‘And he was called the friend of God.’ James 2:23
Only two people were given the distinguished title ’Friend of God’ in Scripture. What an honour! What a privilege! What a legacy! I can think of no greater elite class to be a part of than this space occupied by Moses and Abraham.
Exodus 33:11 says, ‘The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.’ Lest we forget, Exodus was written by Moses. Over his lifetime, he had learned to cherish friendships – the sweetness of being able to sit with a brother in unguarded, unpretentious, heart-to-heart fellowship.
How remarkable that he found no better way to describe the relationship he had built with God, the Creator of the Universe, than that He had become his friend!
This kind of communication is marked by spontaneity, camaraderie, and pure pleasure. Devoid of judgment or apprehension, Moses spoke with God face-to-face.
The testimony of Abraham’s friendship with God is even richer and more compelling. We’ve no record of him saying specifically that God was like a friend to him. So when James says he was called God’s friend, how did he know this? On what was James basing such a delicious accolade?
Of course, we’ve the record of Genesis. Story after story unveil a depth and quality of their relationship that has set a high bar for all God-chasers throughout history to strive for.
I love the measure of peace and security their bond gave to Abraham. Rather than react selfishly or out of frustration when tensions boiled over with Lot and his growing household, he simply offers to let Lot settle in the best of the land.
He knew God, his Friend, had promised him the whole land anyway, so why let strife with someone get him all worked up?! I love how Abraham could just be flat out honest with God.
When God appears to him in Genesis 15:1, Abraham quickly reminds Him about the fact that, after all these years, he and Sarah still didn’t have any children. He wasn’t afraid to ask because, well, they spoke often, and were comfortable with each other.
I encourage you to re-read the stories of Abraham, attentive to the intimacy and affection in their exchanges. If you’re like me, it’ll make you hungry for a repeat performance in your own life.
You may be surprised to discover the first direct mention to their friendship was referenced in an awesome prayer by King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:7.
Jehoshaphat was one of those rare kings who followed in David’s footsteps. He loved the ‘Book of the Law’ (2 Chronicles 17:9) and sent the Levites and priests throughout the land to teach the people God’s ways.
Impressed in his own readings by Abraham’s walk with God, he opines, he was ‘Your friend forever’. As moving as it is to know that James and Jehoshaphat enshrined the beautiful union that existed between our father Abraham and his God, the verse that really wrecks me is from Isaiah 41:8, where God Himself calls Abraham “My friend”.
I can think of no greater epitaph than this. Brothers and sisters, let’s each make it our aim to be commemorated – on earth, and by Heaven – as God’s Friend.