God's wrath. Through His death, burial, and resurrecton God now forgives our sin and gives us the glorious exchange - His righteousness for our sin. By the grace of God we have been justified by God. Justified means, "declared righteous." As a result of being justified/declared righteous we can now stand before God - not in our own righteousness, but clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the "righteousness that delivers from death."
All the treasures of all the ages piled as high as the heavens amount to nothing before our holy God. Added together they still amount to a sum of the "treasures of wickedness." All the achievements of all the people who have worked to attain them mean nothing in light of our sin. None of these things profit us - or have profited any son of Adam. What we need is the "righteousness that delivers from death." That righteousness was provided by God Himself. It is only attained when we receive it as a gift by the grace of God. It comes only through Jesus Christ. In light of these undisputable Biblical facts there is then only one question to be answered. Are you trusting in the treasures of wickedness to deliver your soul from death - or - are you trusting in Jesus Christ. Only He has the righteousness that delivers from death.
Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man? Proverbs 20:6
I love it when one of the proverbs has a perfect biblical example in the New Testament. This is the case with today's proverb. It speaks of those who declare their own loyalty - but then asks the question of whether anyone can even find a trustworthy and faithful man.
The situation we learn of in the New Testament is the history of Peter - who declared that though all the other disciples would abandon Jesus - he would not! Peter made this statement during the Last Supper - and it was followed by strong declarations made aby all the rest of the disciples. But what we saw at the crucifixion was a very different situation. Peter followed Jesus at a distance and eventually denied he even knew Jesus. The others did not even make it that far - abandoning Christ in the garden when the mob came to arrest Him. So much for the prideful declarations of those who proclaim their own loyalty.
There is something fundamentally wrong with a man who trumpets his own loyalty. Filled with pride - he makes boasts of how loyal and trustworthy and faithful he is. Such declarations really should be made by those whom he serves. They are the ones who have evidence of his loyalty - and they should be the ones who speak of that loyalty. Yet this passage states that this guy is blowing his own horn. Be careful then with those who boast of how faithful and true they are. And . . . if you are one who has done this in the past, take the advice of another proverb and, "Let another praise you, and not your own lips."
The question that is asked in the second part of this proverb is also interesting. "Who can find a trustworthy man?" Let us take a look at that for a few moments. There are trustworthy men found in the history of the Bible. Solomon knew of one because of his own mother. She was married to a man named Uriah. Now he was a trustworthy man. He was faithful to God and to David. When David brought him home under the guise of asking about the battle - he would not go to his home and sleep with his wife. That was what David desired so that he could cover his own adultery with Bathsheba. But Uriah was a trustworthy man. He said he would sleep in the open like his fellow soldiers - and not go to his home and to his wife. His faithfulness eventually cost him his life. David, who was not being a trustworthy man, had Uriah killed by taking him too close to the wall - where the archers would be able to kill him.
The history of the world is more a history of men being unfaithful. When Solomon asks if anyone can find a trustworthy man - he is asking a very poignent question. There are actually no trustworthy men on the face of the earth - except one. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All have turned aside and become worthless. There is a sin nature that is in every man and woman alive that will assure us that they are not an absolute trustworthy person.
There has only been one trustworthy man - the man Christ Jesus. God testified to that at His baptism where He declared, "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased." Near the end of his time on earth - God allowed James, John, and Peter to see Jesus' inner nature at the Mount of Transfiguration - where the absolute purity and trustworthiness of Jesus was allowed to shine forth. And His resurrection from the dead was absolute proof that He was the only trustworthy man ever.
Solomon's question is a good one. There is only One Who is trustworthy. That man is Jesus Christ - the God-man. He was trustworthy and faithful in all God's commandments. That is why He was able to go to the cross and die for all our sins and rebellion. It is also why God can now declare us righteous. It was because of the One Man Who was a trustworthy man. Although it was said in a different context - Pilate was right when he declared, "Behold the Man!" Even Pilate could not find any fault in Jesus. And the only sentence Christ was declared guilty of - was the fact that He said that He was the Christ. The Pharisees and Saducees on the council declared Him a blasphemer - but God declared Him the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead! Cling to that faithful and trustworthy Man.
Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! Proverbs 30:4
Wisdom has as its core quest God Himself. A wise man will look at the glory of the heavens and the earth and realize that such order and such majesty is not just the work of random forces. Thus he will see the order - see the creation and immediately realize that there is a Creator. We will try to look at each of these questions and see the wisdom in asking these things. (Due to the sheer grandeur of the questions themselves - we will only answer one each post on this verse - therefore there will be multiple posts on verse 4 in this blog).
Question #1 - "Who has ascended into heaven and descended?" What is fascinating is that God asked questions very similar to this to Job when Job decided that God was unjust - and that Job needed for God to explain Himself in Job's suffering. The Word of God answers this first question - which assumes that there is a God. There is also an assumption that the one who has ascended into heaven itself and descended would be an authority on these matters. Humans are a horrible choice when it comes to the matter of the origin of the earth and all its processes (like wind, clouds and rain, creation, and the identity of God Himself who made all these things).
Here we have our first problem with philosophers in our world. They want to know why and how we can just assume that there is a God. They make no such assumption - demanding proof that there is a God or gods before they continue. The argument here is honestly pretty simple. For there to be a creation - for there to be something - there has to be a creator - there has to be someone who made it. When we see a painting we do not doubt there was a painter. When we see a building we do not doubt there was a builder. When we see a book we do not doubt there was an author. Why then when we see creation do we doubt a creator? To argue that there is no God - and that creation was never created - it just happened - is to argue that nothing plus no one equals everything. It is also to argue that if random processes just happened to bring about everything around us - that there is absolutely no reason to exist - and that it is the height of foolishness to even ask if there is meaning in anything around us. The worldview that demands that God prove Himself beyond the fact that there is a creation of His making, is to descend into Nihlism. That is the only "honest" conclusion that can be reached if there was no intelligent being behind the design in our universe. If everything came about by chance - it still exists by chance - and since there is no reason to random chance - there is no reason to our lives and no reason for which we exist.
