I cannot comprehend the King calling me His friend. It is inconceivable to me that the Creator of the universe and all that is in it, calling one that will return to the dust His friend, a created being out of hundreds of millions of other souls that He has made. Look at Exodus 33:11 and see the first instance we have of this in the Scriptures, “ And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face , as a man speaketh to his friend.” Can you see the Lord sitting in the tent with Moses, telling Him plainly the answers to his questions, speaking with him not in parables, dreams or visions, but just as another man would speak to his friend.
Consider that word ‘friend’ and the implications of what we are speaking of here, someone you can trust implicitly, an individual that you hold no secrets from, someone that you are always open and honest with, and now imagine that someone is God Himself. Of course, no secrets can be kept from Him, but to be open and honest at all times in front of Him is an amazing thing in itself. It is within all of us to be this person, but we have a tendency to not trust fully, to not be open even with those that we may love the most, for to be open means to offer the possibility of being hurt. Not so with our Lord, for His desire is always only for our betterment, for our growth, and that type of closeness must first be won with an attitude of trust.
Each time that we are allowed to enter into a trial or tribulation, the Lord is saying to us, “Do you trust me,” do you trust me enough to allow me to place this burden of trouble upon your shoulders, to set this temporary sorrow next to you. For those that have just been saved, as it were, this trust must be earned, for it is the rare example of a Christian to immediately ask of the Lord to place him in what even those who have walked with Him for some time would call a ‘precarious position,’ a place where true faith is to be tested. Of course, our Lord does not, at least normally, do this to his new children, but instead gradually sets before them, and each of us, trials that grow in scope and nature, and sometimes duration. As we grow in our trust in Him, we begin to love Him the more for always proving himself to be faithful, and to never leave us or forsake us, (Deut. 31:8) and as time goes on we see Him not only in these trials that He allows, but in all avenues of our lives to be friendly towards us.
But to be called a friend of God is still something that I cannot conceive within my mind when thinking of myself in this area. Look now at James 2:23, “And the Scripture was fulfilled that saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.” If you look in Isaiah 41:8 you will see that it is God Himself calling this man His friend, a man whose heart was set on pleasing his Lord in all that he did. Think on the time when the three came to Abrahams tent that day, (Gen. 18) when the Lord and two of His angelic beings visited the home of the patriarch of the Jewish people. Do not envision some small tent out in the middle of the desert all by itself, for this was a rich man in his day. As the three walked toward their destination, they must have passed by some of the many servants of Abrahams, and I am sure that more than a few glances were passed their way, perhaps they were even stopped by one of these servants for fear of their masters life, for this was not an appointment being kept, perhaps they just appeared for we are told he looked up and they were there, either way Abraham was in the Lords mind that day for a reason.
Of course, Abraham was congenial towards these individuals, for in that time a visitor was rare, and every opportunity to show kindness was looked upon with gratitude. But now notice, after the initial conversation, what the Lord says to the man as they rose up and had already started on their way, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing that I do.” Why would the creator of the universe be concerned with either hiding or telling anyone what His plans are, we can assist Him in them in no way, we can offer no advice that He has not already thought of, and any effort we might exert to help in whatever task that He has set before Himself would be of value to Him, so why stop and think out loud, should I inform Abraham of what I am going to do.
I offer one reason, because Abraham was His friend, and you do not hide anything from your friend. The man could offer His Lord no advice worth listening to, nothing that He had not already thought of, in fact if we read this verse correctly, the Lord had already made up His mind that destroying Sodom and Gomorrah was going to be done, and nothing would deter that. Now see how a man approaches His Lord, in reverence and great humility, as should we all. Abraham asks a question, in reverence, yet he still asks, knowing that the Lord is going to fulfill the purpose for which He has come, for the two angels head towards the city of Sodom, first he wants to know if fifty righteous are found within the city, would the Lord repent and not destroy, and before He even has an opportunity to answer the man, Abraham says something incredible, to some it would seem as almost too much of a statement to make to Almighty God, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right.” Incredible! Telling the Lord God what He should do and how He should act, and though at that time perhaps Abraham felt like it might be a good time to fall to His face, fully prostrate upon the ground, the Lord simply looks at him, perhaps with a small grin on His face and says, “Yes, for fifty I will spare.”
This is how we are to speak to a friend, with open honesty, no reserves in our ideas and thoughts, trusting that what we say will be heard and understood, and trusting even more that if we speak incorrectly, we will be forgiven, and still loved. Friends are like that, maybe it would be more correct to say that best friends are like that, and when God called both Moses and Abraham His friends, I believe that is just what He meant, these are two of my best friends.
I would like you to notice something I consider very important here, neither Moses or Abraham called God their friend, not once. I believe that these two great men of the faith understood something here that many Christians today have missed, something that seems to be growing in the Christian community today, a presumption that God is our friend. I know it sounds out of sorts, for do we not sing songs that imply that we are the friends of God, did not Jesus say in the Book of John 15:14 and 15 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” and “but I have called you friends,” but I can find nowhere in the Scripture where any one called the Lord our God their friend.
I am not implying that He is not our friend, far from it, for no man can seek a higher friendship than that of Christ Himself, but to call Him a friend would be, at least in my own thinking, brazen, overbold and even insolent to a degree. If the Lord God almighty one day calls me His friend, on that day that I meet Him, I will know no other joy for a very long time, but and until He assures me that I can call Him my friend, and even after that day, I will, as we all should, look upon Him as what He is, Holy, divine and the only one that is or ever will be completely righteous.
I hope that day comes though, because I really would like to be able to call Him my friend.