Speaking as a man who has actually had a bad tooth and an unsteady foot, I can say that it must not be a good thing to put confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble. Today's proverb deals with who to trust when times are difficult. The one you want to trust is one who has proven himself faithful - and who has done it over the long haul of life.
A bad tooth is something that is very tricky. I had a tooth that was cracked. It was a hairline crack the entire length of the tooth. This made for a very interesting time eating - and especially drinking something cold. The problem was that the tooth would be fine a lot of the time. It was just when something hit it and opened the hairline crack that things got interesting. My dentist couldn't find it when I went to him about it. He looked and looked, but just couldn't seem to get the hairline to open so that he could see if it was that particular tooth that had gone bad. Then he was able to shoot some liquid where it went into and opened the crack. Needless to say, I began to levitate off the chair in tremendous pain. Thankfully, he was able to remove the tooth - and life has been much better. That experience helps me understand the need for good teeth - not bad.
The same can be easily said for the character of who you trust in a time of trouble. You do NOT want someone who is faithless in that moment. The faithless man is the one who will either run - or possibly even turn on you in trouble. He will not be faithful to stand and fight. He will not be faithful to stand and encourage you. He will not be faithful to stand back to back and watch your back and your blind spots as trouble passes by in life. That man is not to be trusted with your difficulties and trials. For that you want a faithful friend!
Similarly, you don't want someone who is like an unsteady foot. The Hebrew word here specifically speaks of a "slipping" foot. You want a foot that is steady - especially in times of trouble, trial, and storminess in your life. You want to plant your foot and know that it is steady and strong. You want to know that it will not slip - but will be a foundation that though all else is giving way - your foot will be steady. As I said at the begining of today's post - I know something about an unsteady foot. This particular story is somewhat embarassing because it also evidences my propensity for doing some fairly dumb things.
We live in northeast Arkansas - where in the winter we are in the habit of having some pretty nasty ice storms. One winter recently we had a doozy - which dropped about 5-7 inches of ice on us. The problem with ice storms is that they weigh down trees and break their limbs. This ice storm had broken a huge limb off of one of our trees and dropped it into our bedroom. The limb fell in such a way that it pierced through the roof and was sticking through our bedroom ceiling. Seriously lacking wisdom, I made my way onto the roof of our home (which was covered in ice) to get the limb off the roof. With a chainsaw (I know the level of stupidity is rising) and a tree saw, I went to remove the limb. I was able to accomplish this easily and lowered the chainsaw and saw with a rope to the ground. Then I went to get off the roof. The problem was I had pretty much flattened the ice on it to where it made a great slide - which, by the way, is not what you want your roof to be when attempting to get off of it. That is, unless you want to get off quickly - which was what happened to me. What was pretty sure footing on the way up - was not an icy slide on the way down. To say I had an unsteady or slipping foot is an understatement. I survived the fall off the roof onto my driveway (just missing a car hood) and decided that any other limbs could remain as a decorative touch to my roof if they damaged it. I was going to wait until the ice was gone. But, for our purposes today, this was the example of a slipping foot. Not something to trust on an icy roof - or in icy conditions in your life either.
We all are going to face difficulties and trials in life. There will be trouble if we are fallen humans, which we are, in a sinful world - which it is. Therefore there is no need to compound our trials and difficulties by having to rely upon someone who is untrustworthy and unfaithful in the midst of them. This is where you need true friends who are reliable. It is also a reminder to us on an ultimate level to consider Almighty God as the ultimate friend in all circumstances. The false gods of this world will fail you for they are infinitely unfaithful to stand in the ultimate day of trouble - the judgment day. In that day you want the "friend who sticks closer than a brother." You want the Savior whose blood speaks better than the blood of Abel. You want the foundation that will stand when the storms come and the floods burst against the house of your life. You want Jesus Christ - King of kings - Lord of lords - the True and Faithful One Who will stand. And in a lesser, yet very applicable picture for today, you want the Good Tooth and the Steady Foot - both of which Jesus is every day for all eternity. Trust Him - for He will never forsake you - or fail you!