The wise man, as said earlier, knows to ask these questions. His assumption is that God is able to ascend and descend the heavens at will. If God is able to make all that we see - and even beyond that - going up into heaven and coming down from there is not difficult. If there is such care and such glorious design in all that there is - He must be a God of detail and beauty. No one has seen God at any time. The Word itself tells us that if a man were to see God he would not live. Thus, the question also asked here is who has the revelation of God. Who has ascended before Him - and who hase descended to earth again. Here we have the answer - it was Jesus Christ - He is the One who has given us the perfect revelation of God through His life, death, burial, and rsurrection. There is only one who has done this - and it is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has ascended and descended! He has brought us revelation of God - but has also brought us far more! He has brought us salvation and a payment for our sins.
Wisdom drives us to know Who God is. And true wisdom is in knowing that God has revealed Himself and shown us Who He is. We find in Scripture that this is answered on our behalf. Jesus Christ is the One who has ascended into heaven - and descended from it. Know Him and we will know wisdom. Know Him and we will know all that we truly need to know in this life and in this world.
The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded. Proverbs 13:13
How you view and deal with God's Word will determine in great measure what kind of life you live and in the end, what kind of reward you receive.
There have been those throughout history who have despised God's Word. They hold it in contempt. They scorn and disrespect what God has said. They scoff at its commands and laugh at the worldview it presents. For at least two thousand years they have tried to tear it down and make their own words powerful. After two thousand years of this one would think the Word of God would have been beaten to dust. Yet the Word of God still stands - still speaks - still works in the hearts of those who receive it as the Word of God. Not only this, but it still is THE STANDARD by which we shall be judged before God.
The man who despises God's Word will still be in debt to it. The grass withers, the flower falls off - but the Word of the Lord shall stand. Every man will have to stand before God on the day of judgment and give account for the deeds which he has done in the flesh. Every man is in debt to the commandments of God - especially those which he has broken. The call out to the living God for judgment and are tied about the neck of those who have broken them like an eternal albatross. Though they rebel against them and mock them, they will be tied to them as surely as Samson was chained to the grinding wheel for his sin. Man may shout and insult the Word of God, but man will also stand accountable to it. The debt mounts day by day - and that debt must be paid.
The one who fears and respects the Word of God - who sees the commandment and trembles - that man will be rewarded. It is only as we approach the commandments of God and fear that we will receive wisdom and understanding. What is interesting is what the commandment will teach us who fear and respect it.
God's commands require obedience. Our problem is that we cannot offer it - not in the manner God requires. We fall short of God's glory in the commandments and become guilty of sin. By the commandments of God no man will become righteous - for by these very commandments we become aware of our sin and accountability to Him. But the reward that comes from knowing this is that we come instead to a knowledge of our need - of a salvation that is apart from works. This salvation comes through Jesus Christ - Who alone is the reward for those who learn from the Law. As Galatians says - the law is given to us as a school teacher that we might be justified by faith. We tire of our own efforts at reform and restoration and instead turn to the only means of salvation - Jesus Christ.
Despising the Word of God is a sport fit for fools. Yet those who learn from the Word - who listen to the Teacher - run to Christ and find in Him a reward greater than any we could have ever fathomed!
A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Can a man have too many friends? Is that what this passage is talking about - or - is it instructing us as to what kind of friends to make and to keep?
The "man of too many friends" is an interesting phrase. The word friend here is a very vanilla term. In order to know what kind of friend it refers to you have to understand the context. Yet the second time "friend" is used - the word is very specific.
The man of too many friends is the one who wants everyone to be his friend. He is willing to compromise who he is in order to make everyone his friend. I love the comments by Adam Clarke on this part of the verse.
There is a kind of factitious friendship in the world, that, to show one's self friendly in it, is very expensive, and in every way utterly unprofitable: it is maintained by expensive parties. feasts, etc., where the table groans with dainties, and where the conversation is either jejune and insipid, or calumnious; backbiting, talebearing, and scandal, being the general topics of the different squads in company. - Adam Clarke -
What happens to someone who has tons of friends - but is not interested in the "right kind" of friends? They come to ruin. This person may seem to be the most popular among everyone around, but what happens when they leave the room? Then the knives come out - the gossip begins - and the fact that this person is everything for everyone betrays them. These are what are called, "fast friends" who are there for you one day and the next are not. They are not true friends who are with you no matter what.
Solomon, as a king, knew about these people. They are the sycophants who suck up to you when they are with you - and who tear you apart when you leave. They are your friends because they want something - not because they actually like you or have any kind of commitment to your best interests. But when things get difficult, or you lose some of your popularity or power, or you are no longer wealthy they no longer are your friends. When you come to tough times - when you really need a friend - they are no longer there. They were your friend only because of what you provided for them - and now that you cannot provide it - you're gone!
But, we read, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Here the word "friend" means "one who loves" - and is used to describe the love of husband and wife and the love that God has for us. Here is the true friend - who is described as the one who loves you. He sticks closer than even your family. He is steadfast and true to you no matter what happens in your life. His love is not a love FOR something - his is a love that chooses you and remains faithful and true to you for all time.
Interesting that many of the puritans used this verse to describe the Lord Jesus Christ. He is truly the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He stands with and stays with us for all eternity. He set His love and affection upon us from all eternity - and will remain our friend for all eternity.
So . . . what does a true friend look like? How do we act as a true friend? We love people like the Lord Jesus Christ loves them! That is a true friend to have - and a true friend to be.