“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8) Unless you can understand what the word Sovereign means, and the only One that it will ever apply to, unless you, with the finite minds that we have, can comprehend the infinite God that we serve, you will never understand the implications of this verse.
For years I have contemplated it, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is calling a mere human, dust of the earth, His friend. You will need to go back in time here, but not quite as far as you might think, to what the word “friend” means. Since the advent of certain internet sites, “friend” has taken on an entirely new meaning, inferring now not a personal, deep relationship, but simply a name on a screen, in fact over the last few decades, the word has slowly diminished in its intensity and meaning.
A friend is someone who will still come in your house when they do not like your dog, they are invited in even if you have not cleaned the place for a couple of days, a friend will hurt you on purpose if they know that it will help you. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:6) But a true friend is much more than that. They will do for you what they do not want to do if it helps you, they will sacrifice their time and energy to assist you, and all you need to do is ask, and many times, not even that is necessary.
There is no animosity between friends, there is no lying, neither is better than the other, and both esteem each other higher than themselves. And what do the Scriptures say? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Do not just focus on the lay down their lives part, for while indeed the Savior did this for us, He also did something else, He left heaven, willingly, left many of His attributes to power, if you will, there, while coming here for who? His friends. But think on these words for a moment, “no greater love.” There are no friends who do not love each other, and here is where the world fails at friendship every time, they have demeaned the word.
Acquaintances, close associations, even to be “friended” now encompasses the lost’s ideology of the word friend. A friend, my friends, will die for you, every day, and every day they do. We modify who we are for our friends, we stop or start doing things differently, not because we may lose that friendship if we do not, but because we love them. A friend will yell at you, in a heated argument they will say things that will hurt you, but the love will not diminish, such is the love of Christ to all who He calls friends. “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)
Because of what, what changed these servants, these bond slaves into friends. Not just because they believed, but because they obeyed, they did what was asked, commanded if you like, not out of servitude, not out of desire to get something out of it, but because they loved Him, and their love was shown by their actions and deeds.
True friendship takes time, for true friendship is based first in trust, and none of us are born to trust without due cause, without proof that the trust is implicit. My brothers and sisters, if you cannot trust Jesus Christ in all things, you cannot love Him, and if you cannot love Him without question, then you will not be called His friend.
Everyone that comes to the Father by the Son is loved of God, but I am not sure that everyone of us is going to be called His friend. “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10) That does not sound like a friend, that sounds like a willing, and perhaps even a profitable servant, but it does not sound like a friend. I know only that within myself, I have never yet felt worthy of either title, and until and if He looks me in the eye and tells me that I can call Him my friend, I will remain as I am, willing to serve.