Let’s read that verse.  Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  Twelve times in the book of Proverbs, we are given instruction regarding a friend.  Proverbs 17:17 speaks of a true friend that is a friend at all times.  Proverbs 19:6 speaks of someone that is not a true friend.  That says, “…every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.”  Let’s look at just a couple more verses that speak of a true friend.  Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  The lesson is obvious.  It is better that a true friend that actually considers the interests of another should wound him for his good.  An insincere flatterer would not do that.  Only a true friend would risk his friendship in order to speak of unpleasant things that need to be talked about.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us that, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  Just as rubbing two pieces of iron together will sharpen both pieces, so two friends will sharpen each other by their constant conversations, openness, and true care for one another.

While a true friend will love at all times, we’re told that a brother is born for adversity.  A brother’s love is specially seen in adversity.  A brother will not desert you in any situation.  It is by going through adversity together that the bond between brothers is strengthened.

This verse speaks so loudly to us of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus said in John 15:15, “I call you no longer bondmen, for the bondman does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things which I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.”  As our friend, the Lord’s love for us is never ending.  We read in John 13:1, “Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come that he should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end.”

The Lord Jesus is our friend AND our brother.  Hebrews 2:11 says, “For both he that sanctifies and those sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”  In times of adversity; in times of weakness and failure, the Lord is there with us and He is not ashamed to acknowledge that we are His brothers and sisters.  As a good example, we can look at the life of Joseph.  In Genesis 39, Joseph was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar’s wife.  He was cast into prison where he stayed for several years.  In this great time of adversity, we read in Genesis 39:2, 3, 21, and 23 that the Lord was with Joseph.  He did not abandon him, and He will not abandon us.  The Lord has promised us in Hebrews 13:5, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  (182.3)