The wicked will be thrown down in his trouble,
but the righteous have refuge even in the threat of death.
Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning;
it is known even in the heart of fools.
I probably shouldn’t remind you because I don’t want you to blame me for getting the song stuck in your head, but do you remember the song: “Friends in Low Places”? Good ol’ Garth Brooks gave the world a song that would become one of the worst ear-worms of all time.
Anyway, I don’t want to get into the deep theological meaning behind the song, because there isn’t one. I guess you could argue that there is always a theological issue of some kind, but it’s not primary. What I do want to draw reference to is the kind of friends you accumulate as a result of the two different lifestyles that are the focus of the book of Proverbs. The fool/wicked and the wise/righteous.
The fool isn’t really in the process of making friends. In fact, because of his actions, he’s probably more in the process of losing friends and alienating people (as opposed to winning friends and influencing people). He only thinks of himself and how everyone and everything exists to meet his needs. As a result of this, he’s constantly pushing people away.
However, the way the righteous person lives, he is doing just the opposite. He is winning friends and influencing people. He seeks to be helpful and meet the needs of those around him whenever he has the opportunity. He builds up and lifts up those who get to know him.
This isn’t just a proverb about making friends. It’s a proverb about who’s going to have your back when you need some help. When you’re in a situation that is out of your control, will you have built up friendships and relationships who can help you in the “low places,” or will you have driven everyone who could help away so that you don’t have anything or anyone to depend on but yourself?
There will be a time when you need someone else’s help. Are you influencing people so they have your back? Or are you influencing people who want to kick you when you’re down?