Friends of God
I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.- Genesis 17:2
Three times over in Scripture Abraham is called "the friend of God." In that moment of agony, when tidings came to King Jeboshaphat of the great heathen alliance which had been formed against him, he stood in the Temple, and said,
"Art not Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land.. . and gavest it to the seed of Abraham, thy friend, for ever?" (2 Chron.20:7).
And the Apostle James, at the close of his argument about faith and works, tells us that when Abraham believed God,
"it was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God" (James 2:23).
But, better than all, Jehovah Himself uses the title of friendship, and acknowledges the sacred tie between this much tried spirit and Himself:
"Thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend" (Isa. 41:8).
And it would almost appear as if these two chapters, Genesis 17 and 18, had been written for this, among other things: to show the familiarity and intimacy which existed between the Eternal God and the man who was honoured to be called His "friend". However, in reading them, we must not suppose that there was something altogether exceptional and unique in this marvellous story.
Without doubt it is a true record of what happened more than three thousand years ago; but it is surely also intended as a specimen of the way in which the Eternal God is willing to deal with true-hearted saints in all ages. To hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of His saints, God has been all that He was to Abraham; and He is willing to be all that to us still.
Let us peruse these ancient lines beneath the flood of light shed on them by our Saviour, when He said: "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends" (John 15:15).
The friendship of God is freely offered to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. We cannot merit or deserve it. We cannot establish a prior claim to it. We are simply His bankrupt debtors for ever, wondering at the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, of the unsearchable riches of His grace. May we not say that one ultimate cause of this friendship it in the yearning of the heart of the Eternal for fellowship?
But it must remain for ever a mystery why He should seek it amongst ourselves; the fallen children of Adam; the tenants of bodies of dust; the aphidae on the tiny leaf, called earth, amidst the forest foliage of the universe.
Surely, if He had so desired it, He might have found or if He could not have found, He might have created a race more noble, more obedient, more sympathetic than ourselves. Or, at least, He might have secured one which should not cost Him so dearly, demanding of Him the anguish of Gethsemane, and the blood of the cross. So, perhaps, we are sometimes prone to think. And yet it could not be.
That which is, and has been, must on the whole be the best that could be, since infinite love and wisdom have so ordered it. And perhaps none could be so perfectly the companions and fellows of the Son of God through all the ages as those who know the light, because they have dwelt in the darkness; who know the truth, because they have been ensnared in the meshes of the false; and who can appreciate love, because they have been in the far country, wasting their substance in riotous living, but have been redeemed by His blood.
But what a wondrous destiny there is within our reach!
One to which the first-born sons of light might aspire in vain! At the best they can only be ministers, flames of fire, hearts of love, excelling in strength, hearkening to His word. But we may be the FRIENDS of God; sons and daughters of the great King; members of the body of Christ; constituent parts of His Bride, in her peerless beauty and meetness for her Spouse.
As one writes such words as these, the brain almost reels beneath the conception that flashes before it of the blessedness which awaits us, both in this world, and in those ages which rear their heads in the far distance, as lines on lines of snowy breakers rolling in from a sunlit sea.
Oh, FRIENDS OF GOD! why do you not make more of your transcendent privileges? Why do you not talk to Him
Extract from Abraham Friend of God
First Ambassador Edition 1993
ISBN 0 907927 86 6
Printed with permission