Friends With God

Some of what I propose in this devotional is obvious. The problem with the obvious is that it gets overlooked and taken for granted; it becomes mundane and unexciting. So how do we take the emotions and conduct of being a friend and having a friend back to exciting? What was it about Abraham that God would name this man, and this man alone in all Scripture, "Abraham, my friend"? (Isaiah 41:8)

Before we address being a friend of God lets take the more elementary steps of being a friend to anyone. Typically we choose our human friends based on like-mindedness and reliability. We have common interests and we know we can count on each other. Friendship is most definitely a two-way street. I find that if I substitute the word 'friendship' for 'love' in Paul's definition of love in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 13:4-7), I now have a well-founded pathway to being a friend. Old cliches and common sense insist that "to have a friend we must be a friend".

As friends we allow ourselves to be accountable to one another and we honor our responsibility as our friend bares their soul and becomes accountable to us. When a friend is victorious we celebrate with them and when they stumble we hold their hand and seek a way to get them back on their feet. When our friend confesses their shortcomings – their trespasses – even against us, we embrace their honesty, we salute their contriteness, and we forgive, and when our friend calls out for a need we set our own agendas aside and come to the rescue where possible. Sometimes we can only offer a shoulder, but how often I can recall that shoulder being all I needed at the time. Being a friend is developing that relationship where nothing is off limits, where we keep our promises, and where love is the order of the day.

So what was it about Abraham that God would call him 'friend'? Surely we are aware of some of his mis-steps such as the journey to Egypt, where Sarah would acquire Hagar and that ill fated consequence. When I read the story of Joseph I wonder why God didn't call him friend. Scripture doesn't reveal any wrongdoing by him. Though nothing of the sort is found in scripture, it has been suggested by scholars that perhaps Joseph participated in idol worship as a member of the Egyptian elite. We read in Acts that David was "a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do."  (Acts 13:22), yet God did not call David 'friend'. The question remains – what was it about Abraham that caused God to call him friend?

We find the answer in Genesis. Isaac has gone to the land of the Philistines because of a famine. God speaks to Isaac telling him not to go to Egypt and promises him that He will keep the promise He made to Abraham "because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." (Gen. 26:1-5)

Is it that simple? Obedience? Surely there must be more than that. Does all God ask of us to be called His friend is that we obey?

I find that obedience is the natural product of faith. In Hebrews, chapter eleven, we read of the OT faithful elite and it says of Abraham that when God called him to leave his family and home to go to a place where he did not know, "he obeyed". (Heb. 11:8)

Fast forward to the New Testament and the testimony of Jesus as related in John. Our Lord Jesus speaking to the apostles tells them, "You are my friends if you do what I command" (see the whole passage – John 15:9-17) Once again the prerequisite for friendship with God, whether the Father or Son, is obedience.

As a child I remember being bullied and pushed around in school. I recall wishing I had a big strong friend to rescue me, but that never came to be. Today we are bullied by any number of adversaries – Satan tempts us and our sinful nature gives in. This fallen world brings bullies in the way of sickness, heathen employers, and calamities and maladies by the score. Yet God has promised to rescue us from our storms – whatever their source – if we are obedient to His commands. (Exodus 23:22)

What comfort it is to know the Mighty, Majestic, Omnipotent, Creator God stands with us, desiring to be our friend if we will only obey.

Be blessed.

Comments

  1. Praise God for His healing and His faithfulness!   I am a friend of God!   He calls me "friend".  God bless you and Judy.   

  2. I enjoyed your article on friendship and the tie in on frienship with God. You made some great points from an interesting perspective that I'm sure will inspire many of us to greater obedience. I had never thought to ponder why God called Abraham  friend and not the others. Thank you.

  3. Denise Marsh says:

    How is your wife?

    • Michael Warnock says:

      Judy is doing very well. Thank you for asking. We got results from her latest CaT scan last week. She remains cancer free! Praise God for answered prayers.

